As evidenced by the accidentally printed AP article yesterday, news media often attempt to write ”balanced” pieces about LGBT issues that ultimately become platforms for homophobic sentiment. Bil Browning calls out the latest example from Indiana, where the local Fox affiliate is trying to create a controversy out of nothing.
Yesterday, Fox 59 ran a story about the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s decision to participate in the city’s LGBT pride parade this weekend. Reporter Heather MacWilliams noted that it’s the first time the police department has taken part in the celebration and quoted a police spokesperson who told her she did not anticipate any controversy. The police might very well have been right, except that MacWilliams went out of her way to include a comment from Ryan McCann, head of Indiana’s most prominent anti-gay organization, the Indiana Family Institute:
But the fact that the officers will be participating while on the clock is troubling some. ”The majority of Hoosiers and probably the majority of folks in Indianapolis if they actually went to the Gay Pride Parade and see the activities that goes on there would be shocked to see our taxpayer dollars going to have our men and women in uniform through the police and fire department march in that kind of a parade,” says Ryan McCann of The Indiana Family Institute.
McCann says our officers are hired to protect and serve, not to endorse an alternative lifestyle.”They don’t sign up for gay pride parades and all that entails with men in police uniforms being howled at by homosexuals.”
Is McCann the only person they could find to represent the “some” who find this non-story “troubling?” Does the top opponent of equality really represent “the majority of Hoosiers?” McCann surely didn’t hesitate to use the opportunity to demonize the LGBT community (“shocked” by the “activities” in “that kind of a parade”) and victimize the police officers.
Still, the LGBT Hoosiers could use the good news, considering a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage got its first legislative approval earlier this year. Now, a simple show of support against violence has been twisted into an unnecessary controversy — not exactly balanced reporting.