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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


L.A.Times Sows Dissent Among Christians and Republicans

-By Warner Todd Huston

It’s always amusing to see media code words and phrases that seem to say one thing but, upon reflection, end up meaning less than at first thought. Phrases like "sources say" would lead one to imagine whole rafts of insiders are affirming a story's bias when really it is just one disgruntled person as the "source", or words like "many" when it is but a very few are used all the time to inflate the importance of a reporter's bias or justify his story.

The L.A. Times used a classic today in the story titled "Some See 'Pink Purge' in the GOP". Notice the word "some"? What exactly does "some" mean? According to the story "some" seems to be the thought of many Christian Republicans.

Naturally, the story is written as if it were many Republicans who are urging a "pink purge" of gays from the Party. But, upon closer examination, no GOP source is actually quoted as looking for this purge so one is left wondering exactly who the L.A.Times thinks is pushing for it?

The answer to that question is not forthcoming, but we are assured that it is rampant by the Times just the same.

In recent years, the Republican Party aimed to broaden its appeal with a "big-tent" strategy of reaching out to voters who might typically lean Democratic. But now a debate is growing within the GOP about whether the tent has become too big -- by including gays whose political views may conflict with the goals of the party's powerful evangelical conservatives.

Some Christians, who are pivotal to the GOP's get-out-the-vote effort, are charging that gay Republican staffers in Congress may have thwarted their legislative agenda. There even are calls for what some have dubbed a "pink purge" of high-ranking gay Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the administration.

"Some Christians"? Who, L.A.Times, WHO?

The very first quote seems almost to assert the Times' point until one reads the quote more closely and finds it doesn't really mention gays at all.

"The big-tent strategy could ultimately spell doom for the Republican Party," said Tom McClusky, chief lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a Christian advocacy group. "All a big-tent strategy seems to be doing is attracting a bunch of clowns."

The next quote is not even from a Christian Republican but from a gay activist who has created a website attacking them.

"There's a huge schism on the right," said Mike Rogers, a gay-rights activist who runs a blog to combat what he calls hypocrisy among conservative gay politicians. "The fiscal conservatives are furious at the religious conservatives, because they need the moderates for economic policy. But they need the social conservatives to turn out the vote."

What exactly is that quote doing in there in the first place? Isn't it a bit unwise to use an enemy to the GOP as a source for about what is going on IN the GOP?

Then, after spending paragraph after paragraph telling us how intolerant Christian Republicans are, we get the opposite use of "some".

Some social conservatives deny they are interested in removing gay staffers from the party.

So, after many paragraphs of those intolerant Christians we are left saying to ourselves that this "some" must be either a bunch of liars or a very small number in comparison.

Worse, after alluding to his intolerance in the very first quote, now Tom McClusky is seen denying he is interested in this "pink purge" campaign.

"We're not calling for what I've heard referred to as a pink purge," McClusky said. "We're asking that members [of Congress] might want to reflect on who's serving them: Are they representing their boss' interest?"

Again, his denial seems cast in a doubtful light by the many paragraphs before it.

Now, many Washington insiders and Hill watchers know that there has been a list outing gay Republicans and gay Republican staffers floating about the Hill for a long time. The list was actually created by gay activists who are pushing their agenda, but the Times reports the existence of this list without telling the reader form whence it comes.

This week, a list that is said to name gay Republican staffers has been circulated to several Christian and family values groups -- presumably to encourage an outing and purge.

This list's existence could easily be attributed to these Christian Republicans, as far as the story is concerned, since it is mentioned without attribution. There is what seems a weak denial of authorship by McClusky, however. Further, the Times makes the assumption that the purpose of this list is to affect this mythical "pink purge" that they are all a'twitter over. Yet they offer not a scintilla of evidence to prove such merely stating it and moving on.

Then the Times does its own fair share of "outing" by naming several staffers who happen to be gay working for several Republican Senators. Additionally, the Times pulls a John Kerry and again pounces on the fact that vice-president Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian.

Yes, Times, we know that Cheney's daughter is gay. It never has been a secret. And a political hay-making of saying it made John Kerry look like a hectoring fool in the debates a few years ago.

When all is said and done, the Times can find no proof whatsoever that any "pink purge" is underway as all the gays they mention in the GOP are still in place and none of them have been threatened with dismissal. In fact, one former GOP staffer is quoted as saying that the Congressional Republicans are not using "gay" as a negative on a staffer's resume. Eric Johnson says, "But on hiring practices, most of them have been pretty reasonable."

"Pretty reasonable" does NOT sound like a "pink purge" to me.

There is no real proof that gays being "allowed" into the GOP will eliminate the ability of Christians to support the Party. It seems more like the Times' wishful thinking as no real proof but the vague notions contained in the story is presented.

One quote is dead on, however. Republican National Committee Press Secretary Tracey Schmitt was quoted as saying: "Our core supporters understand that a Congress led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would be devoid of a values agenda. They are mobilized and committed to electing Republicans on Nov. 7."

Christian Republicans certainly realize that a vote against the GOP or even one withheld is a vote for Democrats, the Party that is anti-family values most directly, and that not supporting the GOP is a blow to Christian's agenda all the way down the line.

But, in the end, the Times gives us a story with no story to it. The Times' "pink purge" seems more like "pink pishtosh".

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