NEW YORK: The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
appears to have chosen its next target for likely protest: ABC news
The two entrenched sides are scheduled to meet tomorrow for a last-ditch
effort at a truce.
For five nights in late September, Nightline will air a miniseries
examining gay and lesbian lives. GLAAD helped producers find interview
subjects, including residents at a gay retirement center. However, the
advocacy group was angered by Nightline's choice in program title: "A
Matter of Choice?"
Via Internet, GLAAD has informed its constituency how to contact
Nightline to complain about the title. Cathy Renna, GLAAD's news media
director, said the title is a misrepresentation of the nature of sexual
orientation and a perpetuation of a dangerous stereotype.
"It's especially irritating because the series stands to be a piece of
groundbreaking journalism - just the kind of stuff the news media should
be covering when it comes to our community and our issues," said
Tom Bettag, Nightline executive producer, responded to criticism by
posting a statement on the program's Web site. His message is that it is
the job of a journalist to ask unpleasant questions, and that the issue
of choice was woven throughout the series and is therefore not
Bettag said that he and ABC's PR team have responded to phone calls not
only from gays and lesbians, but also from members of the Christian
right who were pressuring the network to portray gays as "evil."
"One of the reasons why people have not covered this subject very much -
and this is no excuse - is when you go into this area, you can please
none of the people none of the time," said Bettag. "Between now and when
this goes on air, we will be inundated by people on all sides. But if
you don't like that, you shouldn't be in journalism. It's not our job to
tell people what they want to hear."