Bullying | Crime | Dan Savage | Kyra Phillips | News

Watch: Dan Savage Tells CNN That It Must Stop Giving Platforms to Hate Group Leaders Like the FRC's Tony Perkins


CNN ran a segment on bullying and hate crimes inspired by the SPLC's recent report and their designation of 13 new organizations as "hate" groups.

Dan Savage tells Kyra Phillips, who is incredulous over the numbers of violent crimes committed against gay people, that change must begin with organizations like CNN, which give platforms to leaders of hate groups like the Family Research Council, which masquerade as religious organizations.

Says Savage: "There are no ‘two sides’ to the issue of LGBT rights. Right now one side is really using dehumanizing rhetoric. The Southern Poverty Law Center labels these groups as hate groups and yet the leaders of these groups, people like Tony Perkins, are welcomed onto networks like CNN to espouse hate directed at gays and lesbians. And similarly hateful people who are targeting Jews or people of color or anyone else would not be welcome to spew their bile on CNN."


(via two)

UPDATE: Savage says, "The question about what could be done to lower the rate of anti-gay hate crimes was the planned final question in the segment, CNN knew I was going to slam 'em when they asked it, and they had me on anyway. Which is to CNN's credit."

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  1. His point is simple and true...

    Posted by: True Words | Nov 23, 2010 5:49:33 PM

  2. Bravo, Dan. Good job calling CNN et al. out on their double standards.

    Posted by: Chris | Nov 23, 2010 5:59:47 PM

  3. Kyra Phillips pisses me off. Just watching her interview ANYONE makes me want to break my television/computer.

    Posted by: Leo | Nov 23, 2010 6:05:54 PM

  4. As an outsider it scares me to see what is happening in America. The Tea Party is becoming a viable political force for the simple reason that people (read: white heterosexuals) can hide behind the idea of "returning to simpler values" but really just want all minorities back where they think they belong - as second class citizens. I fear that Sarah Palin and her ilk have gone from being mildly amusing to downright scary. 2012 may yet turn out to be the year the world ends.

    Posted by: jamesintoronto | Nov 23, 2010 6:17:54 PM

  5. I agree with Dan completely. If we're giving a person of the year award he is definitely in the running.

    CNN is trash TV. By giving so much attention to complete idiots they legitimize a lot of very dangerous things.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Nov 23, 2010 6:43:30 PM

  6. There is a little thing called the First Amendment. You all would be the among first to invoke it if FRC asked CNN not to broadcast Dan Savage.

    Let the idiots speak, nothing better for showing up the fallacies of their arguments.

    Posted by: Diogenes | Nov 23, 2010 6:57:08 PM

  7. ..I agree that the -opposition- should be heard.....but it should always be brought to attention that if it was any other minority, there'd be no discussion! Great Job Dan!

    Posted by: Disgusted Gay American | Nov 23, 2010 7:08:05 PM

  8. Dan Savage is such a bright, refreshing voice. And so right. I have long said that no one would show a Nazi or KKK member as having an argument that should be taken seriously. However, gay issues always have the 'other side' represented. Enough already. We are so lucky to have Dan on our side.

    Posted by: LAXJFK | Nov 23, 2010 7:10:56 PM

  9. Sorry, this isn't a 1st amendment issue. Period.

    CNN doesn't HAVE to give the likes of Tony Perkins a platform to spew their invective. And calling for them to stop is not infringing on his 1st amendment rights in the least.

    Calling for him to be jailed for his spewage would be a 1st amendment violation. This is more calling CNN to task for pretending that there are two equally valid and viable sides to every argument no matter what.

    Posted by: Robert Serrano | Nov 23, 2010 7:24:07 PM

  10. There is no such thing as free speech for bigots. Queers who defend the rights of bigots at the same time as we are DYING are NOT a part of the LGBT movement. They are silly right wing hacks with no connection to reality. If you don't understand the difference between speech that is used not only to deny people rights, but to KILL people and the speech of oppressed minorities fighting for equality and in some cases for their lives, you have nothing to contribute to this conversation. You fuckers ONLY seem to speak out when queers and other minorities are under attack. Fuck off and die, assholes.

