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TX radio station apologizes for ‘downfall’ segment

with 30 comments

A Texas television station located about an hour west of Louisiana is under fire this week after one of its recent morning show segments asked whether gays and lesbians were to blame for an eventual downfall of modern society.

CLIP: “THIS IS KETK TODAY.” “WILL THE ACCEPTANCE OF HOMOSEXUALITY IN THIS SOCIETY BE THE DOWN FALL OF AMERICA?”

KETK is the NBC affiliate serving East Texas with the slogan “New You Won’t See Anywhere Else.” Gay activists may be thinking that’s a blessing. Every weekday morning the station’s news team partners with a local radio station — KTBB — for a viewer talk-back segment entitled Topic of the Day.

Wednesday’s ‘topic’ has been receiving an unusual amount of attention after the radio host, who appears on camera, asks the viewers and listeners if accepting homosexuality will negatively impact American society.

As the station plays reaction from voicemails left by viewers video footage is aired of President Barak Obama as well as video of same-sex couples exchanging rings in San Francisco. Over these images is a graphic, at the foot of the screen, with text that reads “the fall of America?”

CLIP: “PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS ALREADY APPOINTED MORE OPENLY GAY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS THAN ANY OTHER PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY.”

Internet blogs called the report incredibly unbalanced and some even say the segment was homophobic.

OutQ’s calls to KETK television for comment went unanswered. But late Thursday the owner of KTBB — the radio station involved with the segment — released a statement apologizing. He said the question “Will the acceptance of homosexuality lead to the fall of America?” was “poorly worded at best, and inappropriate altogether at worst.”

Gay media watchdog GLAAD says KETK has agreed to remove the eight-minute piece from its website. Also, openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns was set to appear on the station’s newscasts Friday. Burns received national attention after talking about his own personal struggles with homosexuality during an emotional city council meeting a few weeks ago.

–Joseph Fenity

Written by OutQ News staff

October 29, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Posted in Media

Tagged with , , ,

30 Responses

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  1. Thanks for bringing this to people’s attention.

    News “reporting” has gotten so shoddy. Whether or not media outlets agree with someone’s point of view or the events happening around them, the media is responsible for trying to maintain objectivity. What happened to objectivity in the news? It’s in short supply lately.

    There are far too many shows that consist of pundits spouting their opinions. It’s very narrow, and unprofessional. There should be no left agenda, no right agenda, just reporting. Edward R. Murrow is turning in his grave.

    Also, people need to stop expressing their jackassy, wrong headed comments, only to ‘apologize’ the next day. They aren’t really sorry. Either stick to your opinion or shut up, I say.

    chip

    October 29, 2010 at 1:48 PM

  2. If we are the downfall of America, how come we bring up property values? Basing an entire society’s “downfall” on one class is close minded and ignorant.

    Texas Homeless Network

    October 29, 2010 at 1:52 PM

  3. The KETK report — and especially the poll — is rife with problems. Could anyone imagine if a news organization used negatives stereotypes for any other minority group — African Americans, Latinos, Asians, those of Jewish faith, etc. — and used them to conjure up a poll asking whether that group would bring on the downfall of society? It’s shameful.

    Eric

    October 29, 2010 at 2:04 PM

  4. It always shocks me to hear about small minded segments like the one on KETK. It should not shock or surprise me at all, but living in Austin has sort of sheltered me from a lot of outrageous and blatant attacks from the media. I am glad that the station owner at least had enough sense to apologize.

    Angelique

    October 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM

  5. The piece does seem shockingly unbalanced by any journalistic standard. Haters don’t need prodding from the media to express themselves. Perhaps the station should do something completely unexpected and encourage civility instead.

    Michael Barnes

    October 29, 2010 at 3:38 PM

  6. I listened to this and really was pleasantly surprised that there were callers who were actually supportive of gays. I expected much less.

    corey

    October 29, 2010 at 4:08 PM

  7. Thank you for breaking this story, Joseph. I have noticed that it has gathered steam, which this station rightfully deserves… And not in a good way.

