Accuracy in Media

      John Stossel is the correspondent for ABC News who was thought to be a conservative. He attacked big government and radical environmentalists. For that, he came under vicious attack from the left. Recently, they scored a hit when Stossel admitted he had misrepresented some data about organic food. It was a minor mistake, but they had him on the run. Some of the left were calling for his head. His job may have been hanging in the balance.

      Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Stossel has probably saved his job, and undoubtedly pleased his employer, Disney, by doing a “Give me a break” story on ABC’s 20/20 about ex-gays. Because of his seeming conservative bent, one would think that Stossel would be promoting the stories of those who have escaped the homosexual lifestyle. Instead, Stossel tried to discredit them. Disney, a company that gives special benefits to gay employees, had to be pleased with Stossel’s change of heart. Conservatives are tremendously disappointed.

      Stossel’s report aired on 20/20 on March 2nd. He said, “Give me a break” to the claim that homosexuals could leave that lifestyle, even though he interviewed several homosexuals who did indeed change. On the other hand, he also interviewed several who said they couldn’t change. Fair enough. But it was Stossel’s attempt to discredit the ex-gays that was unfair. He focused on one ex-gay who got caught in a gay bar and lied about it.

      The ex-gay group, Exodus International, says that thousands of homosexuals have left the lifestyle. Somehow, Stossel found fault with this claim, as if Exodus should have computer printouts of all ex-homosexuals. Here’s how Stossel handled it: “Though Exodus says thousands have successfully changed, they keep no records. It’s impossible to keep track.” In an interview with an ex-gay from Exodus, Stossel alleged there was “thin evidence” for the claim that thousands had left the lifestyle. Stossel said the group may be “leading people on” and “trying to fool people.”

      At the end of the segment, after showing an Exodus commercial with ex-gays saying they are “living proof” of how gays can leave the lifestyle, Stossel once again sounded the refrain, “Give me a break,” as if it were all lies. But what was there to question? Host Barbara Walters asked Stossel if he had contacted those ex-gays in the ad to see if they were still straight. “They say they’re still straight,” he said. So “Give me a break” doesn’t apply here. And other than finding Exodus guilty of being unwilling or unable to name and identify every ex-gay in the United States, Stossel’s story actually confirmed that gays can become straight and live normal lives. Of course, he didn’t want to put it that way.

      The reason is undoubtedly that if Stossel had done a story about the successful lives of ex-gays, Disney would have used that as an excuse to get rid of him. The left-wing attack on Stossel would have accelerated. He would not have survived. We understand that the forces of political correctness are extremely strong, especially in the media business. But we didn’t think that Stossel would bow down before them. He’s lost his credibility.




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