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

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.”