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.


  1. Steve says

    Maybe it’s time for the media as a whole to make a change to the way they cover LGBT issues.

    I find it annoying and offensive that whenever these issues are covered in the mainstream media the media feels the need to present the “opposing viewpoint”. Then they invite one of these bigots from hate groups like the Family Research Council to spread their hate and confuse the issues even further.

    I find it interesting that when discussing issues of race the same tactic isn’t used by the media. Why, when discussing issues that affect or involve African Americans do they not invite members of KKK or Aryan Nation to present “opposing viewpoints”. Or matters relating to the Jewish religion or Israel, why aren’t Neo-Nazis invited to present “opposing viewpoints”.

    Now please don’t take this to mean that I think any of these groups should be invited to spread more hate speech to the general public (even though it’s their First Amendment right to do so). I just think we as a community need to start holding the “liberal” media more accountable about what they are presenting to people and what their obligation to get accurate information to the public is.

  2. Phineas Talbot says

    The sickening sense of entitlement by the “liberal” heterosexually-dominated media is on full display at NPR. That they would take a case of alleged child molestation and try to turn it into a referendum on homosexuality is beyond the pale. Maybe it really is time to reevaluate the governmental support given to this organization.

  3. Caliban says

    As I said in another thread, the 6’5″ ex-quarterback who walked away and didn’t do a da*n thing about Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy would probably have thrown a fit if he walked in on two male college athletes doing exactly the same thing. Paterno and all the other “sports heroes” associated with Penn State football would likely have drummed them off the team, and congratulated themselves for their moral stance, yet allowed a pedophile to continue preying on children rather than “embarrass” their VERY lucrative college sports franchise.

    Yet the Christian Right would LOVE to blame gays for it.

  4. Craig says

    @Steve – I’ve also noticed that whenever there is a case of pedophilia it seems to get reported on gay sites as if it’s a gay issue (i.e. Catholic church abuses). If they are going to be reported regularly on gay news sites like Towleroad and JMG then the issue start looking pretty gay. I know the reality that most these guys are married coaches or politicians or troop leaders or even “celibate” priests… Maybe we should just assume all married men are pedophiles.

  5. Mike says

    The Southern Poverty Law Center designated the FRC as a hate group last winter, in large part because they continue to spread false information regarding gays and pedophilia, and NPR has been reminded of this time and time again. I am way past forgiving NPR. If you invite the KKK to a conversation about race, don’t come running to me saying you’re sorry when it blows up in your face- you knew what you were doing.

  6. says

    GLAAD is Beyond Pathetic.

    Warren Olney is a longtime “respected” Journalist — and a major ‘phobe.

    NPR has done this before. The censored reviewer nathan Lee’s piece on “Outrage” — because it mentioned what this documentary about D.C. coset queens was about — and which names it named.

    “Objecting” to their dog and pony phobe show is WEAK.

  7. MichaelD1026 says

    A majority of pedophiles identify as heterosexual; just ask my father. He molested his second wife’s granddaughter, yet loathed the fact of my gayness. When my partner and I visited him and my mother(they’d remarried), my mother offered us a bedroom to share as we did at our home. My father went ballistic; he was not going to have two “faggots” sharing a bed in his home.

  8. Hank Plante says

    As someone who has spent 30 years as a TV reporter in San Francisco and Los Angeles, I can’t tell you how offended I was to hear someone I respect as much as Warren link a discussion of pedophilia at Penn State to the subject of LGBT adoption.

    No matter how thinly you slice the rationale for associating those two subjects, the message went out to listeners that they go together. His “family values” guest was only too happy to perpetuate the link which KCRW initiated.

    It is the kind of discussion that Fox News has become famous for: creating a false premise — a false connection between subjects — and then getting “both sides” so as to appear Fair And Balanced.
    It’s not far from the days when reporters would do a story on African-American civil rights and being sure to include “the other side” from the Ku Klux Klan.

    I’m afraid my favorite radio station played to the cheap seats on this one.

  9. Charlie says

    As Charley pointed out, it is PRI, not NPR. You can download the program on-line and listen to it before making judgements on the show.
    At this link you can also leave your comments on the program. But if you are going to leave a comment on the show I would suggest you listen to the interview since THE GAWKER TRANSCRIPT IS NOT ACCURATE. The statement from Jerry Cox comes shortly after the 30 minute mark.

    Also, the Arkansas Family Council is not the Family Research Council.

  10. SCollingsworth says

    Did I miss something? Coz I think it would have been BIG news if Coach Sandusky had come out of the closet. As far as I know he self-identified as a heterosexual.

  11. Bart says

    There’s so much wrong with this idiocy between Mr. Olney and Mr. Cox it’s hard to know where to begin. First and most importantly, Mr. Sandusky was a straight man. A heteorsexual pedophiliac. He was married to his wife of many years…what would they call him having sex with her? He liked raping boys, not men.

    To in any way shape or form connect same-sex adoption with Mr. Sandusky is both disgusting and idiotic. As a two-father household with two adopted children I find it offensive to the point I’d like to punch anyone in the mouth when they even suggest such a thing. I love my children with all my heart and soul. If anyone would ever hurt them, I’d break them in half.

