CNN’s Kyra Phillips: Is Homosexuality a Problem in Need of a Cure? – VIDEO

NLGJA adds
: "While the segment includes balance and Phillips handily challenges Cohen, the bigger problem is that the segment about whether homosexuality can be cured doesn’t feature any actual homosexuals. While Lowenthal is a worthy representative of the opposition and a wonderful spokeswoman as an ally, it’s always problematic when these kinds of conversations go on without having the people most effected by the legislation–gays and lesbians–represented on the panel."


  1. Giovanni says

    I just watched that segment as well and was horrified that Kyra Phillips would pose such a ridiculously offensive question as if it were a legitimate query. And Cohen is either in the early stages of Parkinsons or is EXTREMELY tightly wound.

  2. romeo says

    Wonder if Coop knows about this? The woman is an idiot to be in mainstream media and be so out of the loop. Ditto on the video, I’ve seen enough of Cohen.

    Would love to know what the back story on the decision to deal with Lowenthal’s efforts like this.

  3. says

    This is why, as of last month, I have completely given up on CNN. I am sick of their overly obvious attempts to stay “middle of the road” by inviting extreme-right radicals onto their shows. MSNBC is where it’s at.

  4. John says

    CNN has been on auto-pilot since the 1980s.

    It feels worn out and tired.

    The anchors on CNN have a tendency to ask questions that only make sense if Reagan were still president. They still refer to Beijing as “communist China,” even though it has been a capitalist – though still authoritarian – state for over a decade now. They still wonder if immigration will change the face of America, even though it already has.

  5. Mark says

    Andy: Did you actually see this entire segment for yourself? I’d really like you to follow up after you’ve screened the whole thing — as you’ll see no such thing actually happened the way you say it did. Frankly I think it’s irresponsible of you to post something like this without actually screening CNN’s segment in full.

  6. says

    Sorry but there’s nothing in Andy’s report I have any issue… I did watch the whole unfortunate segment BTW against my better judgement. It was the worst sort of exploitive crap. M. Cohen is a discredited liar who get to give his web address out at least 3 times I counted and instead of answering questions ran through his talking points any time his mic was turned. His opinions were not only offensive but worthless to the discussion at hand. I am sick of “balanced” meaning giving credence and airtime to bigots and no time to people with reasonable points of views. Madame Lowenthal was talking about something important for gay people and that loser was just drumming out hits for his website.

  7. romeo says

    She had to have had a producer and others at CNN that were in on this right wing plant. I think somebody is getting to somebody. We may have to batten the hatches against more assaults like this. Several days ago, Queerty (of all places) had two pro-ex gay stories in a row. The stories got an overwhelmingly negative response from readers, but the editor defended it anyway.

    People who try to opt out of the gay life, with a beard, for social or financial reasons and keep their mouths shut about it are one thing. But the loud mouthed “ex-gay” that feels the need to go public about it does so for only one reason – to screw their brothers and sisters to justify their own delusions. The public ex-gay is our worst enemy. They are one of the biggest reasons holding back our acceptance and integration in society.

  8. Mark says

    @Tony: YES, I did — and I just went back and rewatched the entire thing again. Additionally, I actually read the related CNN blog — where the question posed to viewers is NOT anything like “Is Homosexuality a problem in need of a cure” — The ACTUAL question posted on the blog is: “are you surprised a law like this exists in 2010?”
    Kyra’s tone during the entire interview implies that she herself cannot believe this law still exists — and twice asked the so-called ex-gay if he felt his own homosexuality was a “mental illness” using a clear tone of incredulousness.

    Sorry guys, you have this one all wrong.

  9. candideinnc says

    I understand they are searching for a scientific cure for stupidity and bigotry. They are using the gene pool over at CNN as the their research center. Unfortunately, it appears there is little hope for most of the participants there.

  10. Mark says

    CNN’s story today was about CA Assemblywoman Lowenthal’s efforts to get this archaic law repealed. The question posed to viewers was “Can you believe this law still exists?!?!”
    I guarantee you 95% of those who’ve already posted in this thread did NOT watch the story, NOR did they both even clicking the link to read CNN’s blog. Just looking for excuses to bitch & moan.
    IF you actually watched the segment and still walked away misunderstanding the tone & intention, then that’s your problem.

  11. Tony says

    I watched the entire thing. The whole point is that they shouldn’t even be putting that douche bag on TV without having a real expert there to refute his ridiculous claims.

