LaBarbera Award: Cliff Kincaid

Timothy Kincaid

January 5th, 2010

Cliff Kincaid is not, to my knowledge, a relative. But he is the editor of Accuracy in Media, a watchdog group that “critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.” What that means is that anything that isn’t presented from the perspective of an ultra-conservative worldview is denounced and “corrected”.

Cliff is not one to mince words. He is bold, he is strong, and at times so extremist that he makes good comedy.

Take, for example, this “un-slanted” description of the Stonewall Riots.

What they did was attack the police when officers conducted a lawful raid.

The police raided the bar because it was operated by the Mafia and illegally serving alcohol. It was a “Mafia-run, Christopher St. bar,” noted the New York Daily News. This information is easily ascertained through a basic Google search.

But Obama and his homosexual backers in and out of the media want to perpetuate the myth that Stonewall is a symbol of an unprovoked police attack on homosexuals, not a symbol of a sleazy lifestyle.

Hmmm. No slant there.

Or consider the bias he observed in the 2004 media coverage over the failed attempt to pass a federal amendment to the US Constitution to bar gay couples from obtaining equal protection under the law:

A supporter of the proposal says, “A two-thirds vote is a difficult margin to achieve in the current Senate on anything even remotely controversial.” But if and when it goes down to defeat, the outcome should be attributed at least in part to a vicious and nasty “outing” campaign against closeted gays in the House and Senate, including members and staffers.

The Washington Post ran a matter-of-fact story about this campaign, never once using the terms “bribery” or “blackmail.”

As the LaBarbera Award is given for the most outrageous, offensive, malevelent, crazy or excessive statement or claim, Cliff’s comedic rants should have long since earned him recognition. Bizarre statements about how gay Republicans (included elected officials) might be “a Democratic Party dirty trick” or that George W. Bush was a pseudo-socialist.

But it is not the wacky or the laughable that has earned Cliff Kincaid our attention. Rather it is a claim that is shocking in both its irrationality and in its callousness.

Cliff has been for months now waging a mostly-ineffective war of smear, accusation, and insinuation on Kevin Jennings, the gay Department of Education official currently being targeted by the right wing. Cliff has been stating the litany of accusations (most proven false) and ranting and wailing when main stream media doesn’t run with his conspiracy theories or claims of guilt by association by association.

But now he has crossed the pale.

Today in an article titled, NAMBLA-gate: The Strange Case of Kevin Jennings, Part One, Cliff concocts a reason why he thinks that no one is giving any attention to his efforts to connect Kevin Jennings to NAMBLA by means of mention of admiration for Harry Hay: too much attention is given to the Anti-Homosexuality bill in Uganda.

But the controversy over Jennings, which had been growing since his appointment in May, has been skillfully deflected by some journalists and commentators who have been attacking the government of Uganda for considering a law that would toughen laws against homosexual behavior that threatens public health and children. “Uganda wants to execute people for being gay,” lesbian commentator Rachel Maddow asserted on her MSNBC program on December 2. She called it the “kill-the-gays bill” and demanded that Christians in the U.S. denounce it.

Jumping on the story, the New York Times has claimed the bill would “impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.”

These claims are flat-out disinformation.

Dr. Scott Lively, who visited Uganda in March of 2009 to encourage efforts to protect traditional family values, says the proposed death penalty in the bill, just one of many provisions, is for “aggravated homosexuality,” which is actually pederasty, pedophilia, homosexual parent/child incest, homosexual abuse of a disabled ward, and knowingly spreading AIDS. Dr. Lively is the author of The Pink Swastika and the president of Abiding Truth Ministries.

You’d think that someone interested in correcting slant and bias would bother to read the bill. Either Cliff Kincaid couldn’t be bothered or he has no regard for accuracy. Yes the death penalty is but one provision but it targets more than he claims. It also sends a “repeat offender”, so broadly defined as to include anyone who has had a relationship with more than one person or who had sex with the same person more than once, to death by hanging.

So yes, the provisions included in this bill would be a death sentence for virtually every gay man or woman were this the law in the Western World.

But not content to broadcast flat lies about the Ugandan bill, Cliff Kincaid makes an arrogant assertion that is staggering in its presumptions and callous disregard for life.

It would appear that the purpose of the orchestrated controversy over the proposed law in Uganda is to divert attention from the real scandal involving Obama Education Department official Kevin Jennings and his praise for the founder of the modern gay rights movement, Harry Hay, a supporter of adult-child sex.

No. Our efforts to stop gay men and women from being slaughtered in Uganda are not in response to Cliff Kincaid’s attacks on Kevin Jennings. Indeed, Box Turtle Bulletin has been following the Uganda situation since before Jennings was appointed or Kincaid’s slur campaign began.

The Jennings stories have no legs because they a weakly constructed weapons in a Culture War and the public, saturated by radical extremism, sees through them. The Uganda story, on the other hand, is a reporting of true evil. And unlike Cliff Kincaid, decent people are less concerned about contrived baseless controversies than they are about an attempt to scapegoat a subset of the population and threaten them with death.

Prup (aka Jim Benton

January 5th, 2010

One thing that has scared me about the Uganda coverage almost every place but here has been the over-emphasis on the death penalty. Even if you argue that this is the ‘worst’ part of the bill — and death penalty opponents such as myself have long argued that life imprisonment — without parole — is as severe a punishment as death — for an individual, I get worried that the Ugandan/American forces will ‘retreat’ from this and everyone — except you and those close to you — will cheer, pat themselves on the back, and figure the fight is over.

In fact, for a society/polity, there are even worse features in the bill. The ‘extraterritoriality’ provisions, which would, apparently, allow Ugandan officials to seize, detain, transfer, and try a gay Ugandan who has left the country and even abandoned his citizenship;

The provision punsihing a landlord for renting to an LGBT person — which requires landlords to show constant vigilance, to observe and even violate the privacy of anyone they rent to — not just ‘obvious gays’ but any tenants, because who knows what they might be up to ‘behind closed doors’;

The punishment against ‘advocacy’ whish — afaik — has no ‘Parliamentary immunity’ and could, therefore, be used against any MoP introducing a law repealing it — and certainly could be used against any political group or newspaper supporting such a repeal;

And, worst of all, the penalties for friends and family members, including parents, failing to report gays.

It is not just that these are reminiscent of the worst examples of Totalitarian regimes of the Thirties, but the fact that those regimes had none of the technological innovations that are available to enforce tham that exist today. Even a handful of public trials on each of these provisions would scare all Ugandans into taking precautions against putting themselves at risk.

So please make sure that, were the ‘death penalty’ provision to be removed, that Western activists would not retire from the fray, imagining themselves to have ‘triumphed.’

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