Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins Made 56 Appearances on Cable News During GOP Primary


Equality Matters has an excellent and alarming report on cable news appearances by Tony Perkins, President of the rabidly anti-gay Family Research Council, whose group has been designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

PerkinsDespite this designation, Perkins was invited to appear on cable networks a total of 56 times as a credible spokesperson for social conservatives and evangelicals during the GOP primary. Not once did any of the networks mention that Perkins is the leader of a designated hate group.

Equality Matters adds:

"These numbers don’t include appearances that weren't related to the presidential election, like a CNN segment discussing what Jesus Christ would have thought about Occupy Wall Street. The results also don’t include the number of times the networks referenced or discussed Perkins’ election commentary without actually hosting him on air. CNN alone did this 31 times during the primary."

The bulk of Perkins' appearances occurred on MSNBC.

Despite the fact that the FRC has ties to white supremacist groups like the KKK, Perkins was touted, even praised, Equality Matters adds:

After the Iowa caucus, Fox’s Mike Huckabee called FRC “one of the most respected family organizations in America” and lauded Perkins for his “clear understanding, not only of Iowa, but of the process nationally.” Fox host Megyn Kelly called him one of the country’s “top family values conservatives.”

Perkins received similar treatment on MSNBC, where host Chris Matthews praised him for being an “honest conservative,” and stated “I find him fascinating because I do trust him.”

As the networks continue to cover the FRC’s annual Values Voter Summit without noting its association with extreme anti-gay hate groups, it is clear that Perkins has become a major player within the GOP.


  1. andrew says

    I think that the nation owes Tony Perkins and extremists like him a big thank you for helping to re-elect President Obama and for increasing the number of democrats in the Senate and the House. America saw the face of ignorance and bigotry and moved away from it.

  2. Francis says

    And until things like this change, and the media stop giving a voice to bigots under the guise of “talking to both sides of a debate”, homophobia will continue to have a stranglehold on American society.

    Do I expect things to change? No. These cable networks don’t want to be labeled biased and they don’t care about the social implications of their actions. Plus, as Dana Milbank said this summer, FRC is a “Washington conservative think-tank”, code words for, they are in the DC circle. Tony Perkins is fully fledged in the DC circle. DC people protect DC people.

  3. simon says

    As Andrew said, the TV appearances of Sununu and Tony Perkins was part of the reason Mitt Romney lost the election. If the GOP is serious about reforming the party, they should distance themselves from the extreme right wing of the party.
    Catering to the Evangelicals is not going to save the party.

  4. Lars says

    I don’t endorse giving a a certified Hate Group leader a public spotlight. Hardly.

    But. It’s no accident that MSNBC puts this guy on the air. They are happy to let Perkins make a completely ridiculous @ss of Republicans, in the glorious court of public opinion.

  5. belo says

    And this is why Chris Matthews has lost credibility. Not to mention that Matthews isn’t intelligent enough about LGBT issues to ask intelligent enough questions. Which means that his purpose for inviting Perkins is to fill the spot and garner ratings. Chris Matthews, for whatever other good things he’s done, is a media prostitute after all.

  6. Francis says

    I agree, Lars, and MSNBC generally does a good job of challenging this idiot with an LGBTQ activist, and Rachel and Thomas have done well in destroying his arguments. But Belo is right, Chris Matthews isn’t a good spokesperson for us. His heart I think is in the right place, but he’s not well spoken enough on our issues. He doesn’t do well enough at correcting Tony Perkins’ lies. He’ll just call him wrong, without detailing why.

    I don’t think he allows Perkins on air for ratings. Especially since, actually, they don’t talk about homosexuality often when Perkins is on Hardball. They talk general politics. I think Chris Matthews genuinely respects Tony Perkins and that’s why he puts him on his show quite often.

    That’s the problem. Tony Perkins doesn’t go on these shows to condemn us each and every time; Tony Perkins is seen as a DC insider. He’s seen as a political pundit. When his primary goal is destroying the gay community. He’s given a legitimacy he hasn’t earned, and he doesn’t deserve. And with that, it gives an extreme anti-gay organization a place at the table and influence on laws.

