Media critic asserts gay TV characters skew perspectives; GLAAD slams Bozell's org as 'fringe group'
Media Research Center president Brent Bozell is taking GLAAD to task for its focus on tracking the number of LGBT characters in TV.
In a blog post for TownHall.com, the conservative pundit chides GLAAD for how the org promoted the results of its latest survey on LGBT representation across major broadcast and cable networks. He also chastises GLAAD for reports critical of the lack of LGBT representation on the big screen in major studio releases.
Bozell writes: “In the 2012-13 TV season, GLAAD found a record number of LGBT characters — 4.4 percent, or at least double their actual percentage of the population. Fox was honored for having these characters in 42 percent of their programming hours — although that wasn’t enough for ‘Excellent’ status, merely ‘Good.’ “
Bozell further asserts that television has given Americans a skewed perspective on the proportion of the U.S. population that is homosexual.
“There’s no wonder that a Gallup poll in 2011 found that on average, American adults estimate that 25 percent of Americans are homosexual. They’re getting that crazy idea from TV,” he writes.
GLAAD shot back on Friday, calling the Media Research Center a “fringe group.”
“The so-called ‘Media Research Center’s’ laughable call for more anti-gay views on TV is as ridiculous as it is misleading,” said GLAAD’s Wilson Cruz. “Hollywood’s increase in LGBT characters is an accurate reflection of the American cultural fabric, which no longer accepts this kind of bigotry. Despite this fringe group’s desperate ploy to spread hatred, it’s time they realize they’ve lost touch with a vast majority of Americans, who embrace their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors, family and friends.”
Bozell’s post went on to say that GLAAD wants “children indoctrinated as well” through its focus on LGBT representation on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and other kidvid outlets. Kids “also desperately need the propaganda of gay characters in 42 percent of programming hours,” he writes.
Bozell also slams GLAAD’s tactics as an advocacy org.
“These people are all about tolerance and sensitivity. But if you disagree with them, they will have your head. Ask anyone in Hollywood who’s pro-family,” Bozell writes.
Bozell’s anti-GLAAD missive also took issue with how opposing views are presented in storyline involving gay characters.
“Gay characters never face any real opposition to the gay agenda on these so-called ‘inclusive’ programs, he writes. “There is no measure of Orthodox religious inclusion and no real debates. The victory of the left is assumed without thinking. When a conservative character is created — like Ellen Barkin’s ‘Nana’ in ‘The New Normal’ — it’s a vicious cartoon, the kind that those ‘against defamation’ folks deeply enjoy.”
Bozell, who has long railed against what he sees as the distortions of “liberal media elites, served as president of the Parents Television Council from 1995 to 2006.
The non-profit org Media Matters for America was quick to respond to Bozell’s assertions. In a post Friday morning, Luke Brinker writes, “Even if Bozell is bothered by modest representations of LGBT people in TV and film, media experts note the importance of LGBT characters in shaping popular attitudes. As University of Minnesota communications professor Edward Schiappa told the New York Times in 2012, ‘TV and movie representation matters,’ and while LGBT-inclusive programs won’t necessarily ‘change bigots into saints … they can snowball.’”
GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index was released earlier this month. Fox led the way, with 42% of its primetime programming hours include LGBT characters or storylines in shows such as “Glee” (pictured above). ABC trailed behind at 33% and CBS was dead last with 14%.
ABC Family was the most inclusive cable net — half of its original programming included LGBT impressions — followed by FX at 40%. History and TBS both received failing grades.