"Ex-Gays" | GLAAD | Kyra Phillips | News

CNN's Kyra Phillips Says 'Ex-Gay' Richard Cohen Was 'Not Appropriate', Scolds Those Who Sent Her 'Hateful Messages'


CNN's Kyra Phillips addressed "ex-gay" conversion therapy again today and had on Dr. Clinton Anderson of the American Psychological Association to counter the arguments made by her guest earlier in the week, discredited "ex-gay" crackpot Richard Cohen.

Phillips also addressed outrage over Cohen and said she's received "vicious" emails.

Said Phillips, in part (my transcript):

"Richard Cohen was not the most appropriate guest to have on, but it is a decision that we made and the result of that is our continued discussion today. That is what journalism is all about. And we will continue to do our best to discuss gay and lesbian issues in a fair way on this program. I wish that all of you knew my heart. And as a journalist with a long track record of covering gay and lesbian issues, I wish that those of you who sent me vicious emails watched my newscast more often because if they did, my guess is they would not have been so quick to send such hateful messages. They don't know my record and my unswerving support for all communities in the battle for human rights, including gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. And to make it perfectly clear, I love debating issues. It evokes passion but if we cannot treat each other in a civil manner, even when we disagree, then we will never move forward and have a world where all people are treated with the respect that they deserve."

Watch the whole segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

(clip via afterelton)

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  1. hey dizzy spins... thanks for taking the time to answer my post, even though you'd like to call me a "gay term for an Uncle Tom [...] maybe an Auntie Maime".

    i don't know why you would like to resort to name calling. please go ahead and express your opinion, or attack my opinion with other arguments, but there's no reason to resort to name calling (unless, of course, you don't have arguments).

    i wholeheartedly agree with what kyra phillips said in her segment. i think showing this guy for who he is, without trying to sugar-coat it for ever-so-gullible-america can be a fruitful means to expose the absurd nature of the beliefs he espouses.

    now, if you disagree, go ahead and say what you think. your argument shouldn't hinge on finding the equivalent of a gay uncle tom.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Apr 8, 2010 1:59:44 PM

  2. The term for "DaftPunkDavid" is KAPO.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 8, 2010 2:00:46 PM

  3. I agree with @Come On. During that broadcast I could see her getting nervous with THAT guy on. I don't think they properly researched who he was before they put him on and didn't realize what he would try to do. He's more of a salesman than he is worth getting any info out of. They did mess up, and now they are apologizing and putting up a counter argument.

    As Cenk on The Young Turks would say, You're at a 10 when you need to be at a 2. Bring it down a bit.

    Posted by: ravewulf | Apr 8, 2010 2:00:55 PM

  4. "i think good ole' arguments, discussion, deliberations are the remedy to this malady."

    You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.

    This idiot shouldn't have been on in the first place, and would easily have been vetted through a simple Google search. That's why I'm thinking it was done on purpose, for ratings. Given that assumption, I rather think that any reasonable degree of bilious venting is appopriate in this case, regardless of what is or is not contained inside Kyra's heart.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Apr 8, 2010 2:01:13 PM

  5. her defensiveness at the end made her look worse.

    Posted by: remix | Apr 8, 2010 2:03:42 PM

  6. it's amazing how many of your lives she ruined by running that little segment.

    seriously, people - move on. stop attacking petty journalists and fight battles that will produce actual results.

    who cares what she or Cohen have to say? If some poor little homosexual watched his segment and as a result became convinced that his sexuality was bad and that he should (and could) change it - that's his own damn fault. We are all responsible for educating ourselves. The homosexual in question would have likely reached this conclusion with or without that broadcast.

    The segment was dumb and pointless and uneducated and not worth our malice or energy.

    Posted by: jvogel | Apr 8, 2010 2:05:24 PM

  7. I think I'm even more offended by her outrage over the "vicious" response than by her original show.

    Richard Cohen has been widely exposed as a total nutcase. Even the other ex-gay groups steer a wide berth around him. There is truly no excuse for Philips to give him a platform to continue to spout his quackery.

    If she had brought on a Joseph Nicolosi (NARTH) or Alan Chambers (Exodus), I'd give her some leeway to wanting to represent the other side of the debate. But with Cohen, she went straight for the bottom of the barrel.

    Don't get me wrong, as an ex-ex-gay myself (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT-4nmr3e_s), I don't respect any of these bozos. But some of them maintain at least a pretense of rationality. Cohen dropped that long ago. Philips deserves to be flamed for giving him a platform.

