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Family “Research” Council Repeats Benkof’s Distortions

Jim Burroway

July 2nd, 2008

The Family “Research” Council sent an Action Alert out with this familiar distortion:

Michigan’s largest homosexual activist group says once marriage is legally redefined to include homosexual couples, business owners and even news media outlets that refuse to recognize such marriages should be jailed, or sued and “publicly slapped.”

As we reported earlier, the source of this piece of libel is Benkof’s column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sean Kosofsky complained that his remarks were taken completely out of context and misrepresented to say something which he did not say:

David Benkof is misleading folks about my quote. He selectively removed several minutes of our conversation between statements and did not disclose that. What I said was that if you break a civil law and you do not pay your penalty or you do not follow a judges order that you could indeed be found in contempt of court. When an individual is found in contempt of court a punishment for breaking the law can include jail time. I don’t know of any gay activist prescribing jail time for discrimnination. Although when you violate a court order you should be penalized accordingly.

And when Benkof tried to defend his distortion, Sean was more blunt:

David, it is flat out immoral to do what you did. It is not my responsibility to track you down to correct a lazy, stupid and inflammatory misrepresentation. You should be ashamed of yourself, your journalistic integrity and your misrepresentation of your agenda during our call. The right wing is using your article all over the country to smear my good name because of your sloppiness or outright slant. I did leave a correction at the LA Weekly sight so I did try to correct you. This is horrible of you to do.

We’ve come to expect these sort of tactics from the Family “Research” Council, and we have documented countless instances where they have distorted social science research and other sources. This is their stock and trade, as exposing these distortions is ours.

Now the FRC has found a comfortable bedfellow in David Benkof. They make a good pair, as I frankly am unable to see much of a difference between them in their tactics. Maybe we can soon chalk the FRC’s web site as yet another of those “prestigious” media outlet’s he’s a columnist for.

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MirrorMan
July 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Just to add a little more clarification to Benkof’s “claims”, here is a letter to the editor from the July 2nd, 2008 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Misrepresented

Editor – David Benkof’s “Monogamous same-sex adultery” (June 26), included a misrepresentation of my research on gay groups and monogamy.

The pre-publication version I had seen accurately summarized my research where David had observed that I had “searched ‘marriage equality’ Web sites and found very few positive mentions of monogamy.”

As I stated on my blog in describing the nature of my project gaypatriot.net/2008/06/20, I did word searches at the Web sites of several groups (the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Freedom to Marry, Equality California (EQ CA) and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center) and one individual (Andrew Sullivan), all of whom support “marriage equality.”

My project consisted of plugging the following two-word combinations (without quotation marks), “marriage monogamy,” “marriage monogamous,” “marriage fidelity” and “marriage adultery,” into each site’s search engine and reviewing the pages that came up. I did not do a global search for “marriage equality” as Benkof’s editorial, as published, suggests.

B. DANIEL BLATT

Los Angeles”

Not that this should come as a surprise to anyone, but it just goes to show that any paper that uses his work should think multiple times about publishing. The man just can’t keep his hands off the facts. If they don’t serve his purpose, he distorts them. Evidently he has just had something published in the Star Tribune out of Minneapolis that somehow lumps Bush’s AIDS funding in with Marriage Equality. I can’t wait to see how this reads!

Timothy Kincaid
July 2nd, 2008 | LINK

In his latest missive in some Midwest paper, Benkof actually pretends to be a gay activist. He opens the piece by telling readers he became a gay activist in 1990… but never tells them he no longer shares the values of the gay community.

Sigh.

Benkof’s standard is not to write what is true; he writes what he thinks he can get away with.

He’s just not a very moral man.

zrainswva
July 2nd, 2008 | LINK

He’s more than not a very moral man, he’s a very bad man with no integrity nor humility. Can we vote to put him back in a closet somewhere and close the door?

Rob
July 2nd, 2008 | LINK

It’s all well and good to rant about Mr. Benkof here on Boxturtle, but if you really want to have an effect, contact the papers that cover him, not just with letters to the editor, but to the publisher. Contact the advertisers in the paper and tell them that they are supporting the publication of lies and fabrications. Boycott their products. In short, actually become activists.

Just my 2-cents.

AJD
July 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Rob,

Good point, but letters to the editor are good too because of the risk that readers might actually believe Benkof’s BS.

Rob
July 2nd, 2008 | LINK

AJD;

I agree that letters to the editor help to counter the misleading statement in Benkoff’s articles or columns, or whatever he’s calling them these days. However, publishers and advertisers are much more concerned about backlash that affects their distribution numbers and their bottom lines. The anti-gay movements have used the tactics for years (boycott Ford, boycott Disney, etc., etc.) There is no reason that it can’t work the other way as well.

As much as I’m for free speech, people like Benkof need to learn that it comes with a measure of responsibility and sometimes, with consequences.

B. Daniel Blatt
July 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Thanks for including my letter in its entirety.

To be fair to David (as I said in that letter), he showed me the pre-publication version of his Op-Ed where he accurately summarized my research.

Emily K
July 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Rob, I’ve been contacting several gay papers to warn them of Benkof’s outright disdain for the truth, and for the gay community he claims membership of. Some have gotten back to me, most haven’t. Those who have gotten back to me do not speak highly of Benkof and refuse to publish his work.

Rob
July 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Excellent Emily. I’ve contacted the Canadian (I live in Toronto) gay press as well as most of the national press… things are a little different here, and most of what he writes would be rejected by the press anyway.

As a brief aside on the power of writing, I belonged to a web site that allowed comments, and the phrase “it’s so gay” and calling people “fags” showed up by posters on a regular basis. The moderators would remove anything with a racial tone, but had no problem with anti-gay slurs. I wrote to them several times, nothing happened. Then I started contacting the advertisers on the site and pasting in he comments that were being left, with the question of ” is this what you want your product associated with?” I would then send a copy of the email to the advertiser to the moderators. It was amazing how fast it changed.

My point is that we do have power, and can use that power to actually make a difference.

MirrorMan
July 3rd, 2008 | LINK

To: B. Daniel Blatt
You are most welcome. Unlike Mr. Benkof, I don’t want to be misunderstood, and I will cite full examples of what I am referring to. I do find it odd, however, that you wish to be fair to David, when from his track record it appears he has no interest in returning the favor.

Jim Burroway
July 3rd, 2008 | LINK

To be fair, fairness doesn’t depend on fairness. It just is. ;-)

Being fair isn’t the same as unilateral disarmament. It’s essential to credibility, which is the core problem with what Benkof writes.

MirrorMan
July 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I guess I should have worded that differently. Mea Culpa.
Round two: “I applaud your wish to be fair to Mr. Benkof. If only he understood what that was.”

Better?

Regan DuCasse
July 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Well, seeing the way DB backhanded and flipped our own statements on us, it’s no wonder he would do the same with credible information about gay people that isn’t all negative or fear inducing.

He’s an embarassment to journalism, to gay and straight people who care about the truth. He’s a detriment to helping gay and straight people get along better and he speaks from two faces.

A person of profound emptiness would have to be like that and do what he does. And it’s just plain ugly.
Very.

Protect Marriage Equality » Box Turtle Bulletin: FRC Repeats Benkof’s Distortions
July 3rd, 2008 | LINK

[...] the entire blog entry by Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin. posted by Equality Blogger at 9:40 am filed under Analysis, Strategy, Research, Marriage Equality [...]

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[...] be about a topic, such as President Bush’s record on AIDS, but the real intention was to smear gay people and make the GLBT community look perverse, untrustworthy, selfish and unworthy of basic human [...]

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