  12. Tony says

    Also, how DARE any of you call Andy’s reporting irresponsible. Do you have a blog? Are you informing people about what’s going on in our community? At least he’s doing something.

  13. Mark says

    Nice try Tony — trying to change the subject? How dare I call Andy’s reporting irresponsible? Hmmmm… maybe because he just set off a ton of uninformed responses and god knows how many people have forwarded the story or retweeted or whatever… His original post is INACCURATE. Plain & simple. What difference does it make whether I have my own blog or not? What good is someone informing the community if they’re actually misinforming??? BTW, I am NOT trashing this entire site or everything Andy does. I LOVE THIS SITE and appreciate the information that is shared. I merely speak up when I see something is incorrect. What’s wrong with that?

  14. Tony says

    I wasn’t trying to change the subject. I was just commenting that you’re a douche for calling Andy irresponsible. Anyway, the problem with your comment is that YOU are the one who is incorrect, not Andy. CNN should have never ran this segment without actual experts. You may not have been offended, but I’m sure the majority of gays and lesbians would be. So no, it’s not “plain & simple.”

  15. Douche says

    Tell me Tony — at what point on air or online did Kyra Phillips or CNN ask “Homosexuality — Is it a problem in need of a cure?”

    What part of this is accurate?

  16. Douche says

    As for “actual experts” — what on earth do you think Congresswoman Lowenthal was there for? Just because she’s not one of us doesn’t mean she’s not clearly on our side & fighting for us.


  17. says

    The report Richard Cohen is talking about has been debunked. It would seem a fake fringe group is the one that released this statement that there is no genetic cause for homosexuality:–Fake-pediatrics-group-distributes-antigay-propaganda-to-schools

    The CNN report also fails to mention that Cohen has been kicked out of every reputable medical and psychological association he’s been a part of.

  18. Ken says

    Never challenge Andy Towle’s reporting? What, is he infallible now, like the Pope? Frankly, I’m tired of a few bloggers declaring things repulsive, accurately or not, and then the rest of us are expected to fall in line.

  19. Mike Duffey says

    CNN let Cohen get by with a fast one when he said that the “American College of Pediatricans” put out a statement that homosexuality is environmental, not genetic, and thus can be “cured.” No one pointed out that the mainline pediatrican organization is “American Academy of Pediatrics” with more than 60,000 members. According to the ACLU, when the AAP passed a policy statement supporting second-parent adoptions by lesbian and gay parents in 2002, a fringe group of approximately 60 of the AAP’s more than 60,000 members formed the “American College of Pediatricians” which has been described by one of its charter members as a “Judeo-Christian, traditional-values organization.” No one pointed out that Cohen was relying on a statement by a small splinter group, not the real AAP.

  20. Tony says

    I think Jamie sums up my position nicely. Nobody said not to question Andy, but don’t sit there and call him irresponsible because you don’t like one of his stories.

  21. jamal49 says

    Anybody up for getting together a petition to send to the flailing, failing CNN, protesting this “news” segment? I’d love to see CNN put on the griddle for this mess.

  22. Douche says

    @Tony: “Nobody said not to question Andy”?!?! What exactly did you imply when you posted this statement earlier in the thread: “how DARE any of you call Andy’s reporting irresponsible.”?


  23. steve says

    of course it’s irresponsible

    to give these ignorant, malicious people a platform is offensive & careless at minimum

    but if CNN is aspiring to be Fox-Lite these days, they are just making standard game moves

  24. bear2bare says

    Strange that the newsperson did not comment that mr. Cohen had been expelled from the American Counseling Association almost a decade ago because of unethical behavior. This is the kind of expert they dig up.HMMMp

  25. Douche says

    @Tony: hahahaha I’m glad we can finally agree on something — as I am done with you as well.
    Have fun blindly spreading misinformation & rallying the troops behind something you are mistaken about. If you read anything I’ve posted here, it is NOT about a poor choice of guest to provide the counterpoint, it’s about inaccuracies in Andy’s original posting, as well as the majority of the responses since. You’re just as filled with blind rage as the people you rail against. NOW i’m done.

  26. EchoMark says

    @CNN employee?/apologist MARK:

    First words out of Kyra Phillps’ mouth: “Homosexuality: is it a problem in need of a cure?”

    Look at the words accompanying the graphic on the video above: “Finding a ‘cure’ for Homosexuality?”

