Fox News, the Robert Murdoch-owned
television network, has rejected an ad that features Canadian and
Australian military leaders talking about the lifting of their gay
bans as nonevents.
In the ad, Major General Walter
Semianiw, chief of military personnel in the Canadian Forces, says:
“There is no negative impact of having men and women of any sexual
orientation fighting together, be it in Afghanistan, be it in Iraq.”
“The lifting of the homosexual ban is
a bit like Y2K. It was a nonevent, and it continues to be a
nonevent,” Major General Simon Willis (retired), the former head of
defense personnel in the Australian Defense Force, says. (The video
is embedded in the right panel of this page.)
Both men made their comments during a
May 19 panel in Washington D.C.
The ad, titled Business as Usual,
is produced by the Palm Center, a think tank at the University of
California at Santa Barbara that studies “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,”
the Pentagon policy that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving
openly. The group's director, Aaron Belkin, said he hoped the
network would reconsider.
“I am surprised that Fox News would
reject an ad featuring allied generals, given that both host Bill
O'Reilly and guest contributor Liz Cheney have expressed support for
open gay service,” Belkin said.
According to watchdog group Media
Matters for America, Fox News objected to the ad's opening line: “As
the military prepares to end 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' our NATO allies
have told us what to expect … Business as usual.”
“'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is still on
hold, so claiming the military is planning repeal is incorrect,” an
email from Fox News' ad department reads.
Top military leaders and President
Barack Obama have called on Congress to end the ban.