Gumbel ?Unable to Disguise Contempt? for Conservative View
July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM
(CNSNews.com) - Viewers of CBS's "The Early Show," were shocked Thursday when host Bryant Gumbel, in an unguarded moment, was caught on camera apparently referring to a conservative guest as "a f***ing idiot."
The incident happened after Gumbel had completed an interview with Robert Knight, director of Cultural Studies with the Family Research Council, on Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling that the Boy Scouts have the right to exclude homosexuals as scoutmasters.
At the end of an interview in which Gumbel displayed increasing discomfort at Knight's conservative views on homosexuality, Gumbel asked, apparently irritated: "Is scouting any safer or purer today by the decision to exclude gays?"
"I think it's a little safer," Knight said. "But I do worry that the Scouts now will be under fierce attack by people who think homosexuality is OK for boys to engage in and they'll be pushing the Scouts out of public buildings."
Gumbel: "All right."
Knight: "And the public ought to be defending the Scouts fiercely. They have a right to treat this issue that seriously."
Gumbel: "Robert Knight, I got to let that stop there. Thank you."
Knight: "Thank you."
Gumbel then broke for a weather report. A couple of seconds into the report, however, the camera caught Gumbel rising from his chair and apparently saying to someone off camera, "What a f***ing idiot."
The FRC believes Gumbel is clearly referring to Knight and is asking CBS for an apology. The FRC also is preparing a formal complaint about Gumbel's comments, to send to the Federal Communications Commission, the agency that regulates broadcasting.
CBS did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
This is not the first time Gumbel has got in trouble for what many consider an anti-conservative bias. In the wake of the killing of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who was killed in part because he was homosexual, Gumbel displayed what many saw as a pronounced bias in his comments on the crime.
"The Christian right per se and some particular members of Capitol Hill have helped inflame the air so that the air that these bad people breathed that night was filled, filled with the idea that somehow gays are different, and not only are they different in that difference, they're bad and not only are they bad, they are evil and therefore evil can be destroyed," Gumbel said when talking to James Carville on CBS's "Public Eye."
Gumbel went on to list conservative leaders and organizations - which included the Family Research Council - he said were responsible for creating the climate that made Shepard's murder possible.
"He's unable to disguise his contempt for conservative viewpoints on any number of issues," Knight said of Gumbel in an interview Friday with CNSNews.com.
Gumbel's hostile reception for Knight followed a much kinder approach to a representative of Planned Parenthood who had come on the show to speak in favor of the Court's overturning a law which banned partial-birth abortions.
Knight's encounter with Gumbel was the third incident in one day in which Knight found himself on the receiving end of contempt by media representatives for his viewpoint on homosexuality.
ABCNews.com asked Knight to appear on Thursday's edition of the daily Sam Donaldson Internet program to debate Evan Wolfson, the attorney for the homosexual scoutmaster who brought the case to the Supreme Court. As Knight was getting ready to head to the studio, however, ABC called his office and told him he wouldn't be needed.
"The limo was out front of the FRC when we got a call from the studio canceling my participation because Wolfson refused to go on with me, and insisted they have James Dale [the homosexual scoutmaster] on instead of me - and ABC complied," Knight said.
"So you have the attorney for the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case dictating to ABC who they can have on their show - and they complied."
[Donaldson told the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com, that his show had three clips from an executive of the Boy Scouts - who presented the Scout's viewpoint - and he would not invite the FRC next week to present the other side of the case.]
The third incident was on Fox News Channel, when Knight was debating David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group.
"When I brought up the dangers to Boy Scouts of homosexual predators, [Smith] interrupted me constantly. I said, can I finish my answer'' and he actually said, no, I'm not going to let you because you're saying mean things.'' So he openly said I'm not going to allow you to talk anymore.
"This is how they do business now. If you bring up inconvenient facts or bring up a moral or behavioral concept, they will either shut you out of the debate or be so rude that you can't get your point in. It's 'agree with us or we will silence you.''' This is the strategy they're using against Dr. Laura [Schlessinger]."
Homosexual activists "have commandeered prime-time television to their cause to where virtually every program now has homosexual characters and themes and propaganda.
"I talk to average people who aren't involved in the issue at all and they say, I'm stunned by the constant bringing up of homosexuality on television. It's stunning. So they feel they're winning and they are absolutely enraged that anyone could still dare to disagree with them in public," Knight said.
Since his case drew national attention in 1998, Dale has made six network morning show appearances and only one of them featured an adversary, reported Tim Graham, associate editor of Media Watch, a publication of the MRC.
"This is part of a pattern," Graham said. "Of the morning show segments on gay rights in 1993, the largest year for TV news stories on homosexuality - 756 network morning, evening, and magazine show stories - the networks invited 69 gay-rights advocates to only 23 opponents. In 1995, the ratio was 13 to three," Graham reported.
To View the Gumbel Clip click here.