When I wrote on Saturday about Truth Wins Out's undercover investigation confirming Marcus Bachmann's Christian counseling clinic was attempting to "cure" gays, the question was asked, will the mainstream media cover it?
It was a good question, I wasn't certain the question was yes. But now, it is.
Yesterday, the story made the Los Angeles Times. This was likely prompted because Monday night's ABC Nightline aired a report on it.
The report picks up on two independent investigations. Brian Ross culled from the work of The Nation magazine and the Truth Wins Out undercover investigation. Some of the hidden camera footage Truth Wins Out collected was included.
They speak with Andrew Ramirez who as brought by his parents to Bachmann's clinic when he was 17 in 2004. He told The Nation magazine:
“He basically said being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes,” Ramirez recalls. According to Ramirez, his therapist then set about trying to “cure” him. Among other things, he urged Ramirez to pray and read the Bible, particularly verses that cast homosexuality as an abomination, and referred him to a local church for people who had given up the “gay lifestyle.” He even offered to set Ramirez up with an ex-lesbian mentor.So glad this young man had the strength to spare himself the damage and danger of this therapy. Many kids can't say no to their parents.
Ramirez was not impressed. After his second appointment, he resolved not to go back, despite the turmoil it might cause in his family. “I didn’t feel it was something that I wanted to change, and I didn’t think it could be changed,” he says. “I was OK with who I was.”
Also interviewed is Truth Wins Out's John Becker who last month went undercover into the clinic and secured the footage confirming "Pray Away The Gay" techniques and theories being espoused by a clinic counselor.
Michele Bachmann and her campaign refused to comment to ABC on the story. They released a statement to producers:
"Those matters are protected by patient-client confidentiality," the statement says. "The Bachmann's are in no position ethically, legally, or morally to discuss specific courses of treatment concerning the clinic's patients."
No, not really.
They can't pull that off. You can discuss your general techniques and philosophies of treatment without getting specific about names and individual cases. You don't have to betray a confidence to answer the simple question, "Is gay a curable illness, in your view?"
More attention: Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen will be speaking to MSNBC news today at 11:30 am EST and undercover gay John Becker will be appearing to discuss this on the Ed Show tonight at 10 pm EST. They will both be appearing on Michelangelo Signorile's Sirrus radio broadcast at 2:30 pm EST today.
Signorile raises more questions about "Dr." Marcus Bachmann's educational credentials as well. Seems the Union Graduate School where he attended got itself investigated by the Ohio Regents board in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It culminated in a report that included this summation: " ... expectations for student scholarship at the doctoral level were not as rigorous as is common for doctoral work ... " Some reorganization and cessation of programs followed.
There also appears to be a discrepancy between the degree Bachmann claims to have and the time period when the degree was actually offered by the Union Graduate.
JARS goes on to write that it seems highly suspect that Marcus Bachmann has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology because, if you follow the timeline, the school wasn't offering it:What does all this mean? On his website Dr. Bachmann states he’s had 23 years experience. Simple math brings us to the year 1988. If Dr. Bachmann’s Ph.D. was completed prior to this date, he might have graduated from The Union Graduate School which offered ONLY a Ph.D. in Arts and Sciences. If he graduated later than 1986, then he would have graduated from The Union Institute (1986), or The Union Institute and University (2001) and his Ph.D. would have been in Interdisciplinary Studies.
If in fact Dr. Marcus Bachmann graduated from this institute, whatever it was named at the time, he would not have graduated with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The ONLY doctorate in Clinical Psychology was offered after 2001, and the degree is a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) and not a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy).
The threshold for "no comment" has been crossed, in my opinion. At some point, a continued duck and hide strategy begins to look very suspicious and will only draw more attention from the press and more questions.
Time for the Bachmanns to sit down for some straight talk on this topic.
On The Lighter Side...
General election issues abound for Representative Bachmann.
If you haven't checked out Whoopie Goldberg's rant on The View yesterday, please do. Bachmann seems to have lost the soccer mom demographic with her signing of the The Family Leader pledge, which among other heinous declarations implied African Americans enjoyed a better family life under slavery.