    Even asking this question and posting the words on the screen is patently offensive and journalistically irresponsible on its face, in light of decades of *credible* research.

    The network appears to have done nothing to screen its ‘expert’s’ credentials, or to challenge his debunked assertions.

    CNN has become notorious for just these kinds of pathetic and dangerously unmoderated panel ‘debates’. A guest will make a completely inflammatory/untrue statement with no basis in fact or proven science, and the CNN anchor will provide no context or challenge, instead saying something like, “Well, let’s leave it there.”

    There is NO reasonable dispute here on which to frame a debate, so why is CNN creating one? There is NO debate in the *real, accredited* scientific/medical community, so why is CNN telling its viewers that there might be? Why can’t the editorial team at CNN take a look at Cohen and his claims, and say, ‘Nope, this guy is a crackpot. We should be responsible and not provide him with air time and a platform to spread his lies.’

    The Daily Show did a great segment last year calling CNN to task on their anchors’ failure as actual journalists:

  27. TampaZeke says

    What’s wrong with the two of you who say that CNN NEVER said, “Homosexuality, is it a problem in need of a cure?” and then (MARK) berating people for not having watched the video.

    MARK, did YOU watch AND LISTEN to the video? The first thing out of the woman’s mouth was EXACTLY that question.

  28. says

    I can mostly echo Echomark’s excellent comment.

    Why is it inaccurate to quote her lead statement? She presented the two sides as if they were somehow equivalent, never mind that one person is a responsible assemblywoman and the other person is a discredited snake-oil salesman selling nothing but bunk wrapped up in bogus personal victory. Yet his authority and credentials weren’t properly questioned because Kyra Phillips didn’t bother to do her journalistic homework and that laziness is passed off as neutrality by CNN who once again gives a quack a blank platform to spout their nonsense.

    I’m not sure what in Andy’s post and what in the responses you find so inaccurate, Mark? If your panties are such in a twist at least be clear about why.

  29. Mark says

    It’s not actually posed as a question to viewers. It’s a statement.

    That “question” is immediately followed by the remark: “Grabs your attention, doesn’t it?”

    The anchor is not posing that question to the viewers, rather it is an outrageous statement one might make if they agree with the antiquated law in question, specifically meant to grab your attention, which it has.

    Tone is key here and I personally think many of you are missing the intended tone.

    I can see how it would get people bent out of shape if taken out of context but the anchor’s tone throughout the segment seems pretty clear to me that they are questioning how this law is still on the books in 2010.

    I cannot be the only person who sees it this way. Take your pre-existing rage toward the counterpoint guest out of the equation, if you can.

  30. Mark says

    did anyone actually WATCH the video?

    This article is completely irresponsible, as Kyra Phillips is almost mocking why the law is requiring people to spend money to find a cure for homosexuality.

    She’s done many, many pro-gay rights stories if you look at her record.

    Lowenthal provides the opposite side of the story don’t pretend there was no chance to rebut. She says the current law does not reflect the values of the people of California, I don’t think there’s any clearer response than that coming from the woman who is working on getting the law improved.

  31. EchoMark says

    @MARK (aka CNN PR damage control):

    FIRST: YES, I WATCHED THE VIDEO. Before I commented, even.

    Whether the offensive words on the screen/coming out of Kyra’s mouth were framed as a question or statement is irrelevant.

    The ‘tone’ that I, for one, got from the video is that CNN is positing that there is actually room for debate on whether homosexuality can be cured. They set up an on-air ‘debate’ with ‘opposing viewpoints’ (See, we’re fair & balanced!) and gave each ‘side’ in the ‘debate’ equal time.

    The problem with this otherwise potentially fair forum is that in this instance, THERE IS NO FUCKING DEBATE ON THIS ISSUE. PERIOD. It has been settled with *decades*’ worth of research.

    To even put Cohen on the air gives credence to his views. CNN gave him a platform to direct viewers to his website, allowing him to further his CNN-endorsed lies. Irresponsible.

    And no, MARK, I didn’t see that CNN blog post. Probably because even fewer people read CNN’s blog than watch its cable channel. Obviously you think the network bears some fault here, if you would go dig up a ‘positive’ story they published to counter the offensive story being discussed here.

    I’ll ask you, MARK: Did YOU watch the Daily Show segment I posted about how this segment is just one in a long line of similarly journalistically irresponsible ‘debates’ from CNN?

