As many of you have probably seen by now, today GLAAD (along with our friend Jeremy Hooper from Good As You) officially launched our Commentator Accountability Project. As we wrote on the website Mediaite this morning:
GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project is designed to shine a big, bright light on the extreme views of the vast majority of prominent anti-LGBT talkers. Bizarre allusions to Nazi Germany. Frequent accusations of satanic influence. Apocalyptic predictions for a world in which LGBT citizens are treated equally. Vile claims that the AIDS epidemic is God’s judgment. Dehumanizing comparisons of loving same-sex relationships to crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, or “jumping off a 10-story building.”
Almost immediately we've seen positive responses from many of our constitutents and members of the LGBT media. including influential bloggers. We also got a thank-you from Matt Barber.
...wait, that Matt Barber?
(Okay, so it's not the most sincere thank-you I've ever seen.)
Yes Matt, vous are indeed among the anti-gay activists whose profiles are included in the launch. But no. We are not seeking 2 silence you.
Again, to quote our Mediaite piece:
Please note here that “accountability” does not necessarily mean keeping these people out of the media. But if a reporter is interviewing someone who insinuates that his or her political opponent is controlled by the devil, it’s the reporter’s journalistic responsibility to put that person’s opinion in perspective.
While Matt and others would love to claim that we are trying to "silence" them, what we're actually doing is almost the exact opposite. This project is aimed at taking Matt's own words, and making the journalists and reporters who go to him for quotes about LGBT issues aware of the animus at the root of his positions. Like the fact that he routinely uses words like "purveyors of evil" or "satanic" to refer to his political opponents. Or the fact that he says Ellen DeGeneres "guides her many adoring housewife fans into rebellion against God's divine and explicit natural order."
If the mere awareness of your views results in you being "silenced" by the media, then sorry but that's on you, Matt.
We're not telling the media who to talk to and who not to talk to. We're giving them critical context for the people they're already booking. What they do with that information is up to them. But as it stands right now, most mainstream media audiences simply aren't getting the full story behind the voices that oppose the LGBT community, or the cultural context in which that opposition needs to be taken.
Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from the consequences of speech. Matt Barber has every right to claim that his opponents are satanic. And our community has every right to let the media know about this speech if they’re planning to give his and other anti-LGBT voices a platform.