CNN promotes “ex-gay” lies

Kyra Phillips and Richard Cohen on CNN. Finding a cure for homosexuality?On Tuesday CNN’s Kyra Phillips reported on attempts to repeal a California law requiring state health officials to seek a cure for homosexuality. Sadly there are plenty of absurd laws on the books across the U.S., so its good to know legislators are working to get rid of this one. Phillips’ piece wasn’t really about the law, though. It was a thinly veiled excuse to bring Richard Cohen, discredited spokesman of the so-called “ex-gay” movement, on her show to spout his bullshit.
The notion that Cohen was there to present a counterpoint and bring the story balance is absurd. Bigotry from someone who was expelled from the American Counseling Association for violating it’s ethics standards isn’t a needed alternate opinion, it’s just hate masquerading as therapy. Especially when the segment began with Phillips asking, “Homosexuality — is it a problem in need of a cure?” So why was did this interview happen?

AfterElton.com contacted CNN to ask A) why Phillips would phrase her question in such an offensive way B) why they deemed it necessary to present both “sides” of whether or not gay people can be “cured” when it’s been so widely discredited and C) why they deemed the discredited Cohen — whom they termed a sexual orientation “expert” — as someone qualified to speak about the subject.
Here is CNN’s response:
“By bringing this story to the fore, we engage various advocates from all sides. This story does not end here and CNN will continue to explore other views and positions.”
Because this is a story that was simply demanding to be brought to the fore.

Pam’s House Blend reports that Phillips has a history of promoting the ex-gay argument. You can watch the segment at the previous link, though Cohen doesn’t have much to say that wasn’t covered when Rachel Maddow took on his special brand of homophobia.
GLAAD is calling on folks to contact CNN and tell them not to promote Cohen as an expert while ignoring credible scientific authorities. CNN should promptly respond and set the record straight, which they have so far failed to do. Contact info for CNN can be found here.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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Join the Conversation

  • Comrade Kevin

    CNN is hurting badly for ratings. After being the unquestioned leader in cable news for years, it is now being taken to the cleaners by both Fox News and MSNBC. Earlier in the week Politico discussed this in great detail.
    Expect more of this sort of behavior.

  • cand86

    Ridiculous. Next time there’s a story on race, I’ll expect to see a klansman there. What, CNN? That would be horrible offensive? But the KKK *is* but one of the “advocates” from those “all sides” that you so like to cover.

  • paperispatient

    You know, I’ve noticed that CNN has been, well, sucking lately. I don’t have cable but I read the website sometimes, and they had this article on the “male brain” a few weeks ago that was ridiculously essentialist and basically concluded, “men will be men and stare at your tits, they can’t help it.”

  • bzzxz

    Here’s an older segment from The Daily Show making fun of the ex-gay bullshit:
    Part 1
    Part 2
    In fact, part 2 has Richard Cohen, and Jason Jones just knocks it out of the park.