That Gay Debate

Further reflections. Chris Crain writes:

According to the Human Rights Campaign's press release,

For the first time the leading candidates for the presidency will hold a televised debate devoted solely to LGBT issues.

It's not so historic, actually, considering HRC hosted a forum of Democratic presidential candidates on July 15, 2003.

Let's compare them, shall we?

2003 event:

    * 7 of 9 Democratic candidates
    * live gay audience of 500
    * gavel-to-gavel nationwide coverage on CSPAN
    * moderated by ABC News senior correspondent Sam Donaldson, who pressed the candidates on gay marriages vs. civil unions and gays in the military, noting that their positions largely matched otherwise
    * HRC executive director Elizabeth Birch called the event an historic first

2007 event:

    * only 3 of 8 Democratic candidates confirmed
    * live "studio audience"
    * live coverage on Logo and
    * moderated by recording artist Melissa Etheridge and HRC director Joe Solmonese
    * HRC calls the event an historic first

So in 2003, HRC hosted almost all the candidates to a forum in front of a large and Hrcdog boisterous audience and subjected them to one of journalism's most well-known aggressive questioners and broadcast the whole thing on a universally available basic cable channel to an audience of both gay and straight Americans.

This time around, only 3 of 8 candidates will answer questions from non-journalists before a Logo TV audience largely limited, in the cable systems that carry the network, to gay people. Anyone who's heard the Solmonese radio show on XM knows he makes even Larry King look like, well, Sam Donaldson by comparison. But contempt for real media (gay and straight, old and new) is par for the course for HRC under Solmonese, and so is allowing HRC to be co-opted by "gay-friendly" Democrats to avoid upsetting them.

Not only is there now no journalistic presence, the two "questioners" are both indistinguishable left-liberals, one a long-time abortion lobbyist and the other a rich rock star. That's now the range of opinion in the gay world? One civil rights achievement of these past few years has been integrating gay issues seamlessly into the national conversation and raising the presence of openly gay journalists in the national conversation - not as gay but as journalists. But HRC, for their own marketing purposes, host a ghettoized forum with no journalists, their own chief hack and a celebrity. And they're peddling bullshit again about their own "historic achievement". Their only historic achievement is to dumb down and seal off the important national conversation about gay equality.