  32. jason says

    There is no such thing as “he was gay but now he is straight”. And yet the gay community is content merely to attack the notion of ex-gay from a political perspective without bringing up the important subject of bisexual orientation. I have yet to hear a gay spokesperson attack these ex-gay quacks by citing simply that the ex-gay man is probably bisexually oriented but has now decided – for whatever reason – to pursue a heterosexual relationship.

    Why is the gay community afraid of bringing up this important issue? Why is male bisexuality such a taboo area to go into? It would help to challenge these quacks.

  33. TANK says

    blah blah blah, jason… blah blah blah. OH, and “fair and balanced” journalism isn’t allowing a mentally unstable person promoting harmful pseudo science to bloviate on a panel in a news show. This is sensationalism, plain and simple.

  34. Thomas says

    How can we tell CNN how offensive it was to even give Cohen airtime? How can we show them that engaging in “discussions” with people like him are lowering the quality of our national discourse?

    P.S.- This is not a rhetorical question. Where can I make an angry phone call?

  35. says

    “did anyone actually WATCH the video?

    This article is completely irresponsible, as Kyra Phillips is almost mocking why the law is requiring people to spend money to find a cure for homosexuality.

    She’s done many, many pro-gay rights stories if you look at her record.”

    Yes, Mark, I did WATCH and understand the video (before commenting), and I still do object to the CNN segment. My objection, the same one others have voiced, is that CNN showed questionable judgment having “the other side” represented by someone who has zero professional standing and credibility. He was given a platform to spout his ignorance and pimp anti-gay websites.

    Not only that, Kyra and CNN never called into serious question his expertise (sorry, tone matters on The Daily Show but on CNN, facts matter), they just presented it at face value and with as much or more weight than the sane viewpoint. They would probably brand this journalistic neutrality while in fact it is laziness and/or a desperate attempt to stir controversy where there is none: curing homosexuality is not an opposing viewpoint, it’s baloney, and responsible journalists don’t pass of baloney as a valid viewpoint. Whether or not she’s done “pro-gay” stories in the past is irrelevant to our critique of how she handled this.

    And the problem is hardly hers alone–too many journalists present false oppositions, both sides given equal weight when one side should have no weight at all or should be presented with a huge disclaimer about its credibility. When guests make dubious claims, you call them on it–a smirking tone doesn’t cut it.

  36. GregV says

    I’ve lost respect for CNN over refering to this fringe quack as an “expert” without even challenging his outrageous claims.

    I remember him being interviewed by Jason Jones who, to make a point, refered to him as “doctor” only to eventually get him to admit that he not actually a doctor but a “coach.”

    Why can’t CNN have a journalist who is knowledgeable enough and blunt enough to NOT let the lies and misleading statements slip by? I know all about the “Spitzer study” that Cohen is talking about. There was so much wrong with its methodologies that it quite obviously does NOT prove that anyone can “change” their orientation.
    Cohen tells CNN that Spitzer’s study showed that 200 men and women had reversed their sexual orientation.
    That is FALSE!

    Spitzer studied 200 men and women (not a random sample but all handpicked by anti-gay organizations) and found that, even though they were the “star students,” 86% of them still said they had same-sex attractions.
    They still had same-sex masturbation fantasies. And further, he did not at any point in the study allow “bisexual” as a choice for their orientation. Some or ALL of them would almost surely have been bisexual.
    The “study” was a farce, and not only was it instantly denounced by the APA as severely flawed, but even Spitzer himself said that the anti-gay organizations were misrespresenting the fact that he only found that change was “extremely rare.” (Those are Spizer’s words, but it’s easy to see why others would argue Spitzer never showed that even one person had “changed” orientations.

    Here’s a good summary of that study.

  37. MarkDC says

    The specious pretense that ONLY homosexuality is “learned” is ultimately based on the premise that ALL sexual orientation is ACQUIRED, not biologically determined. If that is true then heterosexuals have “learned” their sexual orientation too.

    You don’t “choose” to be Gay any more than you “choose” to be straight. Pretending some of us “learn” or acquire sexual orientation while others do not is a fantasy of Phrenological, Flat Earth proportions.

  38. Matt B. says

    The worst part of Richard’s “argument” is that he instantly goes to equate homosexuality with pedophilia which is always the playbook groups like this go to…

  39. jason says

    Well here’s the thing, in some studies, sexual reorientation did work. Now, as to the circumstances surrounding those cases, who knows.

