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Media more Dangerous than Jerry Falwell

focus on anti-gay comment misses the point

Forum: INCITE! Bay Area
Date: 09/15/2001

I've said this on another list, but I'll say it here also.

After hearing about much publicized comment by Jerry Falwell blaming feminists, gays, etc. for the recent plane crashes, I went to the web site of Christian Broadcasting Network, which airs The 700 Club in which the alleged comment was made. I watched the Sept. 13 show in question, in which Jerry Falwell sure enough made the comment.

But the portion of the program where Falwell and Robertson blamed feminists, gays, lesbians, etc. was much shorter and its direct impact (such as increase in hate crimes) is probably much lower, compared to the rest of the show which spewed anti-Arab and anti- Muslim propaganda repeatedly. For example, Pat Robertson made the comment to the effect that Palestinians who believe the "myth" that they are oppressed are simply uneducated.

Then I realized how much similar the way Christian Broadcasting Network was reporting the events of this week to how mainstream media including ABC, CBS and NBC. Or rather, I was shocked to realize that all mainstream media are reporting the event pretty much in the same way CBN is, except for few bizarre comments by Robertson and Falwell. As far as I am concerned, these mainstream media pose far greater threat to Arabs, Middle-Eastern people and South Asians everywhere than Robertson and Falwell could ever dream of simply due to their greater influence and credibility.

Anti-gay and anti-feminist comments made by Robertson and Falwell are irresponsible and reprehensible, but I doubt that feminists or gays will be murdered as the direct result of Falwell's comment on September 11. Meanwhile, Arabs, Middle-Eastern people and South Asians here and abroad are faced with the realistic threat to their lives, partly due to irresponsible media reporting not just by fringes like Robertson and Falwell, but also by the mainstream media and commentators.

Emi K.

-- * Putting the Emi back in Feminism since 1975.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

NGLTF Responds to Jerry Falwell and Calls for Healing, Not Hate

David Elliot, Communications Director
202-332-6483, ext. 3303
Pager: 800-757-6476

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Lorri L. Jean issued the following statement today in response to Jerry Falwell's assertion that "gays and lesbians," among others, are to blame for the tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C.:

"The terrible tragedy that has befallen our nation, and indeed the entire global community, is the sad byproduct of fanaticism. It has its roots in the same fanaticism that enables people like Jerry Falwell to preach hate against those who do not think, live, or love in the exact same way he does.

"The tragedies that have occurred this week did not occur because someone made God mad, as Mr. Falwell asserts. They occurred because of hate, pure and simple. It is time to move beyond a place of hate and to a place of healing. We hope that Mr. Falwell will apologize to the U.S. and world communities.

"Our hearts go out to the victims of this week's tragedies and their friends and family members. We are thankful to the police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency personnel who are working tirelessly to lead the relief efforts."

A transcript of Mr. Falwell's remarks follows:

"The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this. And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God or successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."