Tuesday, May 22, 2007

88 Percent

That's the number of foster children adopted by gay couples in San Francisco since last July. This week, as San Fran prepares a huge pro-gay adoption blitz (complete with billboards all over the city), apparently the San Francisco Chronicle likes to quote leaders of hate groups, as recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The offending article was printed yesterday morning, and the offending paragraph goes like this:

The campaign, which will include a billboard in the Castro featuring two dads with their teen daughter, is perhaps the first of its kind and sure to be controversial. It comes just two weeks after the evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family began its drive to recruit more Christians as adoptive parents, partly -- the group said -- to keep foster children out of homosexual hands.

Focus on the Family's objection to same-sex parents is grounded in interpretation of biblical scripture and research by Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute in Colorado. Cameron says gays and lesbians are unfit parents, are more likely to molest children of their same sex, switch partners frequently, have shorter life expectancies and cause their children embarrassment and social difficulties.

"Any child that can be adopted into a married-mother-and-father family, that's the gold standard," Cameron said. "An orphanage would be the second choice, and then a single woman."

Well, if all that isn't offensive enough, reporter Ilene Lelchuck fails to mention that Paul Cameron, according toAmericablog: "told the 1985 Conservative Political Action Committee conference that "extermination of homosexuals" might be needed in the next three to four years. He has advocated tattooing AIDS patients in the face, and banishment to a former leper colony for any patient who resisted. He has called for gay bars to be closed and gays to be registered with the government.

He was kicked out of the American Psychological Association, and was publicly rebuked by the Nebraska Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. And he has been called the leader of a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, America's number one civil rights organization for tracking the klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The Southern Poverty Law Center went so far as to say that "Cameron's 'science' echoes Nazi Germany." And the SPLC tracks actual Nazis, so they have the right to make the comparison.

This is the "expert" quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle. And to make matters worse, not only did the Chronicle quote a known hate group as an expert on civil rights, but they didn't even identify who Cameron really is. Nope. They don't tell their readers anything at all about Cameron, simply that he's an expert on gays molesting children. Do you think it's relevant that the man's "science" has been debunked? Not according to the "journalists" at the Chronicle.

I suspect Ms. Lelchuck will most likely be issuing an apology in the next day or two. This is just incredibly sloppy, lazy reporting. Why quote the man in the first place, unless that's your agenda?


Tom Drew said...

Yikes. Orphanages as the number two option, before single women who would, presumably, be parents rather than parents by committee?!? That really is shoddy journalism.

zen imbecile said...

Is there anyone who would be against gay adoption/foster parenting who it would be OK to quote?

Maybe the writer thought that the fuckhead's statements were damning enough. You don't have to know exactly who Paul Cameron is to know he's an idiot and someone who is full of hate. Especially if you live in SF where the article was published.

But is it shoddy journalism? I'm not a journalism expert but I think that they're supposed to provide alternative points of view. Especially if the point of view is connected to another news story (ie Focus on the Family's drive to increase Christian adoption).

People like this have been and will continue to dig their own graves by making assinine public statements like this guy's. If we insist that views we sharply disagree with stay out of public scrutiny, then we risk lending false legitimacy to those who hold those views. AND giving them too much sway over those who don't know what to think.

zen imbecile said...

OK, I think I misunderstood the intentions of this post. I thought you were saying that they shouldn't have quoted him at all, but perhaps you were simply demanding more disclosure about his "qualifications."

zen imbecile said...


I'm that person who leaves 13 messages on your machine.

I see that you did say "Don't quote him at all." So I stand by my original comment.

The Fire Next Time said...

Actually, no, I didn't ever say he shouldn't be quoted, though I do see your point that perhaps the journalist thought his statements were damning enough to not need to give a qualifier as to his non-qualifications. I guess I was just confused as to why she would quote someone like this in the first place unless she had her own anti-gay agenda, which is fine, she has a right to her agenda, but I think she should disclose it.

I always have a little bit of inner conflict when I write about stuff like this. Perhaps because I feel so close to it it's difficult for me to formulate a rational response. I'm not in favor of censorship, or of silencing anyone's voice, even that asshole's, but I think there's a fine line between acknowledging that those people exist, and giving them a stage and lending them credence.

I think in this particular situation, just one qualifying sentence about Cameron's history or the lack of any kind of relevant evidence about any of his opinions would have sufficed. If she wants to quote him, fine, quote him, but put it in context. I'm not paranoid enough to think that anyone on the fence about their feelings regarding gays adopting children are gonna read that article and have their minds swayed; if they do, they were just looking for a reason to, and anything else could have done it. So whatever.

Thanks for leaving comments, though! I love it when people leave comments.