No, CNN, homosexuality is NOT a problem in need of a cure

But CNN's journalism deficit disorder is definitely in need of serious treatment.  We all know the sad state of TV journalism in this country.  But there are instances every now and then (ok, there are instances all the time) that point a finger into your eyes and make you go WTF?  So Think Progress reported this morning about CNN's coverage of a bill in the California State Legislature that repeals a 60-year old law requiring health experts to seek a cure to homosexuality.

Titling the section "Homosexuality: Is it a problem in need of a cure?", CNN hosts a "debate" between the sponsor of the repeal bill, California Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthall and self-proclaimed "ex-gay" psychotherapist (I think you can safely leave out the 'therapist' part when you are describing this man) Richard Cohen.  Watch:



So California is trying to do away with the provision of a 60 year old law that basically identifies homosexuals as sick, and we get a mouthful of garbage about the ex-gay crap and child abuse somehow having to do with gays on air with CNN.  Just to jog your memory, Richard Cohen is this guy. Watch Rachel Maddow perform a smackdown on his 'cure the gays' theory.



In the CNN interview, you will notice, Cohen refers to a thing called the American College of Pediatricians, who supposedly put out a statement saying that homosexuality is caused by environmental factors (heh, maybe my sexuality is proof of climate change - your move, Inhofe). Ok so they are not the American Academy of Pediatrics, but it's an innocent enough sounding name, right? I am hard-pressed to link to this propaganda organization's website, but their "Policy Positions" have nothing whatsoever to do with the health of children or youth. The entire section is full of propaganda bashing (and talking about "cures" for) homosexuality and even gay parents, promoting hard, unscientific anti-choice views and protesting the legalization of marijuana. Apparently kids and teens have no problems other than being gay (or worse, having gay parents), being pregnant and smoking a joint. That propaganda arm, Alvin McEwen did some checking and found:
The College has received support and assistance for this project from the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), the Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee, other like-minded organizations, and parents and individuals with a personal perspective on issues related to gender identification and how they impact children.
NARTH is nothing more than a propaganda ministry devoted to pushing the ex-gay myth - the very myth that is still putting American teenagers through unthinkable pain for not being able to accept themselves or being accepted in their families. Richard Cohen is the face of that ex-gay myth and propaganda campaign.

The "College" has a "Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee", full of nuts as well. For example:
Joseph Nicolosi [member of the Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee] is a man who has made it his life's work to peddle the inaccurate notion that homosexuality is a changeable condition. According to the site Truth Wins Out:

Nicolosi is also known for his strange theories, such as encouraging his male clients to drink Gatorade and call friends “dude” to become more masculine. He also believes that “Non-homosexual men who experience defeat and failure may also experience homosexual fantasies or dreams.”
But hey, the "most trusted name in news" can't be bother to do a little research. Just like they didn't bother to check if Richard Cohen had any legitimate claim to expertise on psychotherapy, psychology or any related scientific field.

Yes this is outrageous that CNN would push on its network the ex-gay myth and meme and present it as if it were just as valid as the scientific (and humanitarian) consensus against it.  But it's worse than that.  We have fallen so far down the slippery slope of blurring the line between journalism and talking-head wars that this is allowed to happen.  The real problem is right there.  There aren't two sides to every story.  There aren't two equally valid arguments on every issue - pro and con.  There are real experts and then there are propagandists.  There are facts and propaganda.  There is scientific analysis, and there is fictitious mumbo jumbo.  And the two aren't equally valid.  And the job of a journalist is to investigate, invest time, and find out what is fact and what is propaganda - not present the two next to each other as if they're equally valid.  Right now, CNN is failing terribly at that.

There is journalism, and there is hack jobs.  That is perfectly demonstrated by the two videos above.  The first, the CNN one is a perfect example of a lazy hack job.  The second one, by Rachel Maddow is a profile in journalism.


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