Fox News – and CNN, ESPN, CBS & NBC – Sponsor and Recruit at Biased ‘Gay Journalists’ Convention

AFTAH exclusive: FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, ESPN fund conference where mainstream journalists heard highly partisan, pro-”gay” presentations by Peter LaBarbera

CHICAGO–As it has year after year, Fox News Channel served as a major sponsor of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association (NLGJA), providing a $10,000 grant for its 2014 annual convention, which recently concluded here (August 21-24). The conservative-leaning network also recruited at the homosexual journalists event.

Fox signed on as a “Feature Sponsor” for the convention–which included several one-sided presentations in favor of homosexual and transgender activist goals, and zero speakers advocating against LGBT goals such as the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” I attended a day and a half of the three-day conference, which was held at the swank Palmer House Hilton hotel in the downtown Loop. As in the past, NLGJA organizers allowed me (a critic, and not a homosexual journalist) to attend, but only after paying a “non-member” registration fee ($330/day).

Other media and corporate sponsors of the event included: CNN; CBS; ESPN; Comcast-NBC; Bloomberg; Gannett; Coca-Cola (the largest sponsor at $25,000); JetBlue airlines; Eli Lilly & Co.; Toyota; Nissan and the homosexual lobby organization Human Rights Campaign.

A natural bias?

Proud 'Gay' Christianity? Openly homosexual Lutheran (ELCA) Bishop Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin (far left) and former Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson (second from right) pose for photo following their presentation at the NLGJA convention. Robinson, who gained international fame as the first openly homosexual bishop of a major Christian denomination, criticized Christians who do not wish to participate in homosexual "weddings." Robinson said there is something "profane and sacrilegious" about "religious people arguing for the right to discriminate." No opposing orthodox Christian viewpoint was included on the panel.

What I found at the Chicago conference is what I have observed at every other NLGJA convention I have attended in the last two decades: the natural bias that one would expect from an organization whose members view homosexuality personally and mainly through a “civil rights” prism.

The prevailing viewpoint at the conference–surely shared by most secular media professionals these days–is that “gay, lesbian and transgender” journalists are a legitimate sexual (or gender) “minority,” not unlike racial and ethnic minorities, deserving solicitous attention in newsrooms. That would include allowing LGBT journalists to guide coverage on homosexual-bisexual-transgender stories in culture and politics.

Even the NLGJA panel on religion and “gay rights” was bereft of a traditionalist perspective, while the two openly homosexual speakers—former Episcopal Church bishop V. [Vicky] Gene Robinson and new Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) Bishop Rev. Doctor Guy Erwin—were heralded in the program as leaders of “this next wave of the civil rights movement.”

Both Revs. Robinson and Erwin compared opposition to homosexuality and Christian businessmen’s principled refusal to participate in “gay weddings” to racist bigotry (see below).

Perhaps it is asking too much of “mainstream” journalists who consider homosexuality part of their intrinsic identity (“who they are”) to cover LGBT-related issues impartially. Nevertheless, intellectual diversity and ‘opposing’ viewpoint inclusion—the watchwords of this conference and pro-LGBT advocacy in general—were in short supply at the NLGJA convention. That is a peculiar and glaring deficit for a profession that ideally is supposed to cover “both sides” of controversial issues.

To quote the famous Fox News’ slogan: the NLGJA religious panel was hardly “Fair and Balanced” regarding the controversial question of (pro-) “gay Christianity”: who could argue that openly homosexual bishops advocating for rights based on homosexuality is not a divisive issue?

Note that as opposed to the attendees working in “mainstream” (non-LGBT) media corporations like NPR and CBC, many NLGJA members work in LGBT media, like the Windy City Times for Chicago-area homosexuals–from whom is expected a lower standard of objectivity.

[To read more on the NLGJA’s record of advocacy, FOX News’ financing of the NLGJA and the network’s escalating pro-homosexual coverage, see the PDF of my 2013 in-depth report for America’s Survival, Inc: “Unfair, Unbalanced & Afraid: Fox News’ Growing Pro-Homosexual Bias & the NLGJA.”]

The NLGJA convention also included professional workshops that were unrelated to the homosexual debate—e.g., a panel on the economy and the 2014 election led by even-keeled NPR business editor Marilyn Geewax—and others geared to improving participants’ journalism skills.

