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ABC 7 News Buys into Mass Resistance’s Hype

Timothy Kincaid

May 5th, 2008

sorba.jpgThe wacktivist anti-gay group Mass Resistance has been pushing the writing effots of Ryan Sorba, a young political activist. They play host to the first draft of his book, The Born Gay Hoax, and have been trying to raise his profile in the conservative movement.

Until recently they were having little success. This is probably due to the sensationalistic tone and wildly inaccurate statements that Sorba relies on. Few conservatives will argue with a straight face that “Reparative therapy is a proven success” and one can only read the term “pro-sodomy activists” so many times before recognizing that Sorba’s animus far outweighs his scholarly instincts.

Firebrands and kool-aid drinkers will nod their heads along to his proclamations, but most folk will not find him any more readable than they do Mass Resistance’s website. Which is probably why they are the ones who are encouraging his efforts. Kooks tend to attract kooks.

But all that changed last week when a group of lesbians disrupted a talk that Sorba was giving to the Conservative Club at Smith College. Now, having been shouted down, young Ryan has become a bonafide martyr, an example of how badly the evil homosexuals treat good Christians.

Naturally, the less credible of Christian news sources could hardly withhold their glee at reporting this travesty of justice and thrashing of the First Amendment (conveniently forgetting that free speech goes both ways). But more responsible Christian press – and, of course, the secular press – hardly considered this story of rude behavior by some lesbians on a college campus to be newsworthy.

Well, until WJLA, ABC 7, a DC area television outlet, got wind of it. They breathlessly declared

The idea that a person can change their sexual preference is beginning to become a major debate with gay activists because of an upcoming book, “The Born Gay Hoax”.

The Born Gay Hoax is driving debate? Oh yeah. Sure. Except no one has heard of it and no one cares.

If this wasn’t truly pathetic journalism, it would be laughable. But on they go about “militant gay activists hijack[ing] public debate” and ex-gays fearful to give their name lest they be harassed.

The entire article is an embarrasment on the news department at ABC 7, and perhaps even a sad endictment of the quality of “news” that reaches the consumers of press-release based journalism. The station manager would do well to find whichever anti-gay staff member introduced this piece of foolishness into their newsroom and remind them that a reporters job is reporting, not advocacy for religous extremism.

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quo III
May 5th, 2008 | LINK

‘The Born Gay Hoax is driving debate? Oh yeah. Sure. Except no one has heard of it and no one cares.’

It’s always possible that someone is going to hear about this book as a result of this story being posted here.

a. mcewen
May 5th, 2008 | LINK

When does this book come out? From what I understand, Sorba is too busy “lecturing about the upcoming book” than actually publishing it

David Malcolm
May 5th, 2008 | LINK

Why is it the not so bright ones are also often pretty dang good lookin’?

Jody Wheeler
May 5th, 2008 | LINK

Have any of you actually taken a look at his book, available at the link? Cthulhu’s Conch, it’s terrible.

The section where he purports to take apart genetic etiologies for homosexuality? It’s Hammer and Levay — and that’s it. None of the early, foundational research conducted from the 50s forward. Nothing after Hammer.

It’s nothing close to Stein’s Mismeasure of Desire. It doesn’t even rank as a Freshman Psych 101 report.

It’s laughable, and a sign of their desperation, that MassR and the like are touting such poor scholarship as an “expert” on sexual orientation.

Jody Wheeler
May 5th, 2008 | LINK

I should just add, Tim it would take you less than an hour to demolish the book in one of your much vaunted dissections….

:-)

quo III
May 5th, 2008 | LINK

Jody,

The book contains a number of errors, but in fairness it is only a draft. It will be interesting to see whether the errors get corrected.

Bruce Garrett
May 6th, 2008 | LINK

The book contains a number of errors, but in fairness it is only a draft. It will be interesting to see whether the errors get corrected.

How do you correct all the errors in a book that purports to prove that gay people can change if they want to and still end up with a book that proves that gay people can change if they want to?

quo III
May 6th, 2008 | LINK

Bruce,

By errors in Sorba’s book, I mean things like this, from page 14, ‘Kinsey’s study is the
basis for the enduring myth that ten percent of American men engage in sodomy.’

