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NBC Texas TV station “apologizes” for airing “downfall of America” segment


by Andy Kelley
New Media Organizer, Courage Campaign

GLAAD has the details:

On Friday, October 29, KETK-56, the NBC affiliate in Tyler, Texas, issued an on-air apology in response to GLAAD’s request that the station take responsibility for an appalling eight-minute, anti-gay segment that appeared on Wednesday morning’s newscast. The segment originated on-the-air of radio partner KTBB 92.1 FM and was simulcast on KETK. On Thursday, October 28, KTBB President Paul Gleiser issued a written apology on behalf of the station.

From Dave Tillery, General Manager, KETK:

“This past Wednesday, our radio partner – KTBB – presented a Talkback question regarding homosexuality. That question was also simulcast during our morning news broadcast. Many of our viewers and their [KTBB’s] listeners found the wording of that question to be offensive. We understand and respect their comments. We have discussed these comments with KTBB and agree that the question was poorly worded. For that, they have apologized. And since the question also appeared on our air, we are sorry for any offense that was taken.”

“We are sorry for any offense that was taken.” In other words, “we’re sorry if YOU have a problem with what we said.”

That’s almost word-for-word what KTBB Talkback said yesterday in its apology. As many of you noted in the comments yesterday, Talkback’s “apology” not only lacked sincerity, it continued to expound the homophobic notions stirred up by their segment.

As Fiona wrote in the comments last night, it would have been far better for the apology to read: “We regret any offense that we caused.

KTBB’s apology also included a litany of right-wing scare tactics about gays in our society, exposing fear, and false conceptions, to further their own beliefs. They went on to say they realized some areas weren’t open for discussion, such as homosexuality in general, but that certain political issues could be discussed, such as “The proper role, IF ANY, for openly gay individuals in the military.” If any? If ANY?

But that’s not the end of the story. Late last night, KETK filed a copyright claim for the rights of the video of their segment posted to Youtube. It would be too much to hope this was a sign of remorse, as opposed to an attempt to further obfuscate their actions from public scrutiny. (Fortunately a flash version of the video can still be viewed here on our site.)

As for NBC Universal, KETK’s parent company, one has to wonder why they have yet to address the actions of their East Texas affiliate. I for one, think it’s past time for action.


  • 1. Kathleen  |  October 29, 2010 at 11:47 am

  • 2. Ann S.  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm

  • 3. JonT  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm

  • 4. StraightForEquality  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm

  • 5. Rhie  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Oh boy.

  • 6. Ronnie  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    ~ ……<3…Ronnie

  • 7. Sagesse  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Like pulling teeth.

  • 8. Bennett  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Give them time, think Rand Paul.

  • 9. Richard A. Walter (s  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    They aren't sorry that they did this, they are just sorry that they got caught and called out for their attitudes and their BS!

  • 10. Paul in Minneapolis  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I HATE conditional apologies!!!!

    My ex-boss, may she rot forever, tossed these around all the time. She loved them because she thought she fooled people into thinking that she had actually apologized when, in fact, she had done no such thing. Of course most of us knew that she enjoyed abusing people and never felt bad about it.

    "We are sorry for any offense that was taken." So if for some reason I DIDN'T take offense, you're NOT sorry? Why does your apology depend on how I feel? Why aren't you sorry for what you did regardless of how anyone feels or thinks about it?

    I can usually find it within my heart to forgive someone who expresses true remorse. But anyone who tries to get off the hook by giving me a phony line of BS like this will likely see me hold a grudge against him or her for a long, long time.

    Just ask my ex-boss.

  • 11. StraightForEquality  |  October 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    “We are sorry for any offense that was taken.”

    That's like saying, "We are sorry that you are so outrageously thin skinned as to be offended by this." So the blame is all on those offended, not the offender. That's definitely NOT an apology.

  • 12. JonT  |  October 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    'We have discussed these comments with KTBB and agree that the question was poorly worded. '

    Heh. I guess they don't quite realize that the whole concept was offensive.

    One wonders what role fundamentalist religion, IF ANY, should have in 21st century society.

  • 13. Ray in MA  |  October 29, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    OT, but this is INCREDIBLE.

    Whether you are Atheist or if you Praise God, you have to see this…

    One of the video's is very long, but I watched the entire (near) hour…worth the investment.

    "Swilley, who created the Church In The Now some 25 years ago, is a divorced father of four. But he's known he's gay since he was a boy, says the Rockdale County man of the cloth, and even his wife Debye — whom he divorced earlier this year — knew when they got married (!). The couple kept it a secret for more than two decades, but Jim says Debye recently pushed him to share his story."

  • 14. Bob  |  October 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks so much for this link Ray, I really needed to hear that tonight, Amazing, this is what the reformation is about, separating the wheat from the chaf, being broken to see our wholeness, learning how to love. I want to be with those people.

    This is the voice of the Rainbow Tribe speaking, their truth, and revealing their purpose, telling the religious institutions to lay off, LET MY PEOPLE GO amen

  • 15. Kathleen  |  October 29, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I watched that earlier today. It is a hopeful event. It's also nice to see a pastor coming out for no reason than just he's ready to do it, and not because of a scandal.

  • 16. Alan E.  |  October 30, 2010 at 4:32 am

    His wife also pushed him to do it, and she has supposedly known for years about him.

  • 17. JonT  |  October 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Wow Ray.

    As most of you know, I'm not much for religion, but this video was worth every damn minute. I so love honesty. And if Jesus existed, and had a message, this guy can tell it better than I've ever heard.

    I truly hope his ministry survives, and teaches some serious lessons to those who claim to speak for god, yet hate in his/her name.

    Again, thanks *alot* Ray. Well worth the time!

    That's why I love this community so much – I learn so much more than I would have otherwise.


  • 18. Kathleen  |  October 29, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I agree Jon. It is people like this man and the impact he can have on peope that makes me hopeful for the future.

    And I just want to say "thank you" once again to all the wonderful, brave people who are this community — those who participate and the many others who just observe — for the path you've forged for others to follow. Your courage in your own lives and the impact that has had in the world is part of what made it possible for this pastor to take his own courageous step.

  • 19. Ray in MA  |  October 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    It's spreading… younger straight families are waking up and realizing that staying in a church that condemns gays is wrong:

  • 20. Matthew  |  October 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    We should really have a discussion on wether or not blacks, Hispanics, and women's right are a threat to American society…oh wait. That would get anyone fired. It's only ok to advocate the extermination of gays and Muslims these days. And democrats if you are a rand/sharron supporter.

  • 21. AndrewPDX  |  October 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    …the question was poorly worded. For that, they have apologized.

    Not that they are apologizing for the meaning of the question, just the poor wording of it… Like apologizing for bad grammar or spelling.

    These guys seriously need some classes on how to be true professional journalists.

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • 22. Santa Barbara Mom  |  October 29, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Dr. Phil slammed Clint McCance and his non-apology tonight on Anderson Cooper.

  • 23. icapricorn  |  October 30, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Not exactly a profile in courage. Dr. Phil has about as much moral authority as the ShamWow guy.

  • 24. Kate  |  October 30, 2010 at 1:16 am

    He's well-known and mainstream, and so his support will always be tremendously helpful. He reaches a lot of those "undecided" types.

  • 25. Rhie  |  October 30, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Oh he's a total charlatan. However, credit where credit is due. He is a nationally known figure, looked up to my millions. And he condemns this. For once, he is using his platform for something good and we need to encourage that. Maybe it will encourage him to be a better person.

    I had the same reaction when Bill O'Reilly paid the legal fees for the guy who was suing Westboro for protesting his son's funeral. O'Reilly is a complete failure as a person, but that was an act of kindness. Perhaps there is hope after all.

  • 26. JT1962  |  October 30, 2010 at 12:15 am

    The late Randy Pausch wrote in his book "The Last Lecture" that a good apology consists of three parts. 1. I'm sorry that I hurt you. 2. It was my fault. 3. How do I make it right? Too bad this station never read that because they didn't get any of it right.

  • 27. Sagesse  |  October 30, 2010 at 1:12 am

    The military chaplains are at it again.

    Retired chaplains warn against 'don't ask' repeal

    "The Orthodox Church in America, for example, condemns homosexuality and mandates that the appropriate action its ministers should take toward gay people who seek counseling is to steer them to repent and renounce the gay lifestyle.

    "If such an attitude were regarded as 'prejudice' or the denunciation of homosexuality as 'hate language,' or the like, we would be forced to pull out our chaplains from military service," the church informed the Pentagon in May."

    On the other hand, 'such an attitude' could be regarded as disrespect for the constitutionally protected religious beliefs of another that don't agree with yours. Don't all servicemembers, chaplains included, take some kind of an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution?

  • 28. Kathleen  |  October 30, 2010 at 2:09 am

    I read that article yesterday, Sagesse. And of course you KNOW what my response is. If they don't like it, find another calling. 🙂 They get all the freedom of religion our Constitution guarantees them. But if they want to be a chaplain in the military, learn to behave that conforms with non-discrimination policies.

    I think it is Bob (among others) who has pointed out how entrenched the Christianists are in the US military, from the leaders down – which is the main reason it has been so difficult to make progress getting DADT repealed.

  • 29. Sagesse  |  October 30, 2010 at 3:49 am

    It bothers me on general principles. If a military chaplain can't minister to the spiritual needs of any sevicemember, without judging them, what good are they.

    Must confess, tho, when Clifford Stanley (undersecretary of defence) listed dealing with the chaplains as one of the significant issues to be resolved in implementing DADT repeal (in his statement attached to DOJ's stay request), I kinda lost it. Even the rights of 450 chaplains matter more than the rights of 66,000 LGBT servicemembers.

    Powerful indeed.

  • 30. Steve  |  October 30, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Let them leave. The military will be a better place for it. A disproportionate amount if military chaplains come from radical, evangelical denominations. Christian indoctrination and things like forced prayers have become a huge problem in the last decade or two. Especially in some places like the Air Force Academy.

  • 31. Kathleen  |  October 30, 2010 at 5:49 am

    I SO agree with this!

  • 32. Bob  |  October 30, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Several denominations have already warned that they may withrdraw the services of their Chaplains, perfect, that would make room for Chaplains from affirming churches to fill their posts, and help with the needed changes in the field, on the ground, this is not a threat , the real threat is the loss of money that would come from those major denominations that now pay for that right to influence the troops, they buy it by the donations (the secret money) funding campaigns, and you can bet a lot of that money comes from foriegn countries where the church has already lost it's power. so they zero in on the repubs in America.
    The real message from those retired chaplains is a warning regarding lack of support from the religious right in terms of MONEY
    Of course we have to wean ourselves off that line of dependancy, the repubs are fighting to keep it tooth and nail. but Obama has already established another source, which comes not from the church or other business source but from $3 donations from ordinary citizens, that's why this is so crucial, and only a beginning step in breaking that cycle of who or how election campaigns are funded. The threat in this messge is to send shivers of fears through the repubs, and make them act crazy, like they are.

    Like Keith Obermann, pleads on his show, are we able to see the reality of what is happening and get the people to the polls in mass, to counter this .

  • 33. Anonygrl  |  October 30, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Another completely OT post here…

    But hey, NOM, should we still let the people vote?

  • 34. Sagesse  |  October 30, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Obviously, their source didn't get the date right for Friday, but perhaps the 9th Circuit will rule on the DADT stay next week? They haven't responded to LCR's request for oral arguments.

    Appellate court likely to rule today on stay of ‘Don’t Ask’ injunction (updated)

  • 35. Kathleen  |  October 30, 2010 at 2:17 am

    I've been watching the docket. The only activity since LCR's answering brief and the amicus briefs were submitted has been routine matters – entering the amici as parties and officially filing all the briefs.

    The Court seems in no hurry to make this decision. There has been nothing to suggest they're accelerating the procedure here. For example, when briefs are submitted, they are officially filed and then parties are given 7 days in which to submit paper copies to the court. That 7 day requirement has not been shortened, and so far only two of the amici have submitted the paper copies.

    I've been particularly watching to see if the Court will grant LCR's request for a hearing. Nothing so far.

  • 36. Sagesse  |  October 31, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Blinding flash of the obvious. They aren't going to decide until after Tuesday. Not to say the courts 'time' their decisions against a political background, but it would be gratuitous to throw this decision out there (whichever way they go) before the election when, as you say, there is no rush.

  • 37. James Sweet  |  October 30, 2010 at 3:57 am

    In fairness, that there is no proper role whatsoever for openly gay people in the military, is the status quo. As stupid and disgusting as that is, I can't get myself too awfully worked up over a TV station treating the status quo as a valid position. (It's not a valid position, but… you know… it's a TV station, and it's the status quo. What do you expect?)

  • 38. Alan E.  |  October 30, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Late to the game.

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