Fox News presenter Megyn Kelly has been tipped to fill Sean Hannity’s 9 pm time slot, a move that staunch religious conservatives say means Fox News is now “pro-homosexual.”
At the time of writing, Fox News hasn’t confirmed Kelly’s change from daytime to primetime, but just the idea of it has been enough to get so-called “public policy organization” America’s Survival Inc. (ASI), in a flap. The group, which bills itself as specializing “in exposing the United Nations, international organizations and extremist movements,” says that installing Kelly, who has previously made it known she’s leery of anti-gay marriage talking points, marks a move toward the “pro-homosexual” agenda and is representative of an overall “left-ward drift and decline.”
A statement issued by the ASI reads:
As part of a national journalism conference on Tuesday, August 20, America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI), a public policy organization, is officially releasing a new report on radical changes at Fox News that should cause great concern to pro-family conservatives.
“Pushing Sean Hannity out of the 9:00 p.m. slot, to make way for pro-homosexual advocate Megyn Kelly, is another sign of the channel’s left-ward drift and decline,” said ASI President Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic.
This release is to herald the landing of the ASI’s new report on Fox New’s supposed capitulation to, well, the title of the report says all that needs to be said: “Unfair, Unbalanced and Afraid: Fox News’ Growing Pro-Homosexual Bias and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.”
While lamenting that not enough staunch anti-gay voices are being heard, and indeed saying that opposing views are being silenced, the ASI — seeing no irony at all — offers:
It is legitimate to ask whether “out and proud” homosexuals are simply too invested personally in the “gay” issue to be able to cover such news fairly and objectively.
The report also devotes specific mention to Megyn Kelly, who it says has “tipped her pro-homosexual hand” because she dared suggest gay people are a minority and the prejudice they face is in some ways analogous to the treatment African Americans and other minorities have faced:
So it is odd to hear white, socially liberal reporters like Fox News’ Megyn Kelly strain to make this dubious analogy, as she did in August 2012 interviewing a conservative evangelical pastor (emphasis added):
“This country has a long history of discrimination against certain groups. Eventually we wind up getting it right. Right? Against women, against blacks, the civil rights movement and so on. And in justifying that discrimination when it was in place, some folks turn to the Bible and turn to their religious beliefs and said we have to have slavery because it’s in the Bible. Women have to be second-class citizens because that’s in the Bible. Blacks and whites can’t get married because that’s in the Bible. That wound up in a case. A judge wrote that in an opinion, which the Supreme Court ultimately struck that down, saying that’s not right, judge -the Equal Protection clause says you can’t do that. Why is gay marriage any different?”
Kelly made these comments earlier this year in an interview with Maggie Gallagher, once the head of the National Organization for Marriage and now a freelance talking head.
Kelly has also agreed with Fox stalwart Bill O’Reilly when O’Reilly said that the anti-gay marriage crowd has so far failed to make any reasonable case for banning marriage equality.
However, Kelly has indulged many a guest in what might be considered anti-gay rhetoric, yet the ASI report doesn’t appear to mention those with anywhere near the level of scrutiny it devotes to Kelly’s perceived pro-gay leanings. For instance, while interviewing the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in the wake of megachurch pastor Rick Warren’s son’s suicide earlier this year, Kelly implied that gay rights activists had failed to show appropriate sympathy, saying:
A lot of people thought, think, that Pastor Warren is on the wrong side of the gay marriage issue. You can relate to him in this way – not the being on the wrong side, I’m not passing a judgment on that – but you also oppose gay marriage and have been the subject of attacks, and it seems like some, not all, but some of those who want tolerance and acceptance, in their effort to get it, are very willing to pass judgment, alienate, attack, and go about it in a way that may be undermining the very thing they seek.
Yet, barring a few lone voices, no one in the LGBT movement made any statements in this regard and it is unclear as to what, specifically, Kelly was thinking other than to effectively give Perkins yet another chance to play the victim.
The report also cites the fact that Fox News reporter Carol Costello rubbished claims that being gay of itself is a health risk and that various Fox News reporters having recognized that the so called “ex-gay” meme is unproven and potentially damaging. It also alleges the mainstream media is spreading gender confusion by giving undue attention to gender variant and transgender children, something that Fox News is complicit in by not taking an overtly hostile stance to such stories.
So in this case, it seems the ASI believes “pro-gay” is anything that doesn’t allow commentators to freely demonize, demean or otherwise disrespect LGBT rights and the community. What is interesting about this is that Fox News may really be “guilty” of softening its stance.
Media Matters reports that when it came to reporting on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 court cases, Fox, while certainly not without some bias, provided coverage that was much more even than it might have been in previous years. Still, a more recent report by the media watchdog also offers that the turn from Hannity to Kelly will “mark a shift in the very essence of Fox News,” but not necessarily in a good way.
It offers that while Hannity long ago lost any pretense of neutrality, Kelly comes with a certain assumed credibility and that this is dangerous, noting:
“Megyn Kelly can cover gay rights in a way that is occasionally not abominable, and then push Benghazi falsehoods that have long been debunked. Megyn Kelly will rebuke Dick Morris and Karl Rove, but then hosts a climate change denier during the president’s climate address. Kelly smacked down Mike Gallagher on family leave, but she also defended Newt Gingrich’s bizarre suggestion that schools should use children as janitors.”
… in an age where the false balance of he said-she said reporting too often has replaced fact-checking, media will be more likely to take Kelly’s scandal-mongering seriously.
This, of course, is not a substantial analysis of Fox New’s reporting, but it does seem to add weight to the notion that as the general public’s perception of marriage equality has shifted to majority support, Fox News is also making attempts to at least appear more neutral.
As noted above, the ASI is set to present its report on Fox’s supposed swing to the left on Aug. 20 at a National Press Club event in Washington, DC.
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