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MSNBC Becomes Platform For Anti-Gay Hate Group’s Lies (Video)

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In a stunning choice Wednesday morning, MSNBC invited a spokesperson for an anti-gay hate group to opine on the anti-gay “religious freedom” laws sweeping the nation. Watch how she lies about verifiable facts – without any response from the MSNBC anchor.

Note: Sandy Rios segment begins at about the 3:45 mark.

It’s not uncommon for Fox News to invite members of anti-gay hate groups, radical religious right pastors, preachers, and politicians onto its shows, and to offer them unfettered access to spew hate and lies. That’s just how Fox News works.

But MSNBC, after years of pushback by LGBT activists, the LGBT media, and LGBT organizations has wisely not called upon the Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischers to offer opinion or debate issues like marriage and family and discrimination with any regularity for quite some time now.

Until today.

During “News Nation” with anchor Tamron Hall, MSNBC gave a wide platform to Sandy Rios, a spokesperson for the certified anti-gay hate group American Family Association. 

Rios, who is also a Fox News contributor and hosts a radio show on the American Family Association’s Radio Network, is well know to many LGBT activists, and her animus and hate is well documented by both Right Wing Watch and GLAAD.

Via GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project, some background on Sandy Rios:

“When homosexual men get together, they don’t look for activities to enjoy common interests, they look for activities to find and expedite sex,” she once said.

Equated the love shared by two men to the “love” that kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro had for the young women he kept captive as slaves; when confronted, doubled down

When Supreme Court overturned criminal bans on gay sex, Rios described it as a “sad moment in American history;” said it was “an immoral act” on par with “the Dred Scott decision declaring slaves two-thirds persons

MSNBC did not mention any of this, other than identifying Rios as the Director of Governmental Affairs for the American Family Association.

During the lengthy debate with Human Rights Campaign’s Jason Rahlan over Indiana and Arkansas’ anti-gay “religious freedom” legislation, Rios played extremely quick and loose with facts. In fact, she lied.

Here’s how Rios described the case of Washington state florist Baronelle Stutzman, who just lost her discrimination case over her refusal to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.

“Barronelle Stutzman, 71-years old, a grandmother, who owns a floral shop in Oregon, inherited from her mother, who has gay employees, serves gay people all the time. A gay couple came to her, asked her to do her artistry for their wedding, she said, ‘I can’t do that. I don’t agree with gay marriage.'”

“They’re trying to take Baronelle’s homes, they’re coming after her trying to take her business and by they, I mean the government in Washington State,” Rios falsely claimed.

“Because she doesn’t have a right, as a 72-year old grandmother, to say, ‘No, I love you, you’re my customer, but I don’t agree with gay marriage and I just can’t give you my artistry.”

Later, HRC’s Rahlan responded. “At the end of the day there is no religious freedom crisis in America the only crisis is a rising wave of anti-LGBT legislation.”

So Rios claimed:

“Ask Baronelle Stutzmann, who’s losing her house. Ask the young bakers who lost their business and have five little children to support and have like multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines because they wouldn’t do a cake for a gay wedding.”

So, what’s the actual truth?

Stutzman has been fined a total of $1001 and ordered to obey the law in Washington, like everyone else, and not discriminate.

But Rios claims the state is trying to punish her by confiscating her homes and business.

And no one, not Tamron Hall, not HRC’s Jason Rahlan, pushed back. She was allowed to lie.

Rios also claimed, again, falsely, that, “The same thing happened to a young couple, Aaron and Melissa Klein, who had a cake shop.”

She is of course referring to Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. After they refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, they chose to close their storefront store and do business online, presumably to avoid Oregon’s nondiscrimination laws.

“So now they’ve been fined, hundreds of thousands of dollars, they have five small children, they’ve had to give up the business – this is the part of the story that people are not hearing.”

What’s the real truth?

The case has been argued and the Kleins have been found guilty, but no fine has been set whatsoever. It could go as high as $150,000, but again, no fine or final judgment has been set.

Yet Rios claims, “they’ve been fined, hundreds of thousands of dollars,” and “they’ve had to give up the business.”

Neither HRC nor MSNBC pushed back, they just allowed false statements to be accepted as truth.

Rios also engaged in this debate with Rahlan, after he mentioned Apple CEO Tim Cook, NIKE’s CEO and President, NASCAR, the NCAA, Angie’s List, and others who all oppose Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

RIOS: “They don’t know the whole story, Jason.”

RAHLAN: “They’re pretty smart people Sandy, I think they do. They know the whole story.”

RIOS: “No I don’t think they’re pretty smart at all.”

RAHLAN: “You don’t think the CEO of Apple is smart?”

RIOS: “You know if he were smart why is he doing business with countries where they are actually executing homosexuals?”