It's funny, but damn, Goldberg is pissed—really pissed—about the ignorant slavery component of the Leader's pledge. And righteously so. She says:
"Dammit, I am sick of this crap! Could you people get your act together? You don't know anything about how slaves raised their kids or why people were together, just don't add stuff like that if you don't know what you're talking about! Number two: white people, black people, asian people, some of us are single parents, some of us turned out ok with single parents and you know what? Stop pointing the finger at single parents! I'm sick of people who don't know what the Hell they're talking about going off! I'm sick of it!"
Pretty thunderous applause.
It's bad when even resident Fox Head Elizabeth Hasselbeck has abandoned you and declared your Presidential chances gone. "It may put the nail in the coffin for any sort of chance for Bachmann..."
The ridicule factor is very high for the Bachmanns. Gawker compiled this rundown of people wondering if in Bachmann, we're seeing another Ted Haggart, George Rekers or Larry Craig dynamic playing out. Doth the lady protest too much? Some of the high-profile people whose gaydar "Mr. Michele" has pinged on:
- Cher, who used her Twitter the other day to riff on Bachmann (as the gay news website Towleroad noticed).
- Pundit Andrew Sullivan, who called Bachmann a "ssuper-sserial hunter of gays" and then compared him to Waiting for Guffman character Corky St. Clair.
- The Daily Show co-creator and satirist Lizz Winstead, who tweeted that Bachmann is "the white Al Reynolds."
- James Urbaniak of The Venture Brothers, who Tumbled: "It's pretty much a given that the most vociferously homophobic men are usually repressing something. But, oh Mary, Michele Bachmann's husband Marcus takes the ever-loving cake. He's a cure-the-gay therapist out of a John Waters movie. I haven't seen flames this high since the last California wildfire..."
- Kids in the Hall comic and television actor Dave Foley, who asked via Twitter: "How can Michele Bachman be opposed to gay marriage when she is married to gay man." Foley made a few other tweets about Bachmann, using "#MarcusBachmanIsSoGay"; the hashtag got a bit of traction.
- Keith Olbermann referred to Bachmann as a "bizarre-sounding man who's calling gays 'barbarians'" and wonders how you can "hide" him without putting him in some sort of closet.
See also Michele Bachmann's Husband Is Fabu.
You can also now follow the parody account @DrMarcusBachman on Twitter. Select tweets:
Sorry I was gone a while, I was burning some old albums all week, the heartbreak. @cher
Like the movie The Undefeated, I'll bring the spirit of John Wayne's co-star, Rock Hudson.
I wish the left would stop calling the tea party, tea baggers. It is not accurate, belive me, i've checked.
Looks like the gays really ARE a threat to traditional marriage, at least, specifically the Bachmann's. The popular gay dating site GAYDAR has offered Marcus Bachmann (NSFW) a free lifetime membership offering him the chance to conduct all the unfettered research into homosexuality any good Christian "scientist" could ever dream of:
In light of Marcus Bachmann’s spike in popularity on gay and gay-friendly blogs across the U.S., internet dating megasite Gaydar.net is offering the the husband of Tea Party presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-MN) a complimentary lifetime membership. As a rep at Gaydar HQ explains,“Marcus Bachmann is popping up on everyone else’s gaydar, we figure he might want to be on the real Gaydar! With over six million members, we like to think Gaydar is the picture of inclusivity–from swarthy barbarians to piggy politicos–all are welcome!”
And let's also welcome "Dr." and Representative Bachmann to the big league of national politics. Not a place for people with skeletons in their closet.
Update 1: A withering piece on MSNBC just aired. They dug up old quotes and footage showing Michele Bachmann making riling against gays her signature issue. They include a quote where she calls the gay "lifestyle" "enslavement."
They also are clear the American Psychological Association has "repudiated" such therapies.
Both the Nighline and MSNBC piece make note of Marcus Bachmann's denial of practicing gay reparative therapy, a claim that now is a transparent lie.
The head of Log Cabin Republicans Clarke Cooper is also show on MSNBC condemning the candidacy of Bachmann.
Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out appears and does a nice job keeping the focus on the pain these "medieval" practices visit on innocent kids.
Video when it's available.
