According to reports in the Grand Rapids Press and online, WOOD-TV is considering airing a paid program produced by the American Family Association that purports to expose “the radical homosexual agenda” and “its impact on the family, the nation, and religious freedom.”
The special–titled “Speechless”–was originally supposed to air on WOOD TV an hour before President Barack Obama’s news conference Monday. However, the program was pulled because the station believed that it was not the appropriate lead-in to the news conference. WOOD TV 8’s General Manager released a statement saying:
“The scheduling of the show slipped through our filters…
We don’t pre-judge people’s ideas or opinions…
However, we have restrictions on controversial programming and key time periods. We are willing to sell a paid program time period during traditional paid program times. We have offered them Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009 from 2-3 p.m. We have not heard if they have accepted that time period. If the show airs, we will have disclaimers at the beginning and end of the show stating that these are not the opinions or views of this station.”
WOOD TV is clearly intending to run the program–lets not forget that it will make them money–thereby ignoring the anti-gay nature of the program. Critics have pointed to the American Family Association’s history of anti-gay activism as well as inaccurate claims made in the film as reasons for the station not to air it.
Colette Beighly of Grand Valley State University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center called the program “irresponsible programming” in The Grand Rapids Press stating:
“If an organization came into Grand Rapids and wanted to air biased programming slamming the Asian community, West Michigan would send a message that that puts Asians brothers and sisters at risk.”
Organizing to Stop the Program
A Facebook group been created to organize against the program and people are being encouraged to contact WOOD TV 8:
“Please contact WOOD TV8 to let them know this kind of irresponsible broadcasting is biased, unprofessional and leads to hate violence against the gay community.
Last year, hate violence against the LGBT community in Michigan increased 133%. Join us in standing up against homophobia and saying “NO!” to hate in our state.
Contact WOOD TV8:
Craig Cole, Program Director WOOD TV8