A radio station has apologized, and a television station has removed from its website a controversial morning news segment in which TV and radio audiences in Tyler, TX were invited to call in and debate the question: “Will the acceptance of homosexuality be the fall of America?”
On Wednesday, while reporting that President Barack Obama has appointed more LGBT officials to his administration that any previous U.S. president, KTBB morning talk-radio host Garth Maier was the first to ask the question of his listeners during his “Talkback” segment, which was later re-aired during the morning news on KETK-TV.
GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, contacted Maier, but he has not yet taken responsibility for the segment. KTBB President Paul Gleiser did offer this apology on the station’s website:
“There are many issues surrounding homosexuality that are fair game for discussion in the media and in opinion journalism. The proper role, if any, for openly gay individuals in the military, the legitimacy of same-sex marriages and the public behavior by some individuals at gay and lesbian events held outdoors in public view are among topics about which reasonable people may disagree. These and other topics surrounding homosexuality are topics that talk radio hosts and opinion journalists may legitimately pose to their respective audiences.
“With that said, the way our Talkback question was posed might be seen as asking, “Do homosexuals, by their very existence, threaten to bring down America?” We believe that such a question, posed in such a manner, is likely to generate more heat than light.
“I understand how those who either heard, or heard about, KTBB’s Talkback question on Wednesday might have been offended. For the offense that was taken, we sincerely apologize.”
Paul L. Gleiser, President
This is not the first time Maier has taken to the airwaves at KETK-TV and KTBB Radio, asking skewed questions to his radio listeners regarding homosexuality.
Last year, when the American Psychological Association (APA) adopted a resolution urging mental health professionals not to tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments, Maier phrased his “Talkback” segment question: “Do You Agree with the APA Decision Saying Homosexuality is Not Abnormal?” Watch:
And when LGBT-inclusive hate crime legislation that eventually became known as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed the House Judiciary Committee in April 2009, Maier told listeners that ministers who preached against homosexuality from the pulpit could be charged with a hate crime if someone heard their sermon and when out and committed a violent crime against gays. Watch:
KETK-TV told GLAAD they are rethinking how they will repackage KTBB Talkback content for future newscasts.