At least MSNBC has picked this up. Wednesday night, Chris Hayes interviewed Harvey Fierstein. The "thought leader" magazines,The New Yorker and the New Republic, have stories on this which characterize it as a "battle," and yesterday Chris Hayes had Choire Sicha and Julia Ioffe (who wrote the story in the New Republic) on to discuss Russia, which Hayes characterized as a story that has NOW become immediate because of developments at the World Athletic Games now being contested in Moscow. Mostly, Russian homophobia now has an official face: a female Russian pole vaulter. Media Matters has also begun to raise questions about NBC's ability to remain unbiased.
Maybe it's not front-page news, but we're certainly seeing a lot more coverage of this in areas that hadn't been covering it. Follow me below the Great Orange laurel wreath for details.
So yes, television in the form of MSNBC has begun to cover Russia. Especially Chris Hayes which doesn't surprise me at all given his willingness to investigate injustice in general. Wednesday night, Harvey Fierstein was his guest. Fierstein recapped his searing op-ed piece from July 21, saying, quite accurately, that this was simply another piece in a LONG list of abuses that have been visited on the gay community during the 20th Century. This, he observed, was our best chance to draw a line in the sand, for once:
“You must fight injustice wherever that injustice is,” he told Hayes. “It is time for us to put our foot down and say we will not be the scapegoat of the world anymore.”The full interview is at the link.
Thursday, Hayes conducted an even more interesting interview. His guests were Choire (pronounced "Corey") Sicha and Julia Ioffe of the New Republic. What was interesting in particular was his framing. He started with some of the "Occupy Pedophilia" videos, the Russians who lure gay teenagers to an apartment and then beat and humiliate them, and even murder one, and post the videos on YouTube, because they know the police won't arrest them, and then invoked the spotlight that the 2008 Beijing Olympics shone on Chinese abuses of human rights. Yes, the current events in Russia are human rights abuses. Sicha is another literate gay man with a book (not about Russia) to flog (because we gay people don't need to have "coming out = propaganda" explained to us)
"We consider ourselves like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys ... it comes from the history," Isinbayeva said."[The protests are] disrespectful to our country. It's disrespectful to our citizens, because we are Russians...Maybe we are different than European people and people from different lands. We have our law which everyone has to respect. When we go to different countries, we try to follow their rules. We are not trying to set our rules over there. We are just trying to be respectful."RESPECT OUR BIGOTRY! Here's the video:
Buzzfeed has more on Isinbayeva and her remarks. To begin with, the governing body of track and field wants to have it both ways, saying it's all just a matter of differing opinions, but Nick Symmonds, who TomP wrote about Wednesday, had this to say:
“It blows my mind that a young, so well-educated woman can be so behind with the times. Guess what Yelena, a large portion of your citizenship are normal, standard homosexuals.”A Chris Kluwe in the making!
Anyhow, Sicha had the best remark about what countries should do about the Olympics. It seems that countries have to tell the Sochi organizers who is going to be in their press delegations by mid-September, and Sicha thinks that every single country should send every single gay or lesbian sportswriter they can find. There's another group of people who would be presumably protected by the IOC.
Meanwhile, Media Matters is beginning to wonder if NBC's financial interests, never mind its relationship with the various Olympic Committees, are going to bias its coverage of Sochi in favor of the organizers. We've already read about IOC's decision to side with the organizers in terms of prohibiting protest, but now we're talking dollars -- $4 Billion for this and the next three Olympic Games. -- and a chart!
Thus far, NBC’s coverage of the Olympic controversy has been mixed. NBC’s news programs largely ignored Russia’s anti-gay law in the weeks following its passage, but they have since devoted several segments to covering the measure – though none have directly discussed the IOC’s enforcement of a pro-gay gag ruleRight! See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil!
(The New Yorker's story was about a suit brought by Yelena Mizulina, the chairperson of the Russian Duma’s Committee on Family, Women, and Children against Kseniya Sobchak, a celebrity, TV figure, and socialite whose father was one of Putin's mentors for what appears to be general licentiousness, but it's worth it for this:
Russia finds itself in the company of more than seventy countries that reportedly practice various degrees of legal discrimination against gays; the list does not cite any other European nations.pico explained this better than the writer in the New Yorker.)
So this continues to play out. I'll keep writing about it.