Guest Blogger

Scorecard of Mehlman mentions: Fox News 2, HRC & NGLTF 0

Filed By Guest Blogger | September 01, 2010 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media, Politics
Tags: coming out of the closet, Fox News, gay media, HRC, issuing a statement, Ken Mehlman, Michael Petrelis, NGLTF, The Task Force

Editors' Note: From San Francisco, Guest blogger and advocate Michael Petrelis reports stories the mainstream media choose to ignore. Michael has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, CNN, ABC News, and National Public Radio. He has been quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Raw Story, The Chicago Tribune, The New Republic, and Stars & Stripes.

DSCN0065.JPGFacts can expand so quickly on the web, and I sometimes forget to search for the latest information on a given controversy when drafting blog posts, that practically as soon as I publish something, the facts change soon thereafter, forcing me to write follow ups. On my blog the Petrelis Files over the weekend I addressed the big gay news story of last week.

Sadly, while FOX news' coverage of Mehlman's coming out needed an update, HRC and the Task Force's record stayed the same. Here's what I had originally:

Let's chalk it up to Gay Inc again failing to lead, refusing to participate in a public discussion and join with the rest of the community in debating the many ramifications of former Republican Party homo honcho Ken Mehlman stating the obvious and declaring his gayness in the media last week.

No matter how you slice Mehlman smashing his glass closet door finally, it was big news for us gays, many news outlets and the larger American political scene. Well, that ain't the full truth. Mehlman's self-outing was not news of any sort over at the Fox News operation. From an analysis prepared by Think Progress:

[A]fter the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reported that former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman -- who had orchestrated President Bush's gay-bating 2004 re-election campaign -- was coming out as gay, Fox News Channel remained [...] mum and as of this posting has yet to run a single segment on the story.

A Wonk Room review of Critical Mention reveals that CNN mentioned the name "Mehlman" 19 times, MSNBC reported on it 12 times (searches for "gay" and "Ken" produced similar results, with Fox News stuck at 0).

My review of how many times the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (follow the links), the nation's two largest and richest profession political orgs, reveals that neither has mentioned the name "Mehlman" once on their sites, relevant to his gayness.

NGLTF's column The Latest was update on August 20 and pushes action on, yawn, ENDA, which isn't going anywhere. The HRC folks last week kicked, yawn again, the very minor political National Organization for Marriage.

I'm not saying Gay Inc needs to show outing and accountability leadership, as finely displayed by blogger/advocate Mike Rogers in 2004 when he outed Mehlman, but when the political discourse is raging with opinions and facts and some mistruths, all pertaining to the Gay Agenda, yes, I expect the two richest gay political orgs to weigh in on it all.

And Gay Inc could also explain how their resistance to, or support of, or occasionally tolerance of when it suits their Democratic Party allegiances, and now silence over Mehlman, is advancing changes at the federal level. For the millions HRC and NGLTF rake in annually to be our, um, spokespeople, I expect some words to flow from the orgs.

The silence of HRC and NGLTF with Mehlman is more of the same disgusting and harmful non-engagement wired into the DNA of the orgs.

Within two hours of noting what Fox, HRC and NGLTF had in common on this score, I was forced to run another post with additional facts that make things looks even worse for the gay orgs:

So, I'm human and forgot to Google for an update to the Think Progress report on Ken Mehlman-is-gay mentions on the Fox News channel. The latest scoop comes from Mediaite:

This was covered rather extensively by the cable news outlets, save one notable exception - Fox News only covered the story once, during the end of Bret Baier's show Friday evening. However, this contradicts reports in Think Progress and Politico, that incorrectly claimed that Fox News has completely ignored the story. [...]

Update: Johnny Dollar points out that this story was also covered during the GrapeVine segment of Special Report
Update #2: Yahoo's Michael Calderone points out that Bret Baier's mention aired after the Politico and ThinkProgress pieces had been posted, thereby making them correct at the time.

Let the record show that Faux News has twice made passing reference to Mehlman's coming out, and the Human Rights Charade and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Farce equal zero mentions on their lame-ass sites.

