Accuracy in Media in general, and AIM editor Cliff Kincaid in particular, have never much liked gay people:
- AIM president Don Irvine wrote in a blog post about "the first ever Pride month celebration at the White House," which he claimed was an attempt "to repair relations with gays and lesbians." Irvine then sneeringly added: "Maybe next he can repaint the White House a nice shade of pink and hang the rainbow flag in front to show his commitment to the gay cause."
With that kind of history, it's really no surprise that AIM, led by Kincaid, has embraced a proposed law in Uganda with the goal of harshly punishing homosexual acts. Indeed, it was in the midst of an attack on Jennings that Kincaid first embraced the Uganda law.
In a Jan. 4 AIM column, Kincaid tried once again to falsely link Jennings to pedophilia -- contradicting AIM's earlier retraction statement that it has "no evidence" to support such a link -- by bringing up Jennings' praise for gay-rights pioneer Harry Hay, stating that Hay was a "supporter of the North American Man-Boy Love Association" and insisting that "The praise of Hay by Jennings has led to questions about Jennings's relationship with NAMBLA itself." In fact, Jennings' praise of Hay has only "led to questions" among those determined to mischaracterize that praise. Jennings praised Hay's role in helping start "the first ongoing gay rights groups in America" in 1948, which has nothing to do with NAMBLA.
Kincaid then moved on to the Uganda law, asserting that any claim that it would result in the death penalty for homosexuality is "flat-out disinformation" and that the death penalty is for "aggravated homosexuality," which is, according to Kincaid, "pederasty, pedophilia, homosexual parent/child incest, homosexual abuse of a disabled ward, and knowingly spreading AIDS."
In fact, one of the offenses of "aggravated homosexuality" that would warrant a death penalty in the bill is being a "serial offender," which the bill defines as "a person who has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences." In other words, if you were convicted of previous homosexual behavior -- or even one of the "related offences" such as "failure to disclose" homosexual acts or "conspiracy to engage in homosexuality" -- and were convicted of it again, you could be put to death.
Kincaid's source for his claims about the Uganda law is anti-gay pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries, which is on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups. The SPLC notes that Lively is also the author of a book called "The Pink Swastika," which it says "falsely asserts gays masterminded the Holocaust."
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that Lively "has acknowledged meeting with Ugandan lawmakers to discuss" the proposed law and was one of three evangelical activists who headlined a recent conference on the "gay agenda" in the country in which, according to the Times, they "discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how 'the gay movement is an evil institution' whose goal is 'to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.' "
Kincaid quoted Lively stating that the bill "does not emphasize rehabilitation over punishment and the punishment that it calls for is unacceptably harsh. However, if the offending sections were sufficiently modified, the proposed law would represent an encouraging step in the right direction." But neither Kincaid or Lively specifically acknowledged that the bill would provide for punishing mere homosexual behavior with the death penalty.
According to Kincaid, Lively defended the law as "a response to the history of the country, where Christians were persecuted and even killed for resisting the homosexuality of King Mwanga, a violent pedophile." Lively also cited "homosexual political activists from Europe and the United States [who] are working aggressively to re-homosexualize their nation" and claims that "Ugandan citizens report a growing number of foreign homosexual men coming to their country to turn desperately poor young men from the slums into their personal houseboys, and that some girls in public schools have been paid to recruit others into lesbianism." Kincaid provided no evidence to support Lively's claims.
(In defending the Ugandan bill, Kincaid joins the likes of WorldNetDaily's Molotov Mitchell, who said in a December video that Ugandans are "right" to make "homosexuality a capital offense" and that "Uganda is a sovereign, democratic nation that's free to make its own laws." Mitchell also bizarrely invoked Martin Luther King's statement that "The moral arm of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice," adding: "Ugandans, stay on the right side of history.")
Kincaid, however, was only beginning his defense of the Ugandan law. A Jan. 8 column asserted that asserts that Washington Post "editorial writer and homosexual activist" Jonathan Capehart "falsely claimed it would make homosexuality 'a crime punishable by death.'" Of course, that's not a false claim at all. This was followed by a Jan. 22 column in which he complained that Democratic members of Congress "are demanding that President Obama denounce the Christians of Uganda for considering new legislation opposing homosexual practices that threaten public health in that East African country." Kincaid still insisted that "the situation in Uganda has been distorted and misrepresented by homosexual activists in the media who want people to believe that efforts to protect and preserve traditional family values in Uganda are extreme and unwarranted," and falsely claimed that "the bill only applies to cases of open and overt homosexual conduct and behavior. The bill's much-publicized death penalty provision is mostly designed to punish those who sexually abuse children."
Kincaid also misled on the proposed law's purported intention to "protect children from homosexual predators" and slow the spread of AIDS. In fact, the head of Uganda's AIDS commission has said that since homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, the number of gays there are "negligible." Further, by far the most prevalent methods of HIV transmission in Uganda have historically been mostly heterosexual or mother-to-child.
