October 28, 2010
By Andy Kelley
New Media Organizer, Courage Campaign
As we reported yesterday, an NBC Texas affiliate, KETK, aired an outrageous and offensive segment yesterday asking viewer to call in and discuss if America’s “acceptance of homosexuality could lead to it’s downfall?” This lead to a public outcry and organizations ranging from the Courage Campaign to GLAAD called for swift and immediate action to be taken.
Today, the station manager at radio station where the Talkback segment originated, issued the following statement (thanks to Joe My God for posting):
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.
Joe also reports that KETK has been responsive to requests from GLAAD that they take action to address this segment. Of those efforts GLAAD released the following statement:
General Manager Dave Tillery has also responded to our request that he appear on-camera to speak on behalf of the station. Dave realizes how important it is that the station acknowledge in front of their viewers what they’ve acknowledged to GLAAD over the phone – that a segment like Wednesday’s has no place on the airwaves of a reputable news organization. Furthermore, Dave plans to acknowledge the potential harm that could be caused by Wednesday’s report and will commit, on behalf of the station, to being more careful in the future. Lastly, KETK is rethinking how they will repackage KTBB Talkback content for future newscasts. KETK General Manager Dave Tillery shared with GLAAD that he will be meeting tomorrow with Paul Gleiser, KTBB’s owner/general manager.
I agree with Joe that this is certainly a step in the right direction for a broadcast which should never have been made. Talkback’s General Manager has done the right thing, and it looks like KETK will be joining them shortly. What remains to be seen is what, if anything, NBC will have to say about the actions taken by their Texas affiliate.