    Posted by: NickC | Apr 8, 2010 2:11:00 PM

  8. @ the milkman: oh absolutely, she was absolutely trying to sensationalize the topic. if anything, that's what she should be blamed for (along with the rest of the media).

    but think about it this way, would we have been having this discussion if she had invited someone like today's guest on tuesday or if she herself was more aggressive in challenging cohen's assertions?

    this is not the first time cohen has been on tv, so i'm not sure it's the fact that he's given a platform that disturbs people, but rather that he's given a platform with no real challenger (the other guy on tuesday was kinda weak imho).

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Apr 8, 2010 2:13:44 PM

  9. How does one retain a pretense of rationality when the "reports" they use to substnatiate them are provably false, and universally acknowledged as such by the mainstream psychiatric communities? The fact is that you can't. There is no "other side" to this issue.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 8, 2010 2:15:02 PM

  10. "Richard Cohen was not the most appropriate guest to have on, but it is a decision that we made and the result of that is our continued discussion today. That is what journalism is all about."

    No stupid, journalism is about reporting the news not making it up or being the news.

    Posted by: GGREEN | Apr 8, 2010 2:15:56 PM

  11. dear kyra,

    thank you for (somewhat belatedly) offering an apology and (finally) presenting a differing, more responsible point of view.

    i am sorry you've received hateful messages calling you on your reporting of this. i hope, since the worst thing i called you was "ill informed" that i am not included among those.

    i take exception to your defense of presenting mr. cohen with the rather patronizing statement "this is what journalism is all about." i'm not a journalist but i'm pretty sure journalism is about investigation and positing questions that challenge people like mr. cohen instead of letting them present their misinformed opinions without any sort of counterpoint.

    i don't believe that is what journalism is all about.

    i have no doubt that you are sincere in your "unswerving commitment for all communities" but i wonder if it goes beyond mere lip service.

    that said, your apology, while a welcome step forward, was incomplete at best and disingenuous at its worst.


    Posted by: alguien | Apr 8, 2010 2:19:18 PM

  12. She gets zero credit for this defiant, condescending lecture. There's no apology anywhere in this.

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 8, 2010 2:19:30 PM

  13. fine i can do with a debate,but not with some crack head!!!!!!!!!!!!thank u

    Posted by: sal(yes the original) | Apr 8, 2010 2:20:58 PM

  14. It's nice that she saw the error of her ways and apologized. However, she addresses this incident as if it's an "Is Kyra a good person who gays should like and support?" issue, when the issue is that regardless of her personal beliefs, she allowed a very harmful segment to be aired...and that segment, with or without regrets, can NOT be taken back. She is also still clinging to the idea that homosexuality is up for debate so therefore it's journalistic to have on people who advocate curing it.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Apr 8, 2010 2:39:58 PM

  15. I'd like to present a different take on this. First, Cohen is an excellent choice for a guest. That being said, Kyra should have invited someone else on to counter his bullshit. Absent of any opposition, she should take that mantle on herself and call him to the floor. In this day and age of instant celebrities and a 24 hour news cycle, that's how you make a name for yourself.

    Sadly, I've seen this time and time again with CNN. The worst being Campbell Brown who almost always allows nut jobs to go on and on without calling them out. Most notably when that wingnut was going on about "death panels" and said it was right there in the legislation and plops a huge stack of papers on her desk for effect. Right then and there, she should have said "show me."

    Soledad, where is the report on "Gay in America." Now that could earn our respect. For now, CNN's latest numbers show they have dropped by 40% in viewership since 2005. I expect a big shakeup on the horizon. They can start by firing the program director, Wolf and Campbell (The Grey Fox is rumored to be talking to CBS) and bring back Crossfire and have that snarky little dike from GQ that's frequently on MSNBC to host against someone we love to hate like, Tucker. THAT could be fun!

    Posted by: Keith | Apr 8, 2010 2:48:43 PM

  16. Or...how about some young gay kid saw this interview and saw Cohen for the idiot he really is? Why are you so quick to under estimate our youth? In that same vein, why would that kid that you under estimate even be watching CNN? Why not MTV? Seems to me if they are smart enough to watch the news and be informed they are smart enought to see through this quack's stupidity and the fact that you can't cure "the gay" out of people. Food for thought.

    Posted by: Come on | Apr 8, 2010 3:09:48 PM

  17. A. This isn't the first time she's exhibited this kind of reprehensible attitude towards gays, as mentioned on this site. I think she's lying b/c her ass got caught being stupid & now she wants to come off as the good girl.