Kincaid then repeated his claims in a Jan. 27 appearance on the radio show of Des Moines, Iowa, host Jan Mickelson to spread his misinformation about the anti-gay law in Uganda.
Kincaid again asserted that it's "misinformation" that the Uganda bill is a "kill-the-gays" law and praised the bill as countering "this so-called lifestyle": "They want to prevent what has happened to countries like the United States, where ... the courts and certain politicians have accepted this [homosexual] lifestyle. They want to prevent that from happening to Uganda, and I say more power to 'em. And they ought to be able to do that without getting interference from the likes of Rick Warren or anybody else.
Kincaid is loath admit that there's a death penalty in the bill; rather, he states that there are "certain provisions" that are "controversial" because it "emphasizes punishment rather than rehabilitation." He insisted again that the "basic thrust" of the bill is "to try to get control of a lifestyle, so-called, that has been spreading AIDS"-- even though AIDS in Uganda is mostly spread through heterosexual contact.
When Kincaid finally gets around to mentioning the death penalty, he falsely insisted once again that it is limited to "aggravated homosexuality," which he portrayed as limited to "child abuse, child rape, spreading AIDS and so forth." Kincaid then claimed that the U.S. has "a lot to learn from Uganda. They're doing it right way. We're doing it the wrong way. ... These are brave Christian people. We should be supporting them, not betraying them like Rick Warren did."
Kincaid also tried to bolster the credibility of his bogus claims by baselessly portraying a pair of ministers as speaking for the whole of Uganda.
A Feb. 3 column, headlined "Uganda Confronts 'Loud-mouthed Homosexual Lobby,'" claimed that "A leading pro-family activist in Uganda says that Christians in that East African country need help resisting the schemes of the international homosexual lobby." This person, Charles Tulahaise, is the only one he quoted. This was followed by a Feb. 5 column headlined "Uganda Rejects Obama's Pro-Homosexual 'Change,'" in which, again, only one person is quoted, "Ugandan Christian minister Martin Ssempa."
At no point in either article does Kincaid offer any evidence that the views of these two people -- which hew closely to Kincaid's own anti-gay views -- are representative of any significant segment of the country, let alone every single one of the 30.9 million Ugandans, as the headlines of his columns suggested. And, needless to say, there's no mention of the facts that counter the anti-gay attacks of Kincaid and those he quotes.
Kincaid served up yet another rehash of his bogus assertions in a Feb. 11 column, followed by one on Feb. 18 in which he went after conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker for daring to criticize the law Kincaid has so aggressively defended. Kincaid denigrated Parker by claiming she is "[l]osing complete control of her senses," doing "her best imitation of lesbian MSNBC-TV commentator Rachel Maddow " and suggesting she wrote her column out of "her eagerness to please those who syndicate her column and quote her approvingly in the liberal press."
Kincaid added even more misleading claims to his anti-gay arsenal. He asserted that "[t]here is a myth that AIDS in Africa has been spread exclusively through heterosexual conduct." That's a red herring -- he offered no examples of anyone making the claim that HIV has been spread "exclusively through heterosexual conduct." In fact, as noted above, HIV transmission in Uganda and much of Africa has historically been spread mostly through heterosexual and mother-to-child conduct. Kincaid offered no evidence that this has significantly changed.
Kincaid then wrote:
But the internationally acclaimed medical journal The Lancet last August published the first scientific study showing that male homosexuals are more often than not infected with HIV than the general adult population in sub-Saharan Africa. The study is titled, "Men who have sex with men and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa."
But that Lancet study is about a lot more than how many homosexuals in Africa have AIDS, which Kincaid curiously fails to mention -- perhaps because it undermines his anti-gay crusade. First of all, it further debunks Kincaid's suggestion that heterosexual HIV transmission is a "myth," stating: "Notwithstanding the lack of reliable population data about African MSM [men who have sex with men], the proportion of current HIV incidence attributable to MSM is estimated to be as high as 20% in some west African countries." That leaves 80 percent that is attributable to something else -- in other words, heterosexual and mother-to-child transmission.
The Lancet then points to reasons why there is a high incidence of HIV among gays in Africa:
Most African states have yet to allocate any national HIV/AIDS resource for HIV/AIDS prevention or care for MSM.
The effectiveness of national HIV prevention programmes on HIV risk behaviour in MSM is not known but is likely to be low. Safe sex for MSM implies access to condoms and lubricants that are rarely available or are prohibitively expensive. Messages about prevention targeted to heterosexual populations might seem irrelevant to MSM; African MSM might not consider same-sex encounters to be sex at all because this word can also infer reproduction. Perceptions that anal sex or sex between men pose no risk of HIV transmission, even that such behaviours might be actively sought because of this misconception, have been reported repeatedly. How widespread such misconceptions are is unclear, yet the almost complete absence of African media, health education, and counselling to challenge these beliefs is self-evident.
Important conclusions from behavioural studies of African MSM are that unprotected anal sex is commonplace, knowledge and access to appropriate risk prevention measures are inadequate, and that, in some contexts, many MSM engage in transactional sex. Stigma, violence, detention, and lack of safe social and health resources are widely reported.