    I believe that this report is clearly unbalanced, and quite frankly, it’s sad that we have these kind of things going on in Texas. Especially when we have people like Joel Burns, Annise Parker, and other politicians and organizations doing so much good for the state in regards to understanding and tolerating homosexuality.

    I love this state and hearing about such a public display of homophobia take place here sickens me.

    Evan C

    October 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM

  8. The station has VERY Bad journalism ethics!

    MK

    October 29, 2010 at 9:45 PM

  9. Legitimization of homosexuality is a sign that the culture has failed. Now that evil is called good and good is called evil, it won’t be long before the end of the Republic.

    yar2010

    October 30, 2010 at 1:40 AM

  10. We have a society filled with greed, poverty, selfishness, hatred…but society will crumble when homosexuals are treated as equal, normal human beings.

    Gene Rayburn

    October 30, 2010 at 3:46 AM

  11. Having spent many summers of my youth in Tyler and the surrounding areas, I can assure you that not all the people think gays are this country’s downfall. I still have friends there, mostly straight, who are quite supportive and opened minded. I’m guessing that the people who spoke out in this clip have never traveled any kind of unfamiliar territory…closed minds lead to ignorance – they must have blissful lives!

    Allan

    October 30, 2010 at 7:31 AM

  12. The more extreme the original statement, the less I tend to take the apology to heart (even if they sound more heartfelt than the usual “I’m sorry if anyone took offense to what I said”). And in this case, the poll question couldn’t have been more skewed, as both the radio station announcer and the anchors seemed to keep laying on reasons viewers should think gay people are leading to the downfall of America, only to ask if this was so. It’s unbelievable that modern-day American news outlets practice this kind of journalism, and their vitriol makes me skeptical of their apology.

    Dave

    October 30, 2010 at 10:17 AM

  13. Good story.. Keep up the great reporting!

    Steve

    October 30, 2010 at 10:23 AM

  14. With the recent spike in publicized gay teen suicides this station should be ashamed for running a report like this.

    Ken

    October 30, 2010 at 11:30 AM

  15. This is typical of small-town rabble-rousing masquerading as “journalism.” It is scape-goating which avoids dealing with the real issues facing America. I am glad to learn that Obama has appointed more openly LGBT officials than any other president. That gives me hope for America, as opposed to these obviously biased so-called “journalists” in Whodathunkit,Texas.

    Bruce

    October 30, 2010 at 11:44 AM

  16. Did you get blood on you when you killed your wife? Nothing like the objectivity of today’s integrity-filled journalism to ‘inspire’ one’s opinion.

    Hendrik

    October 30, 2010 at 2:55 PM

  17. It was ignorant and unprofessional to not have a well thought out discussion on this. Awareness on such an important topic as gay rights should have taken place. That means having a gay rights activist or even someone who may have been bullied on the show as well as those who believe being gay is the end of the world.
    But at least the station apologized.
    What’s worse, to me anyway, is the clear deterioration of creditable journalism. Because it is a small market, chances are, the management and or staff are inexperienced. The producer who decided the topic, made the graphic, and decided on the Obama video is probably 21 years old.
    What’s scarier, larger markets are not that much better. All to save a dime. It’s a shame.
    No wonder people aren’t watching anymore.

    J

    October 30, 2010 at 3:45 PM

  18. Due too the loss of the fairness docturen this kind of reporting is getting more and more extreme. News organization only are moderate by ethics. This is a slippery slope we are on.

    Matt

    October 30, 2010 at 6:38 PM

  19. It is unfortunate that this provocative question was presented to the KETK viewers, especially in light of the recent homophobic incidents occurring all around the country. Given the negative and probably unexpected reaction the television station received, it’s owner was forced to think about the inappropriateness of the question. He admitted the question was poorly worded and inappropriate. Clearly the owner of KETK had to be educated by his audience that the suggestion in the clip was homophobic. Although the owner apologized after the fact, damage had already been done. And that’s not good.

    ps

    October 30, 2010 at 8:22 PM

  20. Good post, Joseph (and a great radio manner too)!

    It’s scary to think what passes for “journalism” these days. I hope this didn’t seem to be a reasonable question to the station’s audience, but never having been to East Texas, I couldn’t say.