  7. andrew says

    I likew Chris Matthews. He is a strong supporter of the democratic party and progressive causes in general. I think he reaches a lot of middle and working class white guys that are turned off by a lot of the more “sophisticated” liberals. Chris got his start as an assisstant of Tip’s, the can do “bread and butter” democrat and one time Speaker of the House.

  8. Caliban says

    Aside from his rabid homophobia, it’s thanks to people like to people like Tony Perkins that Republicans can’t or won’t answer a simple question like, “How old is the Earth?” They’re so afraid of offending the nutball Religious Right they have to at least pretend it poofed into existence about 6-10,000 years ago.

    And if they won’t even go against these idiots on BASIC science questions, what are the chances they’ll stand up to them on gay rights or any other issue? About zero. It’s due to the FRC, FOTF, and all the rest that the line up of GOP candidates was people like Santorum, Bachmann, Perry, and Romney.

  9. simon says

    Speaking of Chris Matthews, he may not be too familiar with LGBT issues, that’s why he was not sure if the made-up statistics by Tony Perkins was valid or not. He did destroy the arguments of a Tea Party spokesman in an interview though. I remember it was about Michele Bachman’s ridiculous speech on the Founding Fathers getting rid of slavery. He virtually lectured the spokesman on American history.

  10. PLAINTOM says

    I favor giving Perkins all the airtime possible, especially during Republican Presidential primaries. He forces the Republican candidates so far to the extreme he assures their loss in the general election.

  11. woodroad34 says

    This is why I don’t watch mainstream news and would rather get my info from aggregated news blogs like this. And, really, MSNBC? You’re considered one of the more liberal news channels. Soooo lazy, so what. Boring, predictable, sophmoric and in some respects, Fox-lite. (I guess I couldn’t get any more insulting than that last bit.) Be big boys and do something worthwhile like looking for a real person instead of the “angry dog straining at his leash”, reptilian cortexed, f**kwads (and I apologize to all ejaculates for that).

  12. Ted says

    Tony wants to be the next Hitler, we need to keep an eye on him and make sure they stop him before him and his anti-gay Christian Nazis start killing people. Remember Hitler was Catholic and so were the majority of Nazi Germany who went along with the mad man Hitler on his plans to take over the world.

  13. andrew says

    @Ted: Hitler was raised Catholic but ceased to participate in that church after childhood. The German census of May 1939 shows that 54% of the German people considered themselves Protestant and 40% considered themselves Catholic.

  14. stevemd2 says

    Andrew- dont give the catholic church any credence.

    It was responsible for the hatred of Jews that led to the holocaust and hitlers election

    Heres’ some pixx of the church supporting the nazi regime


  15. andrew says

    @SteveMVD2: no credence just the facts. All the Christian religions; Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox were anti-semetic and laid the ground work for Hitler. One of the most outspoken and virulent anti-semites was Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation.

  16. simon says

    is an interesting clip featuring Richard Dawkins giving a speech attacking the Pope and the Church.
    He pointed out though Hitler was not a practising Catholic, he was baptised and he did invoked God in a passage of Mein Kampf. When Hitler escaped assassination and the Bishop of Munich ordered a special Te Deum in Munich Cathedral, quote: “To thank Divine Providence, in the name of the Archdiocese for the Fuhrer’s fortunate escape.”

  17. andrew says

    I might add that the religious basis for the anti-semitism is to be found in the New Testament books written mostly by Jewish Christians attacking their fellow Jews who refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah.

  18. Goodcarver says

    I watch a lot of MSNBC, particularly Rachel Maddow, Ed Schulz and (LOL) Chris Matthews! However, as with any political speaker, I keep my tongue in my cheek and try to analyze what they are saying with a resolute concept that, after all, they are vying for ratings and have to answer to their bosses…who ever the Boss might be!

  19. says

    CNN is the WORST at this.

    WORST NETWORK EVER. I swear, CNN has yet to do coverage on virtually any gay related story or legislation without always having an extremely anti gay voice as a counter point. It’s beyond insulting, it leads to the idea that CNN really believes there should be balance in a discussion about prejudice. How about celebrating when gay rights legislations occur, as opposed to ALWAYS having an anti gay force that belittles us on your programs.

