Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Media Isn't Helping

Today Reuters reported that talkshow host/comedienne, openly gay Ellen Degeneres, is under attack by the group One Million Moms (OMM, a right-wing conservative organization that is truly to the extreme far right of even the right wing. The group is up in arms that JC Penney would hire Degeneres as the new spokesperson. Never mind that Degeneres is rather mainstream in terms of television, hilariously funny, and reportly unfailingly kind.

But what is really interesting about today's news is that it warranted coverage. Bigotry is not new, and I find it a bit disturbing that Reuters found this worth trumpeting all over the news wires. Not only is it likely embarrassing to Degeneres, but it encourages hate: from the far right because it advertises Degeneres' new connection to JC Penney, and from the far left who will find this all just another reason to bash conservatives. Never mind that many conservatives are not bigots, support gay rights, and in fact are occasionally gay themselves.

With all that is happening in the world, why does Reuters find it appropriate to put its journalistic energy into stirring the pot of controversy? While bigotry is always valid as a point of discussion, I have to question the appropriateness of this venue. It seems designed to do nothing but incite hatred and misunderstanding on both sides. I often wonder if - when we refuse to just stop talking about it and stop listening to it - the fuel that burns the fire of hatred just ... dies.

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