PRI’s ‘To The Point': More Homophobic Rantings In Wake Of Penn State Scandal

OlneyOn yesterday's To The Point, the PRI news and analysis show, host Warren Olney intended to discuss two subjects: The Penn state scandal and LGBT parents. The discussion featured, among other guests, The Arkansas Family Council's Jerry Cox, who used his time at the mic to press-gang the Penn State tragedy into a morality tale about the dangers of LGBT adoptions.

His reasoning seems to be something like this (and this is really a guess, since Cox very seldom says exactly what he means): Jerry Sandusky, the Penn Stage defensive coach who allegedly raped an unknown number of boys over an unknown number of years, is gay. Sandusky also acted as a foster-parent to a number of children. Ergo, it's dangerous for LGBT-folk to adopt. Said Cox [as transcribed by Gawker]:

The gold standard is that the best place for a child to grow up is in a stable home with a loving mother and father. Our position is that if the state is going to take children into custody, it ought to put children in the best homes possible…These children have been damaged, and need a stable home more than any child out there. What does the research and common sense show? You're going to put them in a home with a loving mother and father.

I find it interesting that we talk about the Penn State situation, and then when we talk about people who claim to have these rights to adopt or foster; in both cases, the children's rights get put in second place. If you give the rights to the adults, the children will be compromised.

Of course, Sandusky isn't gay. He was what somebody like Cox might call a man's man. Married, two kids, involved in athletics, successful, founder of a massive charity. In fact, for most of his life Sandusky seemed like precisely the kind of person Cox would want to adopt children. This was the idea that To The Point's Warren Olney tried to articulate, but he bungled it. Said Olney to Cox [again, via Gawker]:

Shouldn't we reexamine attitudes towards allowing homosexuals access to children, seeing as how ‘macho' Sandusky wound up defying stereotypes and raped them anyway?

Maybe it was Olney's use of the word "we" that muddied the situation, or perhaps his use of Cox's preferred term, "homosexuals." (Those two word choices make it possible to read his statement as suggesting that he and public radiofolk ought to reevaluate their pro-gay propensities.) Or maybe it's his suggestion that the Penn State tragedy and LGBT adoption have anything to do with each other at all.

In any event, GLAAD didn't much like the timbre of the show, and this morning published a press release calling for NPR to clarify its stance. Apparently, Olney had already apologized to an interlocutor at GLAAD. Olney's statement reads:

We apologize for any confusion about today’s “To the Point,” which dealt with both the Penn State child-sex scandal and the issue of same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents.  The connection we intended to make was this: a suspected pedophile backed by a powerful institution was allowed to have foster children, while same-sex couples, who can provide loving families, are often denied that opportunity.  We'll air listener comments and further discussion on Monday's program.