Fox News’ anti-LGBT bias isn’t exactly a well-kept secret in the USA. The Rupert Murdoch owned network has a long history of smearing the LGBT community and providing hate group leaders with national platforms to spew their anti-gay propaganda. Fox television hosts have compared same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy as well as marriage between humans and a number of different animals, reports Equality Matters.
However, as more and more Americans come out in favour of marriage equality, Fox appears to be slowly distancing itself from the issue. In June, Fox largely ignored the historic vote legalizing same-sex marriage in New York. The network was so absent from the debate that Maggie Gallagher, chairwoman of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), actually mentioned Fox by name while lamenting the media’s handling of the vote:
Conservative networks, not just liberal networks, have been shut down on this. Fox News doesn’t cover it. Even talk-show hosts who are with us hesitate to speak — why? Every one has a different reason, but it’s always a reason not to speak.
As much as we’d love to believe that Fox has turned over a new leaf on LGBT equality, the reality is that the network has refocused its anti-gay animus on a new topic. Over the past few months, Fox has developed a specific interest in promoting the myth that gays and lesbians are attempting to turn kids gay by indoctrinating them into the “homosexual lifestyle.”
California’s FAIR Education Act: Since April, Fox has had a field day misinforming viewers about California’s SB 48 — also known as the FAIR Education Act — a bill that would require public schools to teach students about the contributions of gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans. The bill is aimed at reducing anti-LGBT bullying and promoting respect for members of the LGBT community.
Fox consistently misinformed viewers about the bill, calling it a “shocking lesson plan” that would present students with “propaganda”and force them to learn that people “can have more than one gender or no gender at all.” Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, spoke volumes about Fox’s view of LGBT people when he wondered“should public school teachers be ordered to tell their students why it’s okay to be gay?”:
[Fox & Friends, 4/19/11]
Gender Diversity Lessons: In May, Fox caught wind of a California public school that, in an effort to create a welcoming environment for all children, had decided tointroduce students to an age-appropriate, hour-long lesson gender diversity.
Naturally, Fox invited Tony Perkins — president of the anti-gay the Family Research Council (FRC), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group — to warn that the lesson would cause children to be “indoctrinate[ed] into homosexuality.” In two follow-up segments, Fox guests warned that the program would create “gender confusion” and claimedthat “kids do not bully each other based on gender.”
Pro-Gay Media Influences: When it isn’t bashing California’s anti-bullying and education efforts, Fox is busy reinforcing the right-wing narrative that children are being indoctrinated into accepting and embracing homosexuality by the mainstream media. Whether it’s J. Crewor Sesame Street, Fox never misses the opportunity to fear monger about (if not mock) any and all attempts to promote tolerance towards the LGBT community and specifically LGBT children. In April, the network even invited the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer to discuss whether Glee was a form of “product placement” for homosexuality.
Fox’s new obsession with kids being turned gay makes sense for a network that wants to maintain the favour of homophobes and bigots without appearing overtly homophobic or bigoted. By framing the debate in terms of concern about“indoctrination” and parental rights, Fox is attempting to disguise its deep anti-LGBT bias as something more palatable to the general public.
In reality, Fox’s “indoctrination” focus feeds directly into the campaigns of some of the country’s most prominent and vile anti-LGBT groups, including Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coalition, the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association.
These groups understand that allowing schools to promote LGBT tolerance is bad for business; the more students learn about the lives and experiences of LGBT people, the less likely they are to support anti-LGBT groups and politicians. NOM itself relies on Fox’s “indoctrination” stories to advance its anti-equality agenda.
In an effort to slow the country’s rapid evolution on LGBT equality, the “indoctrination” narrative has become the right-wing’s excuse to try and shut down any honest discussion in America’s school system — not to mention the minds of the next generation of voters –about the existence (and inherent value) of the LGBT community.
Far from having evolved in its views on LGBT equality, Fox News is just making sure it stays on the cutting edge of homophobic bigotry.