CNN's Chris Cuomo invited Catholic League President Bill Donohue onto his show to actively challenge his extremist statements. The context was discussion of the recently-vetoed Arizona 'license to discriminate" law.
Cuomo has had Donohue on before, and he's quite familiar with his performance tactics: yelling, answering questions with questions, and predicting the most extreme future if LGBT equality exists. Cuomo also knows many of Donohue's arguments. Just to refresh, these are a few things that Donohue has said about LGBT people:
- Equated married equality with Apartheid: "[I]f people don’t realize what we’re up against here, they may be a minority but you know it was a minority of people in South Africa who took away the rights of Black people. You can be a well-organized minority in this country here such as those on the left, gay and straight alike, and have a tremendous amount of influence if you have this lust and appetite for power." (15:15-15:36)
- Despite the existence of gay-affirming faith groups, said: "Every world religion is either opposed to homosexuality or takes no position on it; not one finds it acceptable. So if being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady….How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic?"
- Says God smites faith communities who welcome gay people: "In other words, those religions whose teachings on abortion and marriage approximate the views of the New York Times and NPR are in free fall. Looks like God is truly looking out for those religions that don't treat Scripture as if it were a post-modern text to be deconstructed by left-wing ideologues."
- Said: "Yes, there’s a connection between Irish and alcoholism, and, yes, there’s a connection between homosexuality and sexual abuse of minors."
In yesterday's segment, Donohue contradicted his earlier statements, like those above, by claiming to want to protect the rights of LGBT individuals. However, he then stated that discrimination does not exist against LGBT people.
Donohue needs to read up on the story of Felix Bermea, Roy Messerschmidt, and their four adopted children, who were subjected to harassment, burglary, and threats in their Gilbert, Arizona home. In one instance, an SUV pulled up to the kids as they were riding their bikes. A man jumped out and chased them, carrying what one of them said looked like a gun, while another person stayed in the SUV, driving slowly behind. The police did nothing to help the family, until media attention put public pressure on the city to protect the family. Acts of discrimination like this are common across the country, and anyone who suggests otherwise, whether it is Bill Donohue or Arizona Representative Al Melvin, is wrong.
Cuomo's strategy here is to actively expose and challenge the lies coming from Donohue and hold him accountable for his words. Cuomo uses facts and information to confront Donohue. If they were not challenged publically, Donohue's claims, like those featured in his Commentator Accountability Project profile, would go completely unchecked and be repeated.
Watch the full exchange below, courtesy of Media Matters: