Political Hay

Liberal Media Silent on NBC CEO

Support for Santorum ignored. Where is Tina Fey?

By 4.10.14

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So in the wake of the Mozilla/Brendan Eich kerfuffle? When push comes to shove on business executives who give money in the name of what leftist gay activists are calling homophobia? Forced to choose between a powerful liberal media insider — aka the Rick Santorum-supporting NBC/Universal Chief Executive Stephen Burke (a $2,000 contribution to Santorum’s losing Senate re-election bid) — and gays? The liberal media fell suddenly silent.

Whatever happened to MSNBC’s famously gay hosts Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts? And MSNBC reporter and Brendan Eich critic Adam Serwer? Or Media Matters and its gay leader David Brock? America Blogs gay activist John Aravosis? Or Michelangelo Signorile, the editor-at-large of Huffington Post’s Gay Voices. Or Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment? And, yes, where is Tina Fey?

Not to mention Slate, a publication whose senior tech writer Will Oremus was only this week insisting that any CEO who was an opponent of gay marriage was not fit to be a CEO. We brought to light the fact that Slate’s sister company the Kaplan Educational Foundation had a CEO who was repeatedly and deliberately on record as opposed to gay marriage. But Slate’s Oremus, like MSNBC, Media Matters and the rest has gone quieter than a church mouse in a morgue.

Let’s do a little compare and contrast.

Huffington Post: Michelangelo Signorile, the editor-at-large for the HuffPo’s Gay Voices, wrote this barnburner of an open letter to Andrew Sullivan, after the gay Sullivan recoiled in horror at the firing of Brendan Eich. Signorile was particularly incensed at the news that in addition to his contribution to Proposition 8, Eich had also contributed “campaign money to Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign in 1992, and later to Ron Paul’s campaign.” Not to be left out here are actors Bill Horn and Scout Masterson, stars of Oxygen’s Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood where they play the Guncles. The gay couple penned this outraged piece at HuffPo titled: “How Rick Santorum Is Bringing Homophobia Right Into Our Home.” Horn and Masterson accused Santorum of preaching “hate and ignorance,” saying they were “shocked and sickened” by Santorum’s views. So where is the indignant piece from Horn and Masterson demanding Steve Burke’s head for contributing to Santorum? The show that has made the two men stars appears on Oxygen — owned by NBC. Whose boss is, yes, the Santorum-supporting Mr. Burke. Not a peep here from Horn and Masterson. Not…a…peep.

Media Matters: David Brock’s domain immediately jumped into the Mozilla/Eich fray with a piece by staffer Luke Brinker defending Eich’s firing because he had contributed to the “virulently anti-gay propaganda behind the Prop 8 campaign.” Before that they went after Fox and Megyn Kelly for “Advocating for Anti-Gay Business Discrimination” in a segment with Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council and Fox’s legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. But nothing at Media Matters on Burke's contributing to Santorum. Recall that series of stories on Media Matters at the Daily Caller awhile back? This one, discussed with Tucker Carlson on Bill O’Reilly’s show in which the DC quoted an unnamed MM staffer as saying that “we basically write their (MSNBC’s) primetime.” Ah, yes. Media Matters is tight as a tick to Burke’s NBC.

NBC and MSNBC: Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts are both gay, but neither has addressed their boss’s Santorum connection. Adam Serwer, an MSNBC reporter, came forward to discuss the Eich situation, saying this:

Mozilla has products it wants to sell. Having Eich as the face of that brand could have harmed Mozilla’s ability to attract talent or customers. This is one of the reasons corporations often try to avoid expressing controversial political views — they don’t want to alienate potential clients. If Mozilla had hired a CEO who had made donations to groups that expressed prejudice on the basis of race or religion, the outcome probably would have been similar.

Some of Eich’s defenders undoubtedly feel the world would be a better place if everyone could express controversial views without ever having to worry about losing their jobs. But that’s not the world we lived in before Eich’s resignation, and it won’t be the world we live in anytime soon. Despite what many of Eich’s supporters are saying now, most of them don’t really want to live in that world either.

Of course, NBC’s Burke is exactly like Mozilla’s Eich. So where is Serwer's story about his own CEO?

A ways back there was an upset at NBC over a comedy routine from 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan. It seems during a live stand-up show in Nashville, Morgan had veered off into a rant that offended gays. In a blink, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt — himself a gay man — and star Tina Fey, also executive producer of 30 Rock, were out there to publicly take Morgan to task.

Greenblatt released this statement:

I speak for NBC and myself personally when I say we do not condone hate or violence of any kind and I am pleased to see Tracy Morgan apologizing for recent homophobic remarks in his standup appearance. We will always recognize an artist’s freedom to express him or herself, but not when reckless things are said no matter what the context. Unfortunately, Tracy’s comments reflect negatively on both 30 Rock and NBC — two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations -— and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

Right behind Greenblatt was Fey, whose statement was issued in her capacity as executive producer of 30 Rock

I’m glad to hear that Tracy apologized for his comments. Stand-up comics may have the right to “work out” their material in its ugliest and rawest form in front of an audience, but the violent imagery of Tracy’s rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the GLBT Community.

It also doesn’t line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person.

I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian coworkers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with, or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket.

The other producers and I pride ourselves on 30 Rock being a diverse, safe, and fair workplace.

But issue a statement like that about the guy who okays their own paycheck? No sense going after the boss!

Slate: As noted earlier this week, Slate’s Will Oremus penned a piece on the Eich/Mozilla affair headlined “If You’re Against Gay Marriage, You’re a Bad CEO.” As was mentioned here, Slate is the sister company of the Kaplan Educational Foundation, both owned by the Graham Holdings Company, — the Grahams as in the Grahams who formerly owned the Washington Post. Kaplan’s CEO is Thomas Leppert, a former Dallas mayor and a Republican who challenged Ted Cruz for the Texas GOP Senate nomination in 2012, making numerous statements highlighting his opposition to gay marriage. Mr. Oremus hasn’t said a word about his sister company’s CEO who perfectly fits Oremus’s definition of being a “bad CEO.” So we have taken the liberty of askimg Mr. Oremus for comment, and will be happy to publish his reply in its entirety if one arrives.

It is more than safe to say that those who have been jumping up and down for gay marriage and yet, have, by their own standards as evidenced thus far, a considerable double standard for Stephen Burke and Brendan Eich. One would have to look so deep into the looking glass it can only be assumed these “supporters” of gay rights have been blinded by the shards to explain why they have not exhibited a trace of the chest-beating “gay rights” support of which they once so loudly boasted. All have suddenly gone to ground. Make that underground.

Why abandon ship faster than rats? It would seem that media liberals are scared to death of crossing the powerful NBC/Universal boss Stephen Burke. He who contributed big bucks to the famously pro-traditional marriage — that would be “homophobic” in Leftist language — Rick Santorum. So while poor Brendan Eich is shoved out of Mozilla for supporting the pro-traditional marriage California Proposition 8 — Eich had some clout in the world of media but apparently not enough — Rick Santorum Big Donor Steve Burke is untouchable. The actors who went after Santorum at Huffington, not to mention all those at MSNBC and NBC have paychecks at stake. It’s one thing for Tina Fey to threaten Tracy Morgan — it’s something else entirely for Tina Fey to jeopardize any current and future relationship with NBC by applying the same standards to Burke as she did to Tracy Morgan.

As a straight guy with some understanding of loyalty and principle, even in this conservative corner one can only sympathize with the gay community if this is the character and the quality of their defenders on an issue they consider, understandably, of paramount importance.

One keeps coming back to the word hypocrite here. But in the vernacular? What a bunch of weasels.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.