NPR ‘Ex-Gay’ Report Neither ‘Fair’ Nor ‘Balanced’
Just as scientists are the easiest for fraud psychics to fool, when the balance fairy is around reporters sometimes fall for religious con artists themselves.
While the NPR piece does have moments of clarity, to call it balanced is a bit of a stretch. First, the reporter never tells us exactly who Rich Wyler is — the founder of an “ex-gay” ministry, People Can Change, whose practices, writes Warren Throckmorton, are even marginalized among the “ex-gay” industry.
By omitting this deeply relevant fact, the NPR story glosses over the true story here: those who become “ex-gay” are usually those who are making a living off of their new status as “cured” homosexuals. They are professional “ex-gays” who have their entire livelihoods bound up in maintaining their “ex-gay” status. One slip can be deadly to a career, as John Paulk discovered years ago after being caught leaving a Washington DC gay bar.
Wyler’s “balance” in this story is questionable. While it’s true that the other man featured in the piece, Peterson Toscano, is an artist and performer who has made a living off of plays written about his “ex-gay” experience, the difference is striking. Toscano is not invested in drawing people into being gay or lesbian in the same way Wyler is working to get people out. Wyler charges people for “therapies” that can destroy them psychologically, while buying tickets to Toscano’s shows might result in some good belly laughs, but no pressure to convert.