    The fact of the matter is, both sides are wrong. Sexuality is neither black nor white! Instead it is vast expanse of gray varying in shades and hues from almost black to almost white, but never hitting true black or white!!!

    One psychiatrist has actually done work in proving this with lesbians. She also states that gays shouldn’t be so keen to say that sexuality is innate due to DNA, because if that is proven then someone is going to develop genetic tests to find the “gay” gene so that homosexuality can be screened for. What can that lead to? Abortions! I’m sure even the right wing would turn a blind eye to killing a baby to keep another homo from the world.

    Gay rights activists around the country need to change the entire campaign. Even if homosexuality is a choice we should still be afforded the same privileges afforded to those who choose to practice any religion besides Christianity. I mean if we are going to stay true to the gentile bible, which is what America is largely based on, then no other religion should receive equal rights either as they are pagans, blasphemous, and will also burn in hell.

    Furthermore, anyone who is overweight, not from diseases processes but from just simple overeating and poor lifestyle choices, should also lose some rights and privileges. Gluttony and abuse of the human body are also sins. The simple fact that Christians seem to forget is that there is NO SLIDING SCALE OF SINS in the bible, God does not operate like a judicial system.

  40. Kelsey says

    What about those wanting to get rid of “unwanted heterosexual feelings”? The problem here is that it is assumed only homosexuals want to reverse their “feelings,” thereby perpetuating the idea that homosexuality is somehow less than heterosexuality. Homosexuals only feel pressure to change because society wrongly places that pressure on them.


  41. Gregv says

    What about those wanting to get rid of “unwanted heterosexual feelings”?

    That’s a good question,Kelsey. I knew a woman who desperately wanted to be gay. She had experienced little but abuse from straight men all her life. She tried for years, but eventually concluded that a person can’t change her sexual orientation no matter how motivated she is.

    We never heat the likes of Cohen suggesting “therapy” to make people gay (which wouldn’t work, anyway), and there is a simple reason NARTH doesn’t have two H’s in its name (offering “rehabilitation” for unwanted heterosexuality, too): It’s nothing but anti-gay bigotry.

  42. Lin says

    To those who see no problem in CNNs coverage of this issue,

    The problem within the coverage lies not in Kyra’s tone. The issue here is that Cohen is represented as an expert,and is given the title of psychotherapist, despite having been discredited by the american counseling association, and despite the fact that he is not licensed .The fact that these issues regarding his credibility were not noted is problematic in that he is being misrepresented as a scientific authority on the subject. Also problematic is CNN’s neglect to mention that the American Psycological Association has deemed forms of “treatment” for homosexuality as harmful. If their goal was to give balanced coverage, they should have noted that scientific authorities disagree with Cohen’s standpoint,or consulted with an individual with scientific authority whose viewpoint oposes Cohen’s. Finally it is important to note that they have not shown the standpoint of homosexuals in their coverage as they have neglected to discuss the topic with any homosexual individuals. The discussion of homosexuals by heterosexuals (whether they advocate for us or not)is problematic in this context as it reinforces the idea of homosexuals as “other”, and denies them their voice.

  43. Michael says

    Let me preface what I’m about to say with the assurance that as a gay man, I have no desire to be at this point anything other than what I am…
    BUT On some level I’m happy for people like this guy Cohen who is living what he considers a good life. And it seems like he has succeeded. There are people who don’t want to be gay, and if they find happiness by using his “methods” then more power to them.

    As to whether there should be a law about this in CA, of course it should be repealed. I’m happy that the legislator sponsoring the repeal was able to get the publicity she did out of this. 20 years ago they would have still been debating whether or not gay people should be treated as disturbed. I for one am happy that the person who seems the most “mainstream” here is Assemblywoman Lowenthal. Is it necessary to be so catty as to call Kyra Phillips these sophomoric names? That just stoops to the same level as the fanatical right.

  44. Michael says

    “To even put Cohen on the air gives credence to his views. CNN gave him a platform to direct viewers to his website, allowing him to further his CNN-endorsed lies. Irresponsible”
    This kind of statement is such an insult to peoples’ intelligence it’s laughable. Americans are capable of forming their own opinions. It’s ok to have opposing views broadcast… television doesn’t have to be a one-sided festival of supposedly liberal viewpoints. Even though I happen to agree with most opinions spewed out on MSNBC, I find it incredibly boring to watch what amounts to being one-sided propaganda. I applaud CNN for at least trying to highlight 2 sides to most issues.

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