    And for this “gold standard” that Mr. Cox refers to for parents of adoptable children…it’s fool’s gold. Mr. Cox, how many children have you and your wife adopted. How about everyone at your organization? With hundreds of thousands of kids waiting for adoption, where are all theses “gold standard” parents. I can tell you, they are right here, me and my partner.

    Olney and Cox can go straight to hell. They’re both disgusting and ridiculous people, sad pathetic worlthless men who are more caught up on gay sex then most gay men I know. I would be worried about any children left around these men.

  12. Betty Baxter says

    Once again can’t believe my ears how NPR panders to the religious right with their so called balanced reporting. The LA affiliate has got to be one of the worst with Karen Grigsby Bates and Warren Olney. I’m so glad I stopped giving money to these fraudsters.

  13. Caliban says

    Thanks for correcting the source. NPR gets enough complaints from the Right (and sometimes the Left) without getting it for something they didn’t do.

    The Christian Right anti-gay orgs *deliberately* ignore the statistics about child sexual abuse in order to smear gays. There’s no use pointing it out to THEM because they already know they’re lying. It’s one of their common tactics and why they end up on the SLPC’s hate groups list. But you have to confront “journalists” like Olney and people who might buy into their misinformation.

    If you draw a Venn diagram for child molesters and openly gay men there is VERY little overlap. The operative word there is “openly.” It’s very important. I don’t mean to imply that closeted gay men are really pedophiles, but as a rule openly gay men don’t sexually abuse children. Not that it never happens but it’s rare. Child sex abusers are almost always straight-identified.

    If you think about it, it only makes sense. If you are a predator, in order to get close to your prey you have to make yourself seem as harmless as possible. Otherwise parents might be suspicious about what you’re really up to. Thanks to stereotyping by groups like the AFA, FRC, etc., parents are generally more watchful of gay men around children so that isn’t a successful strategy for a pedophile. So they aren’t going to identify as gay. It doesn’t fit the “cover” they need in order to abuse.

    It’s not the gay man or couple down the street parents need to worry about, it’s the married guy who’s “so good with kids” and goes out his way to spend time with them alone.

    However, when a man like Sandusky gets caught abusing boys we’re the ones blamed, despite the fact that he and abusers like him are married and have never identified as gay. It’s important we make sure that message gets out there and stays out there.

  14. al says

    i listen to that show almost daily. I am glad i did not hear it or i would have gotten in an auto accident with my emotions.

    i find it interesting that “they” always link gay and pedophilic behavior. We all know that there is no connection. What the media should be exploring is the psychodynamics of pedophilic behavior and the cause. It has nothing to do with gay behavior.

  15. anon says

    Isn’t PRI just the for-profit production company for a lot of public radio shows, mostly local/state public radio? NPR is more the public affairs and news side of public radio.

  16. Kyle Michel Sullivan says

    I’m so beyond listening to NPR and their faux “even-handedness.” They seem incapable of recognizing just how much they’ve hurt the truth in so many ways, not just with this story. I stopped tuning in a long time ago.

  17. Voice of Reason says

    Caliban- Actually Penn State is very accepting of GLBT people and GLBT students. They have a very intense anti-discrimation policy when it comes to hate crimes and harassment of GLBT people.

    They are one of the top universities for LGBT students and many colleges and universities try to emulate their LGBT programs for students and the community there.

    Just look what happened to Penn State basetball coach Rene Portland when she said how then closeted Lesbian player Jennifer Harris was lesbian, Portland was fired immediately.

    Kiwi-Paterno is not to blame and he did not protect a child rapist. Paterno told the Penn State board of trustees and University President and Board of Trustees and University President could have taken legal action and they did not do anything.

    McQuay also is to blame since he witnessed the rape and yet did not do anything to stop it at the time; but it sounds as though he was in shock over it.

    People actually have been very angry that the University board of trustees and University President.

  18. cadence says

    It’s funny that the discussion of restricting adoptions or repressed sexuality never comes up when we hear about men molesting little girls, and women molesting little boys. Maybe because these predators sexual orientation has nothing to do with their desire to have sex with children. Men who molest little boys are not homosexuals, the vast majority of them have never had sex with another man. Their desire isn’t to have sex with adult men, it’s to have sex with little boys, which is the whole point.

  19. Caliban says

    Voice Of Reason, I disagree with you that Paterno bears no responsibility. While he may be blameless according to the law, he had direct knowledge that Sandusky was a serial child sex abuser, in fact a rapist of children since they are both legally and cognitively unable to give consent. Since there had been a previous event in the Penn State showers Paterno and others also knew it was a pattern of behavior AND that through his charity and foster children in his home Sandusky had constant daily contact with children.

    And what did they do about it? They told him not to bring children to the Penn State campus anymore, which basically boils down to “keep it elsewhere.” Then they continued working with him for years afterward with the knowledge his crime had gone unreported.

    Sorry, but even if no charges are filed against Paterno, McQueary, or any of the other Penn State officials they were accessories after the fact. They bear at least some culpability for the crimes Sandusky committed after the unambiguous rape of a child was witnessed by McQueary, which went unreported. If they weren’t lionized public figures in the sports world they likely would be charged for their guilty knowledge.

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