    I appreciate Dan's comments (even if he doesn't care to support the LGBT movement in his own neighborhood). We need to call out those who give a platform for bigots. But if we can remember back a couple years ago... Who was the VERY first public speaker at the Obama inauguration? GAY BASHING BIGOT AND PROP 8 SUPPORTER RICK WARREN. Let's at least be consistent.

    Posted by: Lonnie | Nov 23, 2010 7:27:06 PM

  11. Diogenes - the problem with letting the idiots speak is, all the networks are doing this for ratings - not because the news organizations have any principles any more.

    If CNN or CNBC or any news organization stopped airing the idiots, the uneducated, and the inflammatory, their ratings would go into the toilet - as would their jobs.

    I wish we would only give air time to thoughtful individuals with a well-reasoned platform, but that (unfortunately) won't sell potato chips.

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 23, 2010 7:30:41 PM

  12. Those of you claiming that this is a First Amendment issue need to take a Civics 101 lesson. NOTHING about this has ANYTHING to do with the First Amendment. No one is asking the GOVERNMENT to limit the haters' speech. We as citizens are asking a news channel to not allow hate speech to be promoted by their stations. That is, in and of itself, speech; and a form of speech that anti-gay people use all the time.

    The very LEAST that these news channels should do is make sure that the listening audience is aware that these people speak on behalf of organizations that the SPLC (founded by MLK Jr.) has declared "hate groups".

    Dan is right on on this!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Nov 23, 2010 8:01:16 PM

  13. Dan Savage is trying to appeal to CNN's powers that be to not lower their standards in favor of garnering ratings. He is pleading to deaf ratings whores, who only listen and watch out for the almighty profit dollar. This is what they mean by "Media Circus". An eloquent and noble individual, Dan Savage certainly has his work cut out for him. I for one, always cheer for the underdog.

    Posted by: Jerome | Nov 23, 2010 8:18:23 PM

  14. Dan Savage advocating against Freedom of Speech? Gee that's (really) surprising. Listen the First Amendment is there to allow people to say things that we do not agree upon. It is not there for us to pick and choose what we want to hear.

    Just like with any other freedoms we are allowed as Americans it is not a buffet of what we want when we want it. It is there for all at all times.

    If you do not like what is being said then you start a movement to show the other point-of-view and educate the public. You do not show the public that you are coming across as a Dictator to appease what you only want to hear.

    Posted by: Craig Mingus | Nov 23, 2010 8:25:44 PM

  15. The First Amendment has nothing to do with the people CNN chooses to put on their program. They can choose to put haters on, or choose not to. They are a private organization.

    And they ought to start acting responsibly.

    Posted by: Greg | Nov 23, 2010 8:36:14 PM

  16. Seriously, only homophobes or self loathers so fundamentally misunderstand the first amendment in applying it to defend the speech of bigots. And there is no "other side," and falsely believing otherwise isn't "fair and balanced," it's bigoted.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 23, 2010 8:55:05 PM

  17. "There is a little thing called the First Amendment. You all would be the among first to invoke it if FRC asked CNN not to broadcast Dan Savage."

    Ignorant bigots have the right to free speech. But having the right to free speech doesn't mean you have the right to say anything anytime and anywhere you want to. Media outlets like CNN choose their guests. Not anyone can just sit down with Kyra and mouth off, as much as I'd like to.

    The problem with CNN (and other "non-biased" news programs) is that they love to present all POVs as equivalent and equally informed, when they are not. People like Tony Perkins and other religious zealots who spout ignorance, hate, and misinformation are presented as experts, when in fact they are representing a discredited fringe opinion that is mislabeled balance.

    If you legitimize hate speech, you--CNN and the media--are part of the problem. We have a first amendment right to challenge their choice of guests on gay civil rights issues. They have the right to embrace or ignore our suggestions. That is the first amendment in action. Tony Perkins has plenty of places where he can voice his ignorance whether or not CNN invites him on the air.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 23, 2010 8:57:04 PM

  18. As someone who lived through the '50s and '60s, I can tell you for a fact that the networks NEVER put racists on the air to argue on behalf of racism. They NEVER put anti-Semites on the air to argue against religious tolerance. They turned around on gays, though, and let the haters spew their homophobia because it was Christian. Religious-based hatred is acceptable. The homophobes are entitled to their freedom of speech, but the media has no obligation to give them a platform. They do it because they want to, and they profit from it. We need to call them on it. The gay youth of America should not be exposed year after year to the bile just because some religious fanatics believe their superstitious "Holy Books." American Taliban.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Nov 23, 2010 9:19:04 PM

