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Nickelodeon homosexuality show results in leader’s distrust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“Parents can no longer trust this cable network” — Nickelodeon — a leader of the Traditional Values Coalition said after watching a kids’ special on homosexuality on Nickelodeon June 18.

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, said the Nick News special “My Family Is Different” “confirmed my worst fears about this cable network’s efforts to normalize homosexuality for children.”

And more may be on the way from Nickelodeon’s parent corporation, Viacom. A prominent homosexual newspaper, the Washington Blade in the nation’s capital, took note of a TV Guide report via a story in early June headlined, “Gay cable channel could debut within a year.”

Two of Viacom’s subsidiaries, MTV and Showtime, are in “serious discussions” about launching a channel with homosexual fare encompassing news, existing and original programs, talk and music video shows and game shows, the Blade/TV Guide report noted.

CBS and UPN, along with Nickelodeon, are among Viacom’s other subsidiaries.

Among other critics of the Nickelodeon kids’ report on homosexuality was Scott Hogenson, executive editor of CNSNews.com, which is affiliated with the Media Research Center headed by Brent Bozell.

The Nick News special “was not a sensitive presentation on a delicate issue; it was a slick piece of cultural propaganda designed to intimidate kids,” Hogenson wrote June 19.

The 30-minute show on “the nation’s preeminent cable TV channel for children” has opened “a new avenue for advocacy of homosexuality,” Hogenson wrote, noting that it “went to considerable lengths to promote homosexuality and portray even measured, rational disagreement with homosexual behavior as narrow minded and hate-inspired.”

Another of Hogenson’s descriptors for the show: “a liberal catechism for children designed to browbeat the next generation into further paying homage to one of the most destructive behaviors on the face of the earth.”

Children may not have seen the last of the show, according to a Fox News report June 5, which noted that it may be converted into a classroom lesson plan as several other Nick News specials have been.

The show was hosted by Linda Ellerbee and included participation by Rosie O’Donnell, who declared herself as a lesbian earlier this year.

James A. Smith Sr., editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, was, like the Traditional Values Coalition, a skeptic of Nickelodeon’s intentions when news of the show broke this spring.

“In spite of the best spin control of the homosexual lobby, it’s clear that the movement seeks more than mere acceptance and toleration of their deviant lifestyle,” Smith wrote in a column carried by Baptist Press May 22.

“The homosexual lobby demands that you and I be made to endorse and promote their practices and seek every opportunity to cause their lifestyle to be seen as a part of the mainstream of American culture. That’s what the campaign to force the Boy Scouts of America to accept homosexual scouts and leaders is all about, and that’s the agenda of Ellerbee’s ‘Nick News.'”

Among various concerns listed by Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition:

* Ellerbee started the program by stating that many in the Nick News TV audience have homosexual parents. Lafferty noted that Ellerbee “is perpetuating the myth that 10 percent of the population is homosexual and that millions of children are being raised in same-sex households.” According to the 2000 U.S. Census, however, male households with male unmarried partners totaled 301,000 while female households with female unmarried partners totaled 293,365, Fox News reported in its June 5 story about the Nickelodeon special.

* Nickelodeon gave the program a rating for older audiences but advertised it all day long on the kids’ network.

* “Studies indicate that many kids in the Nick target age group are unsure about their sexuality and that those in homosexual homes are more likely to experiment with homosexuality,” Lafferty noted. “By having authority figures like a homosexual fireman, homosexual school principal and Rosie O’Donnell on this show, it legitimized what are very dangerous sexual behaviors.”

* Nickelodeon’s publicists claimed the program would be a balanced discussion of same-sex parenting, but it was totally skewed to the pro-homosexual side, Lafferty said. “Out of the 10 people on the show, only three were vocally opposed to homosexuality. Ellerbee did not invite even one non-homosexual adult on the set to present a clear case against homosexuality. In addition, she allowed the supporters of homosexuality to subtly insult those kids who came at this issue from a Christian perspective by saying they just didn’t know any better because of their upbringing — and that they were close-minded. In spite of these affronts, these Christian teens were courageous in presenting their views.”

* Concerning Ellerbee’s discussion of discrimination and hate crimes, Lafferty said, “Ellerbee is confused about her terms. It is not wrong or discriminatory to use discernment when you are deciding if something is morally right or morally wrong. We are using discernment when we oppose the use of alcohol, drugs or pornography. We should also be discerning over whether or not we approve of the normalization of homosexual behavior.”

* “I was deeply saddened when Rosie O’Donnell admitted on the show that her own son says he misses having a dad,” Lafferty said. “Rosie is working to normalize something that even her own children recognize as being abnormal and wish were not part of their own lives. This speaks volumes to me.”

* Nickelodeon should have invited ex-gay ministry representatives on the set to discuss their deliverance from the homosexual lifestyle or should have invited psychologists from a group like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) to discuss the root causes of homosexual behavior, Lafferty said.

The Traditional Values Coalition garnered more than 250,000 parents’ protests of the special, Lafferty said, noting that Nickelodeon blocked its main e-mail address to thwart the TVC protest.

Prior to the program, Lafferty had claimed she was being lied to by Nickelodeon.

“Nickelodeon assured me in a phone conversation that this TV program was only in the development and research stage,” Lafferty said in a May 31 news release. “Nickelodeon also told me that they were not working with homosexual groups on this project. Yet, I learned from a Washington Blade article that this isn’t true. … Nickelodeon’s leadership cannot be trusted to tell the truth about this show. I was also told that Nickelodeon would not ask children invasive questions about homosexuality, but I have a copy of the questions that will be asked. I consider them inappropriate.”

Among Hogenson’s concerns about the Nick News special on homosexuality:

* “The program was promoted as a ‘news’ show designed for youngsters, but it was little more than a platform for often uninformed opinion from fewer than a dozen teenagers; indoctrination; and the gay proselytizing of three adult in-studio guests.”

* “Void of factual information about the considerable documented health risks associated with homosexual conduct, the program instead staked out a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to the subject: You either accept and agree with homosexuality or you are guilty of hate.”

* “Among the kids on the show were a few who noted their disagreement with homosexuality based on religious grounds, along with a few pre-packaged sound bites from Culture and Family Institute Senior Fellow Peter LaBarbara and portions of a longer pre-recorded interview with Rev. Jerry Falwell. But these program elements, doubtlessly included in the name of ‘balance,’ were thin intellectual gruel compared with the overwhelmingly liberal slant of the program.” The comments by LaBarbara and Falwell, which Hogenson described as “entirely gracious,” were “stitched together with those of hard-line homosexuality advocates.”

* When one child on the set expressed his reservations about homosexuality on religious grounds, Hogensen wrote that “he was summarily dismissed as closed-minded by a girl raised by homosexuals. So much for tolerance.”

* “Further evidence of the program’s pre-determined intention was offered by the closing credits, which acknowledged the cooperation of a smorgasbord of some of the nation’s most militant homosexuality advocacy groups, including Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and the Human Rights Campaign.”

Robert Knight, director of Culture and Family Institute, said in the Fox News report, “You can teach diversity without trampling on people’s moral beliefs the way these programs do, when children are told that homosexuality is normal and healthy and anyone who says otherwise is a hate-filled bigot.”