    Eric

    October 30, 2010 at 8:37 PM

  21. Honestly, these people are entitled to their bigotry. And I do like my hatred right where I can see it– instead of cloaked in fake apologies and platitudes.

    What these hate-mongers should remember is the true downfall of our society is when we forget about the American values of fairness and equity. One of the most important values of Christianity is about loving thy neighbor and being good to your fellow humans. They perhaps should read a few versus from the bible they’re thumping.

    Tim

    October 30, 2010 at 10:16 PM

  22. Aw, how nice to know that small-town Texas is still spewing hatred over the airwaves and calling it news.

    MG

    October 31, 2010 at 9:49 AM

  23. Wow…just went to their website and listened to the original broadcast. It sounds like none of the callers graduated past their second grade English class. In particular, I love how no one made any attempt to answer the question at hand…”have gays, lesbians, and transgender people enriched our society”…they would prefer to blather about immorality and thump their bible. FIRE! BRIMSTONE! BAH! Closed-minded people make me sick. I find it hard to believe that the station didn’t receive one call from someone who had something constructive to say…surely there’s no bias at that station (rolling eyes). How can people, in this day and age, really think that natural disasters can be attributed to a man loving another man? I’d laugh if it didn’t make me so sad. In nature the most sturdy, resilient populations are those with the highest level of diversity. Instead of trying to oppress our fellow man, why can’t we, as a society, rejoice in the fact that we live in a nation where that diversity can be freely cultivated?

    Elani

    October 31, 2010 at 7:30 PM

  24. This sort of reportage (KETK) sends a message to – those bullying in the schools, legislators who are blocking bills that embody equallity, and closeted homosexuals that are afraid to embrace their true identy – saying you’re doing the right thing. When in fact they are so far in the wrong that it is insulting to collective intellegence.

    The projection of such ignorance should be an embarassment to this stations region and to the network.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention

    JES

    November 1, 2010 at 10:32 AM

  25. Stories like this make religious people seem like they are living in the dark ages trying to convert lead into gold. Any rational and educated human being knows better. It’s this type of demagoguery that prevents progress in our society.

    Mario

    November 1, 2010 at 12:18 PM

  26. Thanks for posting this! I was shocked when I saw this segment posted online. I’m glad they actually acknowledged their wrong, because the Tyler area is controlled by the Green Acres Baptist church. The fall of America is the lack of separation of church and state, not loving couples.

    J.Ryan Jarman

    November 1, 2010 at 4:59 PM

  27. Although I’m not terribly surprised to hear such a headline out of an NBC affiliate in rural Tyler, Texas – it is still nonetheless upsetting. Mr. Fenity, thank you so much for bringing this hatred forefront to the American public. I heard your report on OutQ Radio and was not pleased. I suggest everyone direct their attention to letting the Station General Manager know by contacting KETK as well as its owners CommCorp (which btw went belly up and got bailed out in 2007) now owned/rescued by Silver Point Capital. Also let NBC know to reconsider its affiliate renewal for the next term. Let’s not remain silent for such bigotry. Contact info… KETK: (903) 581-5656, Silver Point: info@silverpointcapital.com and of course the mother ship NBC: feedback@nbcuni.com

    Jon

    November 1, 2010 at 7:44 PM

  28. Bringing this to others attention creates conversations and generates awareness. Over time, hearts and minds will change, but it seems to take too long, because so many people are hurt in many ways every day by hate.

    Darrick Sampson

    November 2, 2010 at 12:51 AM

  29. This story is informative and beneficial as far as bringing light to things that are unjust. It is also, sadly, expected and one in a string of second class lines being drawn. Thank you for your reporting.

    Eric

    November 2, 2010 at 1:21 AM

  30. Hopefully this serves as a lesson on tolerance; a dialogue is necessary and corrective action, ideal.
    Great report!

    Dan

    November 9, 2010 at 12:06 AM


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