The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness: The AFA, at It Again

By Mark Potok on September 25, 2013 - 4:28 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Extremist Propaganda

A day after posting a bizarre, one-source story about a transgender teacher under the byline of The Associated Press, a website run by the anti-LGBT hate group American Family Association (AFA) has quietly changed its attribution.

The change, made today without comment on the OneNewsNow site, amounted to an admission from the group that claims gay men orchestrated the Nazi Holocaust that the article had nothing to do with The AP, a serious and respected newswire. The site only changed the attribution of the story after the intrepid Good As You site, followed by several other pro-LGBT blogs, pointed out the false attribution and accused the AFA of a “likely … attempt to add legitimacy to this skewed report.”

The article is now attributed to Becky Yeh, the site’s “California correspondent.”

The story centered on a real news event: the coming out of a professor of systematic theology at Azusa Pacific University, a California Christian school, as a transgender person transitioning to a man. But the “Associated Press” story concocted by OneNewsNow boiled down to a few rancid and unrebutted quotes from Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). LaBarbera said the professor was part of an organized effort to make transgender people publicly acceptable.

“That’s how the whole homosexual transgender movement progresses,” LaBarbera said in the piece (although his name in this paragraph of the story is rendered as “Barber”). “It’s always incremental. They take a step out. They gauge the reaction. And they do something more radical, more radical.” He went on to describe the transgender community as having “copycatted” the gay rights movement.

Hatewatch contacted AP headquarters in New York City for comment today, but was told that no one would be available until tomorrow.

The AFA, which apparently pays for a regular AP feed, is known for the viciousness of its rhetoric and is listed by SPLC as a hate group. It has falsely claimed that huge numbers of gay men are pedophiles. Its chief spokesman says that homosexuality “gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews” — another lie. It describes Islam as “the spirit of Satan.” It has suggested that the cure for promiscuity is to kill promiscuous people, that the reason American Indians are poor is because their ancestors rejected Christianity, and, in one particularly amazing moment, that welfare has “destroyed the African-American family” by rewarding “people who rut like rabbits.”

And it is well known for manipulating AP stories in the past. The most remarkable instance was revealed several years ago by Right Wing Watch, which noted that OneNewsNow had apparently set up an automatic search and replace function that replaced the word “gay” in all AP stories with the word “homosexual.” In 2008, the AFA’s manipulation resulted in a whole series of AP stories on its site about the sprinter Tyson Gay being changed to articles about “Tyson Homosexual.”

  • aadila

    Not to mention the little clause in the Constitution that says Congress is required for a declaration of war. Perpetual undeclared war paid for by the American taxpayer while food stamps and public radio are declared the enemies of our land. Gotta love the American way. Can’t win for losing!

  • Erika

    aadila, its no mystery – the military is just a huge workfare program which often works for the primary benefit of Republican leaning groups. Its also a massive subsidy to corporations.

  • aadila

    If the Republican lawmakers are so concerned about the budget, why do they keep spending on the military? Perhaps these noble citizens could do their part and return their entire salaries and perks to the People, including the health care plans they seem so determined to keep only for themselves.

  • Erika

    Sam, i would consider it even money on whether Cucinelli has a better chance of getting elected or being indicted for corruption and abuse of power as state Attorney General.

    Quite simply Cuccinelli’s anti-federal rhetoric and intolerant social agenda threatens to do the one thing which a Virginia governor absolutely cannot do – namely break anything. The two most populous regions in Virginia (the Washington, DC suburbs and the Tidewater region) largely depend upon the federal government. The sequester is already damaging their economy and it really hasn’t kicked in yet (there is also a threatened federal shutdown by Congressional Republicans – if that happens it will hit Cucinelli as bad as a Category Five Hurricane – speaking of hurricanes, be on the lookout for Hurricane Erika in 2015 :) ), And Virginia’s business community has to worry that Cucinelli’s pushing a hard Christian Right agenda will hurt business.

  • Chris

    The “listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.” That’s the best you can do? When a big portion of the article deals with the attribution and credibility of sources, I woulda dug a bit deeper.

  • MM

    The AFA lying about a news story?

    Both I and Tyson Homosexual are shocked!

  • Underwriter

    Assumed by whom? Cuccinelli is behind in the polls and Jackson is too radical even for Tea Party Republicans (including Cuccinelli, who is not campaigning for him). Of course even a campaign that’s ahead can always use a little help.

  • Sam Molloy

    The AFA should move from Tupelo to Virginia. the assumed next Governor and Lt. Gov there are as rabidly anti Gay as they are. Then if we can talk them into seceding….

  • concernedcitizen

    Well it’s been my experience that the haters and liars of the bigoted community don’t stop at just one or two groups.

    And the arguments for hating start to spill over themselves with contradictions and misinformation that makes one think…”hmm…can man really operate without a brain?”

    Perhaps if they follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald city there they will find a most gracious wizard willing to lend a hand in giving them a brain.

  • Mitch Beales

    Transgender people ARE “publicly acceptable. Haters and liars like Peter LaBarbera and the AFA are not. Let’s hope they never again become so.

  • aadila

    Since I actually wrote at one point for the AP, I would have been very suspicious that any such article would make it through the news collective to be published. That is simply not how the AP works, as anyone with experience there could easily confirm. There are simply too many people involved in every story for that to happen (i.e. egregiously biased personal opinion to be stated as fact). Such a quote might be published in a longer piece, but not without rebuttal or clarification. That’s not to say the AP can’t or doesn’t make mistakes, but they do have the decency to publish them.

  • Erika

    Oh God, the AFA is also involved in the ludicrous Christian “family friendly” “news” business. They are going to run out of space in the especially hot portion of the Lake of Fire reserved for people who lie while claiming to be Christianity like this.

    The AFA really should have stuck with sending out hysterical letters warning people of the dangers of cartoons – they were a lot more creditable an organization then. Plus they had the positive social value of providing comedy. Heck, my mother used to get his letters and the Reverand Donald Wildmon’s letters were much funnier than most of the TV comedy programs that he said were evil.