    B. They had the option to put GLAAD on and address this BEFORE the majority of the e-mails came in and guess what? They cancelled their appearance at the 11th hour citing their right to cover an issue in a balanced way (which for them meant no pro-gay gays). GLAAD subsequently did their call to action and put their e-mails out on the internet. I suspect THAT was when the snit hit the fan... or her e-mail account.

    I think she deserved to be chewed out. Maybe this will make her & other anchors/producers at CNN think in the future. I somehow doubt it, though.

    Posted by: Jackson | Apr 8, 2010 3:35:14 PM

  18. If she was as tuned into queer issues as she claims to be, then she either wouldn't have invited that wingnut Cohen onto the show, or she would have clearly debunked and rebuked him on the air. She did not.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Apr 8, 2010 3:43:12 PM

  19. With friends like these, who needs enemies? What a lame "apology"-- or rather, explanation. It's all about her. Poor poor misunderstood Kyra. She may say she is on our side but she doesn't really get it. It's like the lady who was the hostess at "El Coyote" who gave money to Yes on 8 to deny us marriage equality, who was then flabbergasted that we were angry with her when she "really really loves us and has so many gay friends...and didn't mean any harm..."

    Posted by: Happily Married | Apr 8, 2010 4:31:54 PM

  20. Fuck this bitch. "I'm not homophobic. Some of my best friends are gay." Journalism is about knowing what the fuck you're reporting, not throwing shit out onto the airwaves as fact that harms real live people and then saying "Oops, I made a mistake."

    Posted by: Norm D PLume | Apr 8, 2010 5:00:17 PM

  21. "are we really so insecure as to refuse to engage in civil discussion, and engage and debunk what this cohen guy was saying?"

    daftpunkydavid: Any number of people (including me or any number of commenters here, not to mention experts in the field or a journalist who had done some homework) could EASILY have debunked what Cohen was saying. The problem was that no one at CNN did. They called him an "expert" and allowed him to say a series of provably false statements with no challenge.
    Now, I understand that Kyra can't be expected to be an expert on every issue she discusses. But that is no reason not to have anyone knowledgeable there when a crackpot is being allowed his soapbox.

    A glaring example:
    Cohen said that Dr. Robert Spitzer published a study in 2002 "showing 200 men and women who reversed from homosexual to heterosexual and they changed their orientation."

    Kyra let that statement stand and then changed the subject to whether there was opposition to changing the law.
    The correct response that a learned journalist (or expert guest panelist) SHOULD have countered with would have been something like: "No, Spitzer's study certainly did NOT find 200 people who changed orientations. He studied 200 people, all hand-picked by ex-gay groups as their star students, but almost all of those 200 did not even CLAIM to have ceased same-sex attraction, let alone had done so in any provable way.

    "Here's a transcipt of that study. The claim you've repeatedly made in public is simply not there, and the author has asked groups like yours to stop misrepresenting it. Surely you're aware of this, Mr. Cohen. So what on earth would motivate you to keep making these false claims?"

    Posted by: GregV | Apr 8, 2010 5:51:50 PM

  22. What next...discussing converting all minority groups to straight and white..because CNN sees a problem!

    Kyra you made a mistake...admit it...and stop digging a deeper hole for that USELESS network you work for......

    ...and where is dick rider...Anderson?

    Posted by: BRAIN | Apr 8, 2010 5:57:08 PM

  23. While...I appreciate her apology (in a manner of speaking) I can't help but think anyone thats an ally of both progressive thought and gay issues wouldn't have even for a moment suggested the deposed counselor she had on was credible. I'd refer her to Rachel Maddow, who dealt with the widly discredited Richard Cohen in a more "apropriate" way.

    Posted by: g_whiz | Apr 8, 2010 5:58:06 PM

  24. Providing an uncontested forum to a sensational, uncredentialed bigot whose work is based on discredited studies that have been rejected by every reputable organization in the field...

    That's what "journalism is all about"?

    No dear, that's what The National Enquirer is all about.

    Posted by: Bryan Harrison | Apr 8, 2010 6:17:02 PM

  25. Apparently in Kyra-land, journalism means you put one side on TV, and then the other side has to dig through the rest of your previous reporting -- ever -- to imagine what their message would be like if it was on TV too. How many guesses whether the other side would have even been presented at all, if people hadn't made a stink about it?

    Posted by: Randy | Apr 8, 2010 6:52:15 PM

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