Friday, October 12, 2007

The infection is still spreading...

No. It can't be. Not Al Cross. Not my favorite state political analyst!

Yet, I must face the ugly truth: he too, Al Cross, has succumbed to GCS--Gay Controversy Syndrome, the disease that continues to spread uncontrolled throughout the media community. He too is showing symptoms, albeit mild ones (even when Al succumbs to a dread political disease he sounds dispassionate and analytic. What a guy). I personally am hoping he comes through this and experiences a full recovery.

"I'm with Osi on this one," he says, in a comment on my previous post about the disease that is causing more and more state journalists to experience feelings of outrage and disgust over the common campaign practice of pointing out who is supporting the other guy. The catalyst for the outbreak was a press release by the Fletcher campaign that pointed out the support in the gay community for Steve Beshear.

GCS causes otherwise sensible members of the media to have a violent reaction to conservative candidates who point out left-wing special interest support of their liberal opponents. It attacks the center of the brain that controls the political reasoning process that would otherwise make the victim conscious of the fact that, if the tables were turned and a liberal candidate was pointing out right-wing special interest support of a conservative candidate, they would think nothing of it.

Al makes the case with his customary clarity and concision, a sign that, in his case, the disease is still largely in its incubation stage:
An entry in a finance report does not an issue position make. I believe most if not all reluctance to spend time on such a story relates to its relevance and importance, not any bias. Reporters aren't perfect, and no one can be purely objective, but ascribing political or ideological motives to news judgments is usually specious.
See what I mean? You can see the initial symptoms, but he's still incredibly lucid despite his affliction. You can't help but admire the guy.

Al argues that just because the names of gay couples appear on Beshear's campaign finance reports, that does not constitute an official issues position. Which is true as far as it goes. But no one said that it was an official position of the Beshear campaign. The fact is that is a common and acceptable practice for officials in one political campaign to point out individuals who are involved in casino interests, or who are prominent trial lawyers, or who are in the oil and gas industry who were contributing to their opponents campaign. And for them to draw conclusions about where they might be on these issues.

It is done all the time and no one bats an eyelash, but since it is an issue concerning gays, somehow it is considered out of political bounds. One of the symptoms of GCS is the tendency to see gays as a special protected political class, criticism of which elicits violent feelings of outrage and indignation.

He also argues that the reluctance by reporters to spend time on such a story is not an indication of bias--another sign of the progress of the disease. I was not commenting on the reluctance of reporters to to cover the issue; I was commenting on their enthusiasm in expressing their outrage over the Fletcher campaign bringing it up. Pat Crowley was not reluctant about anything. He said, "the Fletcher campaign is hitting a new low in gay bashing."

When, in 2001, now Sen. Perry Clark spoke at the invitation of a militia group, a common right-wing punching bag for the liberal media, he was pilloried in the press, despite the fact that he never himself expressed any official position on the positions espoused by the group. So what is the difference between that and Beshear attending fundraising events sponsored by gays, a prominent left wing presence in state politics? And what would the media have had to say if members of militia groups were holding fundraising events for a politician?

The only difference is that one of these cases makes a conservative look bad and the other makes a liberal look bad. That is the single and only difference.

I'm confident Al would have seen this had his case of GCS not gotten the foothold that it has.

If some of you other Al Cross fans would like, you can join me in a candlelight vigil outside the KET offices during the next taping of "Comment on Kentucky," where together we can sing songs of encouragement for Al to come back to his senses.


Anonymous said...

Martin and Al:
Al is correct when he says that it's a non-story that Beshear took money from gay people. While I agree with Martin that reporters often make inferences about issues based on contributors, I don't think that's fair to either side in the debate.

However, Beshear's campaign took an overt action to recognize two gay men as "MARRIED" in their campaign finance report. As much time and staff resources that go into maintaing contribution and contact information, it should be fairly clear that it was intentionally listed in that fashion. I think that says volumes about Beshear and his staff's take on the gay marriage issue. It's definitely a story. Couple that with the "gay marriage fundraiser" that wasn't listed as such, but obvious from the names on the invitation, and you have a real story. Take a look at if you want to get into the details on the contribution.

Some reporters, like Pat Crowley, have openly admitted that they have a bias agaisnt writing a story. Crowley at least admits his bias. Joe Gerth at the C-J tried to come up with a bizzare legal theory that basically said he shouldn't ask any questions about the issue because Beshear is still running for office and can't make any changes to the state's view of marriage while he's still a private citizen. How's that for journalism?

There's R.G. Dunlop of the C-J, who wrote a story on the issue this morning. He's unfortunately too tied up in his own bias to get even an understandable story in print. At least he was willing to write something rather than hiding behind the "non-issue" curtain.

Martin Cothran said...


The web address you included is too long for the line. Could you split it up and put it in two lines for me? I think it is important to get the facts on the specific issue of the campaign finance form.

Anonymous said...

It is laughable to insinuate that Beshear is promoting Gay Marriage. The only position that can logically be deduced is that it is alright to accept money from gay men and women. Fletcher has had huge contributions from the Gaming Industry including Harrah’s. That does not infer that Fletcher supports Casinos, just loves their money. If accepting money from a gay man requires Beshear to be a supporter of Gay Rights would there not be a similar requirement by Fletcher to support his major source of funding?

There is a continuum of gays issues a politician can support. Full equality and gay marriage could be envisioned at one end and simple protection against job discrimination at the other end. Beshear’s acceptance of money from gay people does not confine him to any particular position on the spectrum. It is interesting to note that all of the front runners in both parties for the Presidential Nominee are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Fletcher also appears somewhere in the middle on most days. He employees several gay people, has gay family members and once supported the right of Universities and Businesses to design competitive benefits packages. That is not only wise business practice as Executive of the Commonwealth and Chief Industrial recruiter it is Biblically correct. To deny someone the right to purchase adequate Health Care can not be defended by the Bible.

It has been said that Fletcher’s campaign is grasping at straws during its final days. It looks as your doing the same. Five posts on this topic that the media has observed is a non-issue to the voters of Kentucky indicates this to be true.

Acknowledging family status should not be such a difficult or controversial task. Even the Whitehouse press release for the Cheney Grand-baby acknowledged both of her parents.