And the gay tribal beat goes on . . . La de da de de, la de da de da.

Is it asking too much of our national political groups to have a few things to say about the biggest gay news of last week?


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Remember the good old days, when Executive Directors of major LGBT civil rights orgs actually spoke out against injustice, even when it was being perpetrated by our "friends"? Back when we had leaders who actually led, even when it inconvenienced the politicians?

Unfortunately, it appears those days are long over and that's a pity. It seems like these people are so concerned with upsetting powerful politicians that they aren't speaking out against their failures. I believe we deserve more, but I honestly don't expect to get it from these orgs.

"Sadly, while FOX news' coverage of Mehlman's coming out needed an update, HRC and the Task Force's record stayed the same."

Yes, because neither HRC nor NGLTF is a *news organisation.* They're not obliged to "cover" Mehlman or debate the significance thereof, because that's not why they were created. They're policy and advocacy groups, and even if they do decide to weigh in on the Mehlman issue, they'll have to do so after considerable in-house thinking and processing (they'll probably issue some bland statements at some point). Remember, they've both got many conservative members and their policies are driven by their members. For that matter, they're both conservative orgs.

Nobody, absolutely nobody, could ever accuse me of even remotely liking either org. But...these are both policy-forming orgs - if you want them to debate matters, or even open up a debate on anything, how about demanding that they actually turn over the specious and hollow gay marriage agenda for debate? Or that they debate/discuss why they would uncritically support the fight for ending DADT without any *debate* over the ramifications for the support of U.S imperialism endorsed by people like Dan Choi? I could go on. Shouldn't we be demanding that "our" orgs debate policy instead of asking them to do the work that they were not designed to do (and I would remind us all that neither HRC nor NGLTF can claim to speak for all or even most queers)? Does either HRC or NGLTF have staff reporters? I don't think so (communications offices are NOT reporting wings).

On the other hand, the gay *press* - you know, the entity that was actually created to *report* on and *cover* the Mehlman issue, has been doing that work. And yet, this post makes no mention of that. This is a windmill blowing in a very, very, tiny teacup.

And I won't even go into the issue of how important it is - or isn't - that yet another homophobic, self-loathing conservative gay man has been outed. I think most of us just assume, rightly, that every such person is simply closeted.


Wow Yasmin! I wrote a long response but you really said everything I was going to. While I like HRC and NGLTF more than you, I do understand their roles as advocacy groups. If they care to make comments on the latest person to come out, that's fine. But to criticize for a lack of comment seems misguided. Your point about the gay press actually giving this a lot of attention was particularly precise.

And I was able to find a quote from an HRC spokesperson on Mehlamn by doing a simple google search.

Yasmin, obviously you don't understand HRC and the Task Force's obligation as Coming Out Faeries. Yes, they gave him a rainbow flag, a box of condoms, and a toaster, but they are also responsible for commenting on the coming out of everyone famous. They have shirked their serious, serious duty to help us debate whether Mehlman should have come out... I mean, whether we should approve of him coming out... I mean, how others have been mistreating him since he came out... well, there's some controversial issue here and they should have created one if they couldn't find one! It's their job - that's why we (but not me) are paying them the big bucks.

Isn't Petrelis the guy who promoted the myth that HIV doesn't cause AIDS for almost a decade? I don't believe he has any credibility to comment on anything.

You are correct. This is the same Michael Petrellis who is responsible for quite a few sero-conversions and AIDS deaths due to his 'activism' and spreading of misinformation. The same guy who was sent to jail for harrassing AIDS activists and healthcare officials. The same Michael Petrellis who worked with Act Up San Francisco to get President Mbeki to not allow AIDS drugs into HIV ravaged South Africa.

His crimes against gay people and persons living with HIV are astounding. Almost as astounding as the weird ahistoricism that comes into play when current day gay media gives him a platform. For shame.

AUGUST 27, 2010
"What's important is that Ken has joined the fight and is willing to lend his considerable talent and influence to advance equality. While the past cannot be overlooked, our future is far more important and with more and more people like Ken joining our movement, that future holds great promise."- HRC spokesman Michael Cole