CNN came under fire from GLAAD on Friday for posting an online survey asking: “Is the surge in gay TV characters ‘bad for society’?”
Through out the morning and early afternoon, visitors to the CNN.com homepage were greeted with that question, prompted by a recent segment on (CNN-owned cable network) HLN’s “Showbiz Tonight” about the “battle” ensuing as increasing numbers of gay characters “invade primetime television.”
The segment highlights Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) from “Modern Family,” Eric (Connor Paolo) from “Gossip Girl,” and Kurt (Chris Colfer) on “Glee.”
“The fact that a well-respected, major news organization is asking a question like this” is what really hurts society, said [GLAAD]:
Similar to the way the poll refers to the recent increase in gay characters on TV as a “surge” – the report from “Showbiz Tonight” continues with war language saying: “Too gay for TV? A brand new controversial battle is on today as more gay characters invade prime time television.”
The report then goes on to give a troubling amount of airtime to anti-gay activist Dan Gainor from the Culture and Media Institute, who does believe that it’s “bad for society” to offer authentic depictions of the lives of LGBT people. He remarked that, “Hollywood has done a great deal of work causing acceptance in American culture for homosexuality.”
CNN’s offensive poll and its attempts to manufacture controversy by granting a platform to so-called experts like Gainor follows an alarming trend of media outlets creating simplistic, predictable “pro-gay”/”anti-gay” dualisms that do a great disservice to viewers who are seeking information on the diversity of opinion and experience within our community.
According to the Aaron McQuade, GLAAD’s Associate Director of National News, CNN’s Standards and Practices promptly removed the poll after they were contacted by GLAAD.