Blurring the line between reporting and advocacy

Monday, January 21, 2013
Russ Jones (

A media watchdog group finds no surprise among those the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has named to its annual list of media award nominees. 

The New Yorker magazine and CNN are among the group's top nominees for the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. According to Matt Philbin, managing editor of the Culture and Media Institute at the Media Research Center, many of the nominees play into the traditional media's pro-"gay" agenda. He also says CNN, a GLAAD corporate partner, earned eight nominations from the advocacy group.

Philbin, Matt (CMI) "Obviously Anderson Cooper is openly gay, and also another anchor -- Don Lemon -- is openly gay and he was awarded the GLAAD Outstanding Citizen Award last year," he points out. "So there's quite a little relationship here between CNN and GLAAD."

MRC reports that GLAAD has appeared in 41 CNN network stories and 43 pieces over the past two years. Philbin finds that statistical information revealing.

"I can't think of too many other instances in which a journalistic endeavor would be essentially in cahoots with a group that's an advocacy group," he comments.

Philbin says it is a serious ethical concern for a media outlet to have such close ties to any advocacy group.

GLAAD states the awards are meant to recognize and honor media for outstanding images of the gay and lesbian community. The winners will be announced March 16 in New York and at ceremonies in April and May in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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