ABC News’ “Nightline,” when Ted Koppel anchored, had been an intellectual, smart-person’s look at the headlines and issues of the day. Now, it seems, Nightline is ABC’s version of Christine O’Donnell’s “mouse with human brains,” a hybrid of Nancy Grace on HLN and 60 Minutes.
Last night, Nightline claimed to examine “gay reparative therapy,” an attempt to literally turn gay people straight. Call it the twenty-first century’s snake oil version of “praying the gay away.”
In “From Gay to Straight? Controversial Retreat Helps Men Deal With ‘Unwanted Attraction’,” ABC News correspondent Ryan Owens spends the weekend with some gay men who are back together for another session of trying to become straight.
What is so dangerous about this Nightline episode is that is suggests that “gay reparative therapy” might actually be a viable option, a possibility of a cure. Despite it presenting a “balance” by conducting a very short interview with Dr. Jack Drescher who reminds viewers that homosexuality has not been considered a disease for forty years, ABC grossly provides “gay reparative therapy” as an option, does not examine the risks involved, gives false hope, and does more harm than good, not only to those who ignorantly might be interested in this sham, but to society at large, especially those who still perceive homosexuality as aberrant behavior.
Nightline should have spent more time with Drescher.
Wayne Besen, founder of the anti-ex-gay organization Truth Wins Out, in, “Nightline: Journey into Manhood Poster Boy Cruises Men With Wife; Analysis of Puff Segment,” had this to say today:
“I was incredibly disappointed with ABC Nightline’s segment that aired last night about the bizarre group People Can Change, which hosts Journey into Manhood (JIM) weekends. JIM takes closeted men with religious hang-ups into the woods, where they hug each other to allegedly become more masculine. The goal of this male bonding is to remake these repressed homosexuals into heterosexuals.
“The problem is, it does not work, the techniques are based on junk science and the attendees, which pay $650 to be manipulated, can be psychologically harmed. JIM is a strange brew of New Age psychobabble mixed with fundamentalism, weaved into a scam that can accurately be described as consumer fraud, in my view.
“JIM does not work for the vast majority of people who go through it. Yet, ABC made the critical mistake of focusing on the hand-picked alleged success stories, while largely ignoring the vast majority of attendees — which were victims who were ripped off by this scheme.
“Why would a network elect to create what essentially was an infomercial for JIM, while skimming over the harm perpetrated on the majority? Shouldn’t this story be told in the form of an expose from the perspective of the victims?
“Sadly, Nightline’s producers elected to trade accuracy for access. They bragged that they were the first network that got to take cameras into JIM. Well, not exactly. ABC was denied access to the actual JIM weekends — which are furtive, painful and bizarre — and instead allowed the network to film a JIM Reunion featuring canned spokespeople touting the Party Line. In essence, the PR people at JIM slyly created a Potemkin Village and ABC was suckered into videotaping the propaganda.”
Here’s part one:
Preston, a twenty-eight year old Mormon, says things like, “If God was in human form it would have been this guy,” and, “It’s like a war is going on inside.” Of same-sex attraction, Preston says, “It wasn’t a problem until I learned from other people and was shamed into thinking it was a problem.”
In part two, Owens asks Preston, “Are you sexually attracted to your wife?” Preston responds, “Now?… Yes…”
The life coach, Rich Wyler, tells the men to equate same-sex attraction with something that is “not showing up as truthful in my life.”
Ryan Owens literally gives voice to these unscientific “theories” without question. Theories like a traumatic early-childhood event caused these men to become gay. Which, of course, is bull, and says, “The question remains, can Preston be a husband and a lover to his wife?” No, the question is, what evil, deep psychological distress and corruption is this so called “therapy” doing to Preston, and to so many others?
Only in part two, below, does ABC begin to provide a very few cautionary words. Too little, too late.
Shame on you ABC. I’m calling on GLAAD to address this. I hope you, dear readers, will too.
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