  19. Open dialogue is good for healthy relationships, and you cannot have a balanced perspective without adverse opinions. Even the most extreme cases of right wing & left wing militants are examples that we can learn from, and can lead to a more fruitful awareness of bias. Although banning a certain group from a cable show is certainly NOT a violation of freedom of speech, it is limiting the argument and validating only one group mentality. This can lead to violent factions, as opposed to a debate which is moderated by a neutral party. can anyone in this country remain neutral? It seems like people are more interested in proving themselves "right", rather than coming to an understanding of one another. In a dialogue, people rarely LISTEN when they are trying to defend or attack. I believe people need to learn to LISTEN, and there can we only learn to find commonality with one another. Freedom of speech protects against censorship, but it does not protect against discernment, which can only be practiced through listening. We cannot monitor "hate speech" like a "terror-alert chart"...the lines between varied levels of hatred are too vague. Hatred in any degree is hatred, and it will always exist. Freedom of speech is a tool by which we can filter that hated and strive for understanding, not use it as a hammer to obliterate others.

    Posted by: Reed M | Nov 23, 2010 9:26:59 PM

  20. For Mingus and Diogenes: Here's the entire text of the First Amendment. Please read it. Then get back to us on what this has to do with Dan Savage and CNN.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Nov 23, 2010 9:34:30 PM

  21. Savage is not questioning the FRC's right to free speech but CNN's choice of speakers. If homophobic people spew their hate in the literal public square they are either ignored or riduculed but by giving them the national platform that CNN can, it legitimizes their rhetoric and makes it okay for people to kill us. CNN has the right to not include them in their broadcasts.

    Posted by: tooboot | Nov 23, 2010 9:46:10 PM

  22. @CandideinNC: I didn't see live news in the '50s and '60's, but I would consider several points that are something of a challenge to your points:

    - There were no full-time cable TV news networks before the '80's, so news was delivered and received through different methods.

    - I remember reading an article by an equality-minded newspaper reporter from the South who said he had been disheartened by the fact he had to present groups like the Klan as the "other side" during the black civil rights struggle, and wasn't allowed to provide any real challenge to their points, no matter how absurd they were.
    He acknowledged that hate groups are no longer presented as an equally-legitimate opposite side when discussing black people's rights.

    - My parents were involved in the civil rights struggle for Blacks in the rural South and I know from their experiences that the dismissal of blacks as lesser beings had everything to do with religion. White Christians who argued in favor of fair treatment for Blacks were considered apostates by, for the most part, EXACTLY the same evangelical and fundamentalist churches that oppose gays.
    Bible verses were thrown at them to tell them why the Negro was not fully human, and their very lives were often in danger for daring to speak favorably of Blacks, including accusations of being "unchristian."

    The racist viewpoint was mainstream among Southern Christians in the '50's, and the religious arguments were so parallel to those used to attack gays that the similarities are almost uncanny.

    Then, like now, such hatred was often given a free pass because, after all, it's being done under the guise of people's religion.

    Posted by: GregV | Nov 23, 2010 10:26:57 PM

  23. I'm not sure I agree with Savage on this. Perhaps CNN could present these anti-gay groups in some context about how small they actually are. The danger is making the hate groups appear as victims, which they so often try to be.

    Jonathan Rauch has an excellent article in the Advocate on this: the anti-gays are now in the minority in the US and we risk a strong backlash by making them look like victims. I highly recommend reading this article, even if you disagree with his thesis:

    Posted by: David R. | Nov 23, 2010 11:50:08 PM

  24. It's about time. AFA and their ilk really are hate groups, as the SPLC points out. We don't have thoughtful discussions with the KKK on civil rights issues, why are we wasting our time with Perkins and Dobson?

    Posted by: Craig | Nov 24, 2010 12:20:14 AM

  25. "... Who was the VERY first public speaker at the Obama inauguration? GAY BASHING BIGOT AND PROP 8 SUPPORTER RICK WARREN....Posted by: Lonnie"

    Never Forget one simple fact Brothers and Sisters:

    Rick Warren = Uganda

    Posted by: New Jersey Boi | Nov 24, 2010 1:10:53 AM

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