1 response

  1. Michael
    October 16, 2013

    Two of the items above have been posted and reposted on BTB a number of times. Rather than repeated postings of the same items, I’d like to suggest that BTB do some new posts analyzing or updating the originals.

    First, the post about Larry Speakes and AIDS is arguably misleading. I remember the first time I read this post on BTB several years ago. I was so horrified by it, I had to learn more about what happened and what the reaction was, so I did some internet research on this. The unnamed reporter in that exchange was not a real journalist but some sort of conspiracy nut who, for some reason, was able to get into White House press room. I think he might have been affiliated with a Lyndon LaRouche publication and thus qualified as a reporter, but I don’t remember the specifics.

    In any event, he was sort of wacko and he would always ask bizarre questions of Speakes. So when he asked about AIDS, Speakes tried to blow him off. The reporters in the room knew the questioner was a nut, so they were laughing at the whole thing. On the transcript, it certainly does seem like they were joking about and laughing at AIDS, but I think they were actually laughing at the antigay conspiracy nut.

    I think BTB should do a follow up on this post, setting out the full context and if possible, finding out if Speakes ever clarified what happened. Speakes is still around, and I think it would be interesting if someone from BTB picked up the phone and called him and asked him about it. Also, please either fix the link in the above post or explain it. The link takes you to a security consulting company website, which has no apparent connection with the post.

    Second, with respect to NGLTF. BTB should do a big piece on NGLTF. There is a real story here about what has happened to a once important and active group.

    This used to be the most active grassroots gay organization in the US, even though it operated on a shoestring budget. Today, it’s budget is huge. It pays its executive director around $250,000, approximately what HRC (a much larger organization) pays its executive. But although it sucks up a lot of cash, it doesn’t seem to do much of anything. It holds a big conference each year. It issues press releases celebrating this or that victory or denouncing this or that defeat, events with which it had no direct involvement. And it issues occasional “reports” which, as advocacy research, have had zero impact on any policy change. I recently read a book by Alexander Nicholson, the entire focus of which is the story of the 2010 repeal of DADT. Several hundred pages of insider accounts of who did what, the good, the bad and the ugly. NGLTF did nothing. They weren’t even worth mentioning and don’t appear in the index. This is a group that was created to work on federal policy and they are absent from one of the most significant efforts to change federal policy in our community’s history. There is a real story here and no one has covered it. You should.

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