  20. Scott Johansen says

    I stopped watching CNN for this very reason. If you are keen enough, you’ve observed them invite very homophobic leaders and individuals for various gay related segments. Often times, the host will ask a follow up question, but very rarely ever challenges the hate and ignorance against LGBT being aired. At a certain point, it just becomes a platform to give to homophobic talking points. It’s damaging, insulting, and is the thing that enables harrasment, hate crimes, and bullying of our LGBT and LGBT youth.
    CNN needs to do some soul searching. I as a viewer have walked away from that channel last year.

  21. LipstickDiva says

    For me, the question is very simple actually:

    1.) Why don’t these networks bring up a KKK member as a guest when discussing African American issues of injustice?

    2.) Why isn’t a Sheriff Joe like individual who is deeply anti latino consistently featured in illegal immigration pieces on CNN for example? Heck, CNN devotes special to the plight of illegal immigrants in our nation, two hour long specials, one done last September. It tells the story and struggle from the narrative of a Latino immigrant. NOT of those against them.

    Yet please give me a rational argument why when our injustices we face as a gay community, why when our name is so much mentioned on a broadcast, there is bound to always be a militant anti-gay force on the panel? Because having a balanced discussion of varrying opinions, be they hate laced too, only applies to one demographic in our journalistic spectrum: the gay community? Seems like it.

  22. Duration&Convexity says

    If these show hosts were tackling these hate mongers, sincerely challenging them or simply demanding they elaborate on the -WHY- and HOW- they came to their bigoted conclusions; then yes, I would understand the purpose. But I too have seen one too many segments on CNN (mostly) or even MSNBC where they have a homophobe who spews drivel against gays, and the hosts at the end says “Pastor, thank you so much for being with us tonight.”
    Uhm, so at that point, you’re basically giving a massive platform to hate and need to own up to it. And also own up to the fact that in a city like Washington D.C, and many others, anti gay hate crimes are seeing a 50% increase in recent years. Letting these tacky and destructive homophobic talking heads, talk and talk and talk can and does brainwash and fire up a few impressionable loose skrrews to get out there and starting beating gays.

  23. Cali Greg says

    I’ve always wondered why our community leaders aren’t more outspoken about this issue. So often we have bigots allowed to get on respected news programs and whistle away bigotry against our people. Gays, lesbians, transgenders, and bisexual. Some heavy stuff too. Why don’t they have the same kind of people who are against women, Jews, blacks, Hispanics get on their programs and go off about how said demographics are rotten for society and undeserving of equal treatment. That would never happen, and thousands of latino, Jewish, women’s, and black organizations ensure that doesn’t. Yet it seems suitable enough to have a Tony Perkins get on Soledad O’brains show and say “gay parents damage the children they raise” and not much backlash.


  24. LipstickDiva says


    Ratings at the expense of lives is deplorable. Having people like Perkins come on and fuel the fire of backward people by giving the impression that gays are out to take over society is dangerous, and in the most tangibel ways, leading to hate crimes against us. Maybe not in mass numbers, but to even assume the calculating tactics he spreads in making religious people heterosexuals feel threatened by gays is also not contributing to societal homophobia is being very naive. He knows exactly the message he’s spreading. These networks should also know better than to help him spread it, and hurt so many GLBT. If these shows can survive without the witch hunts against other groups, they can also without the need to throw our community under the fundementalist bus.

  25. Richard says

    Every time you see this career-homophobe on TV, send an email to the network complaining that they are broadcasting the views of the president of a designated hate group. Would they invite the Grand Wizard of the KKK to discuss current events? Tell them if they feel justified in giving Perkins air time, they should properly introduce him as the president of a hate group. That applies to Ken Blackwell, another face of hate from the FRC.

  26. millerbeach says

    @Richard, you are on the right track, but those letters of complaint need not be sent to the networks, but to the ADVERTISERS. Complain to them. Tell them we are not getting equal access. Tell them we are being discriminated against, and will not BUY YOUR PRODUCT. Those last three words will strike fear in their hearts…and wallets. Just remember, we WILL NOT BUY your product.

