Tim Graham Sews Confusion on NPR and Anti-Gay Pol

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a fellow in Maryland who sent a letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. It was an ugly letter, from a politician with an ugly anti-gay history. The politician, a state legislator (and Baptist minister) who answered to the name of Emmet C.  Burns, had noticed that Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayabedejo was campaigning against a ballot initiative in Maryland aimed at overturning the state’s law allowing for same-sex marriage. He didn’t like that very much. When he wrote that ugly letter, it was to demand that the Ravens owner make Ayabedejo shut up, and not talk about this anymore. As he sat on the state legislature’s committee charged with regulating the Baltimore Ravens, this letter was rather threatening.

Less than a week ago, Ken Shepherd got his wires royally crossed and penned a brief whine about the very little coverage this story was receiving. Shepherd had become so lost in a political persecution fantasy–his view was that the story would be getting lots of coverage if the state legislator had been a Republican, rather than a Democrat–that he never seemed to realize the extent to which this lack of coverage worked so violently against Newsbusters’ central premise of a “liberal press.” An anti-gay state legislator tried to silence a same-sex marriage advocate and the press, for the most part, didn’t care.

A few days went by and National Public Radio did cover the story. Is Newsbusters happy?

No.

Newsbusters is complaining.

NPR interviewed Ayabedejo and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who had written an open letter in response to Burns. That open letter becomes the point of attack today for NB’s Tim Graham, who called it “a profane, nasty open letter” and went on to pout:

“It’s a little bit bizarre that NPR, that alleged beacon of quiet and civil discourse, wouldn’t take exception or even ask Kluwe about his profanity and rudeness.”

Of course, Kluwe was responding to a hate-mongering politician who was trying to throw his weight around and get the owner of the Ravens to stifle the speech of one of his players. It’s hard to argue that a great deal of nastiness, profanity and rudeness isn’t entirely appropriate in such a situation but that’s exactly the case Graham tries to make. In the process, he turns reality on its head in classic Newsbuster fashion:

His [Kluwe’s] first sentence was “I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level.” Kluwe’s one of those intolerant leftists who thinks conservatives should never speak or have a place at the table. No wonder NPR likes him.

So as Graham sees it, Burns, who actually did try to silence someone, isn’t the one who gets this abuse. Instead, Kluwe, for objecting to this effort, is the intolerant fellow who would silence those with whom he disagrees.

Graham also complains that the interview offered “no consideration of conservative questions” (from the questions he lists to demonstrate this, it offered no consideration of any liberal ones, either) and asserts that “one way the ‘mainstream’ media makes the liberal position the ‘mainstream’ is by ignoring the religious, conservative opposition…”[*] That persecution narrative again. The “religious, conservative opposition” in this case is a politician whose hatred of gays led him to blatantly use his position to try to silence someone for the crime of publicly disagreeing over same-sex marriage. Can anyone other than Graham seriously argue we should feel bad that he wasn’t interviewed, as well?

–j.

[*] The press doesn’t have to make “the liberal position the ‘mainstream’”; it already is the mainstream. Polling has shown overwhelming public support for official recognition of same-sex relationships extending back at least 8 years and majority public support for same-sex marriage since May 2011.

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