Update 2: Today Show covered this too, much of the same footage run on MSNBC at noonish:
Update 3: Via Think Progress, a local ABC News reporter in Iowa repeatedly questions Bachmann on this topic and Bachmann repeatedly refuses to address the reports, saying only that she is “very proud of our business” and “proud of all job creators in the United States”:
This woman has built her entire political career talking about the gays.
Now? She suddenly doesn't want to talk about the gays. Very curious.
Update 4: Human Rights Campaign has issued a challenge to other GOP candidates to repudiate Bachmann's extremist views:
“Michele Bachmann’s homophobic views are out of step with mainstream America, and it’s time for her fellow GOP presidential contenders to publicly denounce them,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The past few years we’ve seen a surge in support for equality and have made important legislative progress. Bachmann’s support for things like reparative therapy signals just how fringe a candidate she really is.”
Update 5: Ugh! SHAME on MSNBC! They invite Peter Spring of the Southern Poverty Law Center identified Hate Group Family Research Council to defend this. Was no one from the Ku Klux Klan available MSNBC? They hate gays too and can provide "balance."
Log Cabin Republican's Clarke Cooper provides counterpoint.
Update 6: via Towleroad apropos of this story:
It seems when Licensed Educational Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Licensed Clinical Social Workers need to renew their licenses, they must complete a certain amount of hours at accredited organizations. Listed among the accredited groups at the Board of Behavioral Sciences, is the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
A licensed psychologist in Los Angeles wrote to Towleroad:I was wondering if you could help me raise awareness about in issue. I am a Licensed Educational Psychologist here in Los Angeles. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences is responsible for licensing LEPs, MFTs, and LCSWs here in California. I was recently looking at BBS website in order to determine which organizations I could obtain my continuing education credits from in order to renew my license.
Much to my shock and sadness, the BBS accepts CEUs from NARTH. I am absolutely appalled. No therapist in California should be able to renew their license by obtaining CEUs from this hateful organization.
“Homosexual conversion therapy” is not supported by the American
Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, or the American Counselors Association. I have written the the BBS with my concerns, but I have not heard back. Could you help me bring attention to this issue? We need to get them removed from this list ASAP.
NARTH is a hateful organization which provides conversion or “ex-gay” therapy for their clients. This form of therapy has been not only disproven as being effective, but many who go through it either commit or attempt suicide. As stated in the note above, this form of therapy has been debunked by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Counselors Association.
Infamously, you may remember former NARTH founder George Reker’s scandal when he traveled Europe with a young man whom he was paying from the online service “Rentboys.”
Update 7: A glance at the Google News shows this story is now everywhere. Talking Points Memo put it up. A glance at the comments section indicates this is not playing well for her. A few "damn liberal media!" of course, but mostly disdain and ridicule. Not a story that will play well for her outside her hardcore Christian Fundamentalist Tea Party base.
Update 8: This story reaches the White House, Carney gets asked by ABC about Federal funding. From The Washington Blade:
A partial transcript of the remarks between Carney and reporters on LGBT issues follows:Maybe ask Secretary Sebelius or Miser Boehner?
ABC News Radio: Does the White House have any problem with federal dollars being sent to a counseling clinic that engages in the controversial therapy of trying to cure people of being gay?
Jay Carney: Ann, I confess I do not have an answer to that question.
Update 9: ABC News posts an update, noting Bachmann still refuses to comment:
Leading mental health experts today strongly condemned the Christian counseling center owned by GOP presidential candidateMichele Bachmann and her husband Marcus for engaging in a discredited therapy designed to convert gays to straights through prayer and self-reflection.
"This is so far outside the mainstream it's practically on Mars," said Dr. Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist who has written extensively on the practice of gay conversions.
Both Drescher and Dr. Clinton Anderson of the American Psychological Association, the nation's leading professional organization for psychologists, told ABC News that efforts to convert patients from gay to straight not only don't work, they can actually harm patients.
"They may feel more depressed, more anxious, some people may feel more suicidal because this treatment didn't work," Drescher said. "There's a lot of technical language that sounds like mainstream psychology or mainstream psychiatry, but it's not."
A Mother Jones news reporter approached Bachmann on the street today, asking if the clinic she co-owns with her husband practices gay reparative therapy. Bachmann's assistant insists no questions. Bachmann remains silent as reporter follows for 2:00 minutes. Video is here.