The neglect of research, surveillance and HIV prevention, and treatment and care programmes for MSM cannot be separated from the influence of general, largely hostile attitudes toward homosexuality in Africa. Male-to-male sex is illegal in sub-Saharan African countries, potentially attracting the death penalty in four. In recent years, governments of several countries have strengthened laws against homosexuality, and political and religious leaders have publicly denounced MSM as immoral and not deserving attention from the state. In the most recent Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, most respondents sampled from ten sub-Saharan African countries stated that society should reject homosexuality.
MSM who disclose their orientation, through choice or necessity, report family rejection, public humiliation, harassment by authorities, and ridicule by health-care workers. The consequences of stigma on HIV risk, and access to prevention and care for African MSM are unknown. Elsewhere, low self-esteem, and loss of family and community cohesion are thought to mediate an association between social oppression and sexual risk-taking behaviour. African MSM might also be stigmatised in ways that differ from those elsewhere: Murray and Roscoe draw attention to the expectation of the production of children as a predominant social pressure on homosexual men in some African contexts.
Political, cultural, and religious hostility towards MSM thus presents the main barrier to implementing effective HIV research, policy, and health programmes for African MSM. Successes in engagement with and delivery of the few interventions to known MSM are tempered with the recognition that many, probably most, MSM conceal their behaviour for fear of repercussion and remain beyond the reach of such interventions. Although since repealed, the widely condemned sentencing and imprisonment of nine activists involved in providing HIV prevention, care, and treatment services to MSM in Senegal (one of few African countries with a national HIV programme targeting MSM) show the potential for political and religious sentiments to compete with HIV/AIDS control efforts. [footnote numbers deleted]
The study concludes that "the continued denial of MSM from effective HIV/AIDS prevention and care is harmful to national HIV/AIDS responses, the consequence of which is borne not only by MSM, but by everyone. The challenge now is to break that silence, recognise the problem, and begin to move forward in the development and implementation of the prevention and care programmes that are so urgently needed."
How does further stigmatizing homosexuality through the anti-gay law in Uganda -- where it is already highly stigmatized and illegal -- address the problem of HIV transmission via homosexual contact, especially given that the Lancet study he selectively quotes advocates outreach and not further stigma? Kincaid doesn't say.
Instead, he proudly declared, "The purpose of the Ugandan bill, quite clearly, is to keep homosexuality in the closet, where it used to be in this country." He also repeated his discredited talking point that "the death penalty in the bill is only one provision and is for 'aggravated homosexuality' or serious crimes mostly involving homosexual behavior targeting children and spreading disease and death." In fact, as we detailed, it also provides for the death penalty for merely engaging in homosexual acts, if the accused is a "serial offender."
Kincaid went on a tirade against pretty much everything gay in his column. He further attacked Maddow, asserting that her TV show "is an extension of her lesbian lifestyle. She is gay and proud and given free rein at MSNBC because of her role as the first 'out' lesbian to host a show on a national cable news network." (Kincaid has long despised Maddow.) He also lashed out at then-upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference for allowing the gay-conservative group GOProud to have a table there.
Kincaid closed out his column by spewing even more hate, claiming that ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the military "would not only make the Armed Forces a laughingstock but would end its value as a fighting force capable of defending us against foreign threats. Indeed, a homosexualized military could itself become a threat, just like it was in the Nazi period."
Yes, Kincaid is suggesting that gays are Nazis. His source for this claim? None other than the rabidly anti-gay Scott Lively, who wrote about it for AIM in February 2009.
When conservative activist Ryan Sorba unleashed an anti-gay rant at CPAC, Kincaid applauded it in his Feb. 22 column. After all, he agreed with Sorba that gays shouldn't be permitted in CPAC because, well, they're gay. In case anyone thought that Kincaid was being too subtle in his gay-bashing, his column was promoted on the AIM front page with this image.
Kincaid defended Sorba's rant by claiming he was "provoked by a speaker who preceded him," who "went out of his way to use valuable time from the podium to thank the American Conservative Union, the main CPAC organizer, for making the controversial decision to approve GOProud's participation." Kincaid went on to laud Sorba as "the author of the book, The Born Gay Hoax" -- even though all that apparently exists of this work at this point is an unfinished, unpublished manuscript posted at that other noted nest of anti-gay rants, MassResistance.
This being Kincaid, his pathological anti-gay sentiment took over his piece, signaled by his lament that "the 'banning' of homosexuality is not realistically possible at this stage in the United States because the Supreme Court has effectively legalized it." Kincaid also used his column to lash out at a laundry list of gayness:
- He opposed repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell because, he asks, "how will open homosexuals in the U.S. military be greeted on Muslim lands where homosexuality is still illegal?"
Is AIM president Don Irvine pleased with Kincaid's hijacking of his group into a virulently anti-gay group? Since no apparent effort has been made to stop or even temper Kincaid's vitriol, one must assume the answer is yes.
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