Accuracy in Media

Even in what it put forth as a friendly profile, the Washington Post showed its bias in describing the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The story focuses on lead attorney Kristen Waggoner.

“Two days before the announcement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s retirement, a woman who stood to gain from it was on the steps of the Supreme Court once again.”

How would she gain from Justice Kennedy retiring?

The Alliance Defending Freedom has taken nine cases to the Supreme Court in the last seven years and won them all, according to the piece. A piece on the Alliance Defending Freedom website lauds Justice Kennedy “as a man who both understood and defined our American cultural moment” and pointed to quotes from his rulings that strengthened religious freedom and freedom of speech.

Recent victories for Alliance Defending Freedom include Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the cake-baker case; Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which allowed corporations to stop funding contraceptives for employees out of religious beliefs; and NIFLA v. Becerra, in which the Court overturned a law that required crisis pregnancy centers to advertise the state’s low-cost or free abortion services.

“Opponents say ADF is seeking to enshrine discrimination into law,” wrote the Post’s Jessica Contrera. “But to its supporters, ADF is fighting for the right of Christians to open express their faith – and winning.”

Contrera then attempts to present Alliance Defending Freedom’s thinking.

“To describe these cases is to traffic in loaded language, ADF regularly sues colleges for creating versions of ‘safe spaces’ that it sees as First Amendment violations,” Contrera wrote. “What some people call birth control, ADF calls ‘abortion-inducing drugs’ and argues that the government is forcing those who oppose abortion to provide them. Allowing transgender students into their chosen bathrooms is, to ADF, failing to protect the privacy of the majority of the students.”

The safe spaces Contrera mentions refer to a case in which officials at Paradise Valley Community College in Arizona stopped a woman from setting up a table to hand out copies of the Constitution. 

The remark on transgenders’ use of bathrooms dismisses the concerns of millions of Americans.

That Waggoner smiles constantly also bothers Contrera.

“Waggoner answers all questions about her work, even on the most contentious of issues, with a smile,” Contrera wrote. “Her colleagues say she is always, always smiling. Her incessant pleasantness can come off as strategic, a way of dismantling those trying to paint her as cruel or intolerant. She says joy is just the mark of a person of faith.”

To bolster the case Waggoner should be considered intolerant, Contrera chooses this moment to point out Alliance Defending Freedom is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s rapidly expanding list of hate groups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s website says the organization is on the list not “simply for having biblical objections to homosexuality or for opposing same-sex marriage.”

Rather, it is “a result of ADF’s propagation of known falsehoods about LGBT people over the years … its demonization of LGBT people, its support of criminalization of gay sex in the U.S. and abroad and its continued attempts to create state and local policies and legislation (so-called ‘religious liberty’ laws) that allow Christians to deny goods and services to LGBT people in the public sphere and marginalize LGBT students in schools.”

To drive home the point, the Post has no quotes defending the organization but does have one from David Cole of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Whether they are truly committed to religious freedom, or whether they are using it as a way to package and sell their opposition to homosexuals and abortion, I don’t know,” Cole, who represented the gay couple in the Masterpiece case, said.

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