  27. Markt says

    He looks like a gay guy that I would avoid at first sight. Why is he never asked if his real issue is that he is in the closet. It’s obvious and it’s sort of common for crazed homophobes.

  28. Diogenes Arktos says

    Tom Rick who terminally embarrassed Faux News, responded to MSNBC’s subsequent request for an interview by saying that MSNBC was another Faux News – but not as good at it.

    Nate Silver recently remarked he has found that as the number of appearances of a pundit increased, it was an indication of his lack of worth. He paused and proceeded to note that he has had a dramatic increase in the number of appearances and wondered what that said about himself. Love you, Nate.

    @Millerbeach: you sound just like the supposedly boycott-allergic NOM et al. They haven’t gotten very far with their boycotts. Thank God. Even with strong corporate support for LGBT issues, I’m not sure we will either. I think we do have a much better chance of appealing to the journalistic quality of the networks.


    A plea for better nomenclature… Please use “Religious Right” when dealing with people like Perkins, Fischer, and their ilk. “Evangelical” properly refers to a group of conservative Christians who are definitely to the left of the “Religious Right” and are proudly so. They are as annoyed with them as we are.

  29. simon says

    To be fair, Chris Matthews did invite Barney Frank and Tony Perkins to appear together to debate gay issues.

    You can see Barney Frank was visibly annoyed and destroyed the nonsense Tony Perkins spilled in the usual way.

  30. andrew says

    So many who have posted on this site seem to fear the free exchange of ideas in a free society. They want the debate rigged in their favor. Many Americans are quite capable of listening to bigots and rejecting their bigotry,

  31. KenS says

    We have the media to hold responsible for giving people like Perkins or Ann Coulter a platform. If the media didm’t promote these people, they would wither and die, because there are very few people who actually subscribe to their bile. CNN PLEASE STOP GIVING PERKINS AND HIS ILK A PLATFORM!

  32. simon says

    There is reason why KKK not invited by the networks. They simply are not popular any more and no one cares what they say. What is unfortunate is that Tony Perkins and the Church have considerable influence in politics despite the fact what they said is not much different KKK was saying years ago about black people. Quoting my hero Richard Dawkins again:
    “Joseph Ratzinger is the enemy of gay people: bestowing on them the sort of bigotry his church used to reserve for Jews before 1962.”
    Yet they get away with it.

  33. simon says

    Not only the networks, both Republicans and Democrats were responsible for the dire situation we are in today. Remember they invited New York Archbishop Tim Donut to say prayers in their conventions. They are both afraid to criticize the Church precisely because they are afraid to offend religious voters.

  34. Richard says

    I agree with much that’s been said. But what I’d like to see come into these conversations with Perkins et al is that whole “Biblical world view” thing. To hold centrally the belief that a collection of iron age fables, with their violence, misogyinist, homophobic, anti-semitic, self-conflicting stances is somehow the inerrant word of the creator of the universe, and especially with all that young-earth nonsense, is simply irrational, even delusional. That’s what we should be talking up.

  35. DocReality says

    This might send a bunch of folks into an e-rage, but while we’re on the subject of party reform, in addition to getting rid of right-wing religious extremists, how about those on the Uber-bleeding-heart-victims on the left?

    A little fiscal responsibility and national security combined with some socially conscious recovery could be a very real way to perhaps meet in the middle.

  36. ThomT says

    I think we all owe Tony Perkins a great big THANK YOU. By keeping the hate going he managed to help win marriage equality in three states, kept it from becoming a constitutional issue in one state and helped keep Mitt Romney from becoming President. I think Mr. Perkins did us one great big favor – wonder if he’ll be available to help us again during the next election. Perkins and his cronies are becoming less and less influential and their brand of hatred and bigotry is not longer playing well with the majority of Americans.

  37. ThomT says

    Let’s not forget that Perkins also predicted a “chick-fil-a” election where all of the religious right would swarm the polls and elect far-right candidates who support the so-call “family values” agenda. Mr. Perkins has proven himself to be a desperate man whose following is waining – I cannot wait for the day that donations fall off to the extent that Tony has to find a REAL job and stopping living off the fear and hatred he has been force feeding his flock.

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