NLGJA program lists major sponsors for the conference. Click to enlarge.

As you can see, Fox News was hardly alone as a major media sponsor of the NLGJA and its “Breaking Barriers” convention. The following are media corporate sponsors and their donations to the NLGJA [see the group’s sponsorship levels HERE]:

  • Fox News Channel – $10,000
  • CNN – $10,000
  • ESPN – $10,000
  • CBS News – $5,000
  • Comcast -NBC Universal – $5,000
  • Gannett – $5,000
  • Bloomberg – $5,000
  • Crain Communications Inc. – $5,000
  • Cox Media Group – $2,500
  • The McClatchy Co. – $2,500

The following were the non-media corporate sponsors of the NLGJA convention:

  • Coca-Cola Company – $25,000
  • JetBlue – $20,000 
  • Eli Lilly and Company – $15,000
  • Nissan – $15,000
  • Prudential – $15,000
  • Toyota – $15,000
  • Stolichnaya – $15,000
  • Chevrolet – $10,000
  • Human Rights Campaign (world’s leading homosexual activist organization) – $5,000
  • Astellas – $5,000
  • SAG [Screen Actors Guild] -AFTRA – $5,000

Lastly, the following Journalism schools and foundations were listed as NLGJA sponsors:

  • Knight Foundation – $10,000
  • McCormick Foundation Journalism Program – $5,000

AFTAH will delve more deeply into the NLGJA conference, but the following are some examples of pro-homosexual advocacy and anti-Christian/anti-conservative bias at the event and demonstrated by its presenters:

Religious panel – no attempt at balance:

CNN Kicks in $10,000: Like Fox News Channel, CNN gave $10,000 to the “gay” journalists group. This is an ad in the NLGJA convention program. It reads: “CNN Proudly Supports the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.” Click to enlarge.

The following is the NLGJA convention brochure’s tendentious, pro-LGBT description of the Saturday panel on religion and “gay rights”:

“The church and other religious groups were an essential organizing force when it came to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, yet they have not been as helpful when it has come to LGBT civil rights efforts. Now, as LGBT equality has become more accepted by the mainstream, more churches and synagogues are on board. While there are still strong hold-outs when it comes to equality and inclusiveness, more religious groups are helping to shape this next wave of a civil rights movement.”

On the panel, Rev. Robinson, who gained international fame a decade ago as the first openly homosexual bishop of a major Christian denomination (Episcopalians), criticized Christian small businessmen who refuse to participate in homosexual “weddings” on the basis of their religious liberty. He said there is something “profane and sacrilegious” about “religious people arguing for the right to discriminate.”

Robinson compared discrimination based on homosexuality and “gay marriage”–e.g., Christian wedding cake bakers refusing to bake a wedding cake for homosexuals–to past racism: “This is a very slippery slope and we’ve been there before.” He said such religious-based refusals constitute an “overblown understanding of religious liberty” and are an extension of invidious discrimination against black Americans, like saying, “I don’t want to serve you at a lunch counter because you’re African-American.”

Rev. Doctor Guy Erwin, bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, echoed Robinson’s concerns, saying with regard to Christian non-participation in homosexual “weddings”: “I see this as an assault on pluralism.” He said it “goes against the law of Christianity,” as a manifestation of not loving one’s neighbor as commanded by Jesus Christ in Scripture.

What might have been a lively debate between the Christian Left and a more orthodox perspective on religious liberty and the outworking of Christian faith in the culture did not occur, as there was no forceful defender of the latter worldview on the panel. Moreover, none of the assembled journalists pressed Robinson or Erwin on their comments, which took a very dim view of Christian citizens asserting their freedom under the First Amendment not to participate in homosexual “weddings,” based on their belief that homosexual behavior is sinful and that marriage as ordained by God is an institution solely between one man and one woman.

[To read more on the NLGJA’s record of advocacy, FOX News’ financing of the NLGJA and the network’s escalating pro-homosexual coverage, see the PDF of my 2013 in-depth report for America’s Survival, Inc: “Unfair, Unbalanced & Afraid: Fox News’ Growing Pro-Homosexual Bias & the NLGJA.”]

NEXT ARTICLE: More examples of “advocacy” journalism and anti-social-conservative bias at the NLGJA convention.