Media Matters, a Washington D. C.-based media watchdog group has announced it is launching a new effort to combat the increasingly strident offense against LGBT equality rights by right wing conservative organizations and conservative run media outlets such as Fox News and pundits such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
Former presidential adviser Richard Socarides, a key former domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, was selected to head the new “communications war room for gay equality.”
Also announced was that Kerry Eleveld, veteran Washington journalist and Senior White House correspondent for The Advocate, will leave the magazine next month to take over as Editor-In-Chief of the website, equalitymatters.org.
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In an interview in the Sunday edition of The New York Times, Mr. Socarides, who has been highly critical of President Barack Obama’s record on LGBT equality rights, said:
“Yesterday was a very important breakthrough and President Obama’s comments, especially following the vote, were very significant, where he for the first time connected race and gender to sexual orientation under the banner of civil rights.
But we will celebrate this important victory for five minutes, and then we have to move on, because we are the last group of Americans who are discriminated against in federal law and there is a lot of work to do.”
Socarides and the founder of Media Matters, David Brock, said they began planning Equality Matters several months ago, according to The New York Times. They quickly persuaded Eleveld, who covered the Obama campaign and has covered Washington for the last two years, to join them.
“I’ve spent the past two years with a front-row seat to history, and the longer I sat there the more I felt drawn to participating,” said Eleveld.
“David Brock, a former conservative journalist who is gay — and who broke with the right in the 1990s — has lately been expanding the Media Matters organization,” the Times reports. “He said in an interview that he had raised $23 million in the last year for the group, which has an operating budget of $13 million. His backers include George Soros, the liberal donor; the Hollywood producer Steve Bing; and gay philanthropists like James Hormel, an ambassador to Luxembourg under Mr. Clinton.”
“Equality Matters,” Brock said, “should “expose right-wing bigotry and homophobia wherever we find it” and “stiffen the spines of progressives,” Brock told the Times. That, he said, did not change with the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He said Equality Matters was planned long before anyone in Washington had an inkling that repeal might actually succeed.
“We believe the big battle is full equality, which is gay marriage,” he said.