I don’t know that there has ever been such a myth. There has been a myth that 10 per cent of American men are homosexual, and this may be what Sorba means, although in real life being homosexual and engaging in sodomy are not necessarily the same thing. Kinsey in fact made neither of these claims.

And this, from page 16: ‘Each and every one of these social problems is
a direct consequence of embracing the “pansexual” “anything goes” attitude of sexual license popularized by Kinsey.’ The social problems mentioned include violent crime and declining SAT scores, which surely have numerous complex causes, and thus cannot be blamed simply on Americans’ attitudes toward sex.

And this, from page 18: ‘Following the Stonewall riots, the Mattachine Action Committee of the Mattachine Society’s New York chapter clamored for “organized resistance.” However, control of the movement was
taken out of their hands by a still more radical group of activists, the “Gay Liberation Front” (GLF), so titled “because it had the same ring as National Liberation Front, the alliance formed by the Viet Cong.” At the heart of this new circle of power was Herbert Marcuse, a long time Socialist who had learned his politics (and perhaps sodomy) in pre‐Nazi Germany.’

This is an especially funny error. I am not aware that Herbert Marcuse was ever involved in any way with the Gay Liberation Front, and there is no evidence that he was anything other than heterosexual.

And this, from page 27: ‘Indeed, LeVay’s study was part of a massive public relations campaign designed to convince the public to believe that individuals are “born gay.”’ The study might have been used by some people that way, but LeVay himself did not claim that his study showed that people were born gay; he clearly stated that it didn’t.

And this, from page 37: ‘Pro‐sodomy activists capitalized on multiple pseudo‐scientific studies to mislead the public. The following analyses will expose these illegitimate studies and the men who conducted them, beginning with the three most cited.’ The studies in question may have been flawed or limited in numerous ways, but calling them ‘pseudo-scientific’ and ‘illegitimate’ is a somewhat hysterical over-statement.

Also on page 37, ‘LeVay publicized his study in an effort to convince the world
that same‐sex attractions are fixed, and caused by the size of the hypothalamus in the brain.’ As with what Sorba wrote on page 27, this misrepresents LeVay, who did not insist that the brain area he studied must be responsible for men’s sexual orientation; he acknowledged that this may not be the case. Sorba makes the same misrepresentation on page 38.

And on pages 38 and 39: ‘Third, Simon LeVay himself admitted in 2001 that
the study was inconclusive, “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain.”

This is one of the worst errors; it makes it sound as though LeVay failed to admit something that he should have admitted at the time. I believe however that LeVay made this admission when his study was published, and not, as Sorba makes it sound, many years later.

There may of course be other errors I didn’t notice. I won’t mention the minor errors, spelling mistakes, etc. Sorba is probably right that people aren’t born gay, but this book, in its current state, looks pretty sloppy.

quo III
May 6th, 2008 | LINK

Actually, regarding the dating of that comment by LeVay, the following http://www.narth.com/docs/innate.html makes it seem as though it was made in 1994 – a far cry from 2001.

Raw Replay - Revisiting History
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

[...] part of the gay political agenda has been heavily promoted by conservative groups, which have also seized on the Smith protest as a violation of Sorba’s free [...]

Jody Wheeler
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

Actually quo, my point was about the dearth of scholarship he displays in his chapters. LeVay and Hammer are but two of many researchers who’ve delved into the genetics / inheritance issues.

From your post, it also appears that what little work he has done is also poorly sourced and reported. I laughed as I read your critique.

Sean
May 8th, 2008 | LINK

I’d hate to say this, but I watched the video and I thought that breaking into his speech like that was highly inappropriate. Imagine if someone did that at a speech for a gay activist?

However, I do agree the story is not newsworthy on a national level.

ian
March 8th, 2010 | LINK

Ryan Sorba is way too fixated on homosexuality not to be gay. We have seen characters like this before in American politics and religion: deeply, deeply in denial with respect to his own sexual orientation, self-hating, self-loathing, acting out against those who are more at home with themselves.

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