NOM president Brian Brown… says heterosexuals are losing their civil rights.
That was the final sentence in the story. The complete story is here.
UPDATE: There’s a much more detailed, nuanced, and interesting description on the reporter’s blog here. My concerns apply only to the radio story, certainly not the attendant blog entry!
I understand that there is pressure to frame all disagreements in terms of rights violations. But I seriously doubt if Mr. Brown can cite a single actual civil right that is threatened for heterosexuals as a class. Sadly, Leslie did not press him to name one of these rights or, more broadly, to explain or document his claim. Thus we are left with a classic of American journalism: tell both sides of the story, even if one side’s claim is indefensible:
Joe said the earth is round. Jane said it’s actually flat and cut out in the shape of a lovely floral arrangement. This is Mike Smith reporting from Raleigh.
Here’s what I wrote in an email to Leslie:
Dear Ms. Leslie-
On your report today about the National Organization for Marriage rally and the counter-protest in Raleigh, you ended with the statement that “[NOM president Brian] Brown says heterosexuals are losing their civil rights.” As a listener, I wonder why you didn’t ask him to explain this claim. Are there one or more specific civil rights he considers threatened? Serious journalism should require that the journalist evaluate the veracity of what sources say; I believe it is woefully inadequate for you to simply broadcast his claim without subjecting it to any scrutiny whatsoever.
Andrew J. Perrin (WUNC listener and contributor)
H, Andrew. Unfortunately, a one-minute spot isn't sufficient to adequately explore the nuances of both sides of this story. Specifically, Mr. Brown believes that religious groups (in MA and MD) are being forced by the government to accept gays and lesbians against their moral teachings. He also believes that Walker's ruling in the Perry case is tantamount to throwing away the ballots of millions of voters who supported prop 8. He has the right to offer his opinion, which he did over a loudspeaker at today's rally. I doubt many would agree with it. Thanks, Laura