RAHLAN: “What about the NCAA?”

RIOS: “The NCAA watches, they watch the media! They watch the ridiculous exaggeration.”

There’s a great deal more, but bottom line, MSNBC should never have hosted a spokesperson for an anti-gay hate group, should at least have been better prepared, and should have properly identified Rios as a member of a hate group.

This was, in short, journalistic malpractice and MSNBC needs to apologize and correct the record.

Some reactions via Twitter:

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Christian Right Facing ‘Credibility’ Issues — Just as They Try to Force Their Will on Everyone Else: Analyst

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On Tuesday, writing for MSNBC’s ReidOutBlog, Ja’han Jones outlined how the Christian Right is facing renewed moral scrutiny and a crisis of “credibility” — at exactly the moment they have captured the Supreme Court and have begun striking down rights and protections they have long declared to be counter to moral society.

Specifically, he argued, the latest rash of sex abuse allegations against conservative Christian institutions puts their moral authority on the line.

The Catholic Church has long faced criticism for overlooking and shielding priests accused of molesting children — but now, noted Jones, other denominations are coming under scrutiny for similar alleged misconduct.

“First, there’s the scandal still unfolding at Agapè Boarding School, a Christian facility for young men in Missouri that’s facing a slew of child abuse allegations. Agapè pitches guardians on its ability to ‘biblically teach your child the importance of submission to authority and the joys of being an obedient law-abiding citizen,'” wrote Jones. “The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been investigating Agapè for systemic child abuse for more than a year now. On Monday, The Daily Beast reported new details about several students who have filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually abused and beaten by workers at the school.”

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“That alleged culture of abuse sounds similar to the one victims say was fostered by the Southern Baptist Convention, an ultraconservative denomination of Christian nationalists,” wrote Jones. “In May, church leaders released a report showing hundreds of pastors and church workers have been accused of sexual abuse. The SBC, which is in ideological lockstep with the conservative movement, has since released the names of pastors it says were accused between 2000 and 2019. When the news dropped, SBC President Ed Litton said in a statement there ‘are not adequate words to express my sorrow at the things revealed in this report,’ and that Southern Baptists ‘must resolve to change our culture and implement desperately needed reforms.'”

All of this, he noted, comes as many right-wing Christian organizations are claiming that their hate speech and discrimination against LGBTQ people is in the name of “defending children.” And this is “an impossible sell when the worlds they operate appear even more broken than the one they want to ‘fix.'”

You can read more here.

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CRIME

Highland Park Shooting Deaths Include Both Parents of Two Year Old Found at Scene of July 4th Massacre

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On Twitter Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of the July 4th Highland Park mass shooting a photo of a young boy appeared in several tweets. He was described as lost, good samaritans assumed he had become separated from his parents in the mayhem of the massacre, and people were trying to reunite him with his family.

CBS Chicago reporter Marissa Parra now reveals the boy’s name is Aiden, but he won’t be reunited with his parents: both were shot dead by the Highland Park gunman.

“Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people [who] were killed during the mass shooting,” CBS Chicago reports.

“We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family,” reads the story on a GoFundMe page hoping to raise money for Aiden.

“Sadly, I need to share his name…Aiden McCarthy. And he needs more of our help,” it adds. “At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” it adds. “Aiden will be cared for by his loving grandparents, Misha and Nina Levberg, and he will have a long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan. He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love, and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows.”

About $475,000 has quickly been raised with more than 7600 people contributing. The top donation is $5000.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Invasion’: Texas Lt. Gov. Likens Border Crossings to Attack on Pearl Harbor – ‘These People Are a Danger to America’

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Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, a far-right Republican, is comparing migrants crossing the border into Texas to Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 2335 people. He is calling it an “invasion” and says that gives the state the right to “put hands on people.”

Patrick, who because of Texas’ unique structure is more powerful than the governor, told Fox News on Tuesday, “we are being invaded, and if we’re being invaded under the constitution I think that gives us the power to put hands on people and send them back. Put hands on people and send them back,” he said repeatedly.

“These people are a danger to America,” Patrick said in a rant. It was unclear if he was referring to migrants or President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The Lt. Governor, who has hawked the racist “great replacement theoryrepeatedly, and used the term “invasionrepeatedly, told Fox News that Texas is now spending $4 billion annually on the border, while Texas National Guardsmen and Texas Rangers complain of being called up to serve, having to abandon their regular jobs, for no apparent reason.

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“This is the biggest danger we have, to your family,” Patrick says of the fentanyl crossing the border. “It’s all on Biden,” he claimed.

Last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott drew extensive criticism for using the deaths of more than 50 migrants packed into an 18-wheel tractor-trailer as a political opportunity to attack President Biden. Even some conservatives attacked Abbott for his inhumane remarks..

 

 

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