GLAA criticizes unanswered homophobia in WUSA report
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
August 3, 2001
Mr. Dave Roberts
4100 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016
Dear Mr. Roberts:
On Wednesday evening, August 1, at approximately 5:40 p.m., your station carried a segment by your consumer affairs reporter Jan Fox concerning a report issued that day by the Parents Television Council (PTC) criticizing the programs offered by the national networks during the so-called "Family Hour."
Included in this segment was an excerpt from the presentation by PTC President L. Brent Bozell III in which he lumped depictions of homosexual behavior with depictions of crude or violent behavior as examples of objectionable TV fare.
Ms. Fox's segment failed to note that the PTC and Mr. Bozell have long and unabashed records of political and cultural conservatism. The AP news story at least described PTC as a "conservative watchdog group," which is putting it mildly. By failing to point out PTC's bias, you left the impression it was merely an objective group of concerned citizens.
Ms. Fox did note that according to PTC, UPN scored the lowest among the major networks, while CBS rated the best. So while you may not have been anxious to reveal PTC's political coloration, it was still your journalistic duty.
We especially object to your letting Mr. Bozell's slander against the gay and lesbian community go unanswered. It would have been even better just not to have included that portion of his remarks, since it was such an obvious and gratuitous homophobic slur. But if you decided that his smear was central to the story, you had a responsibility to let someone else rebut it.
We believe a public, on-the-air apology would be in order.
Thank you for your attention. We look forward to your prompt reply.
Robert J. Summersgill
cc: Romaine Patterson, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation