An acknowledgment that NPR could have
done “a better job” on an “ex-gay” story has failed to
mollify its critics.
The Monday report by NPR correspondent
Alix Spiegel featured two men who entered programs that seek to
“cure” gay men and lesbians, mostly through the use of prayer.
NPR claimed that allegations that the
Christian counseling centers run by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann
and her husband Marcus Bachmann practice so-called “reparative”
therapy prompted the story.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD) took issue with the story's presentation.
“The report claimed that the debate
about so-called 'conversion therapy' continues in psychological
circles. The fact is that all the major psychological and medical
associations in the United States have stated that such treatment is
ineffective and harmful. The story highlighted only two individuals,
Rich Wyler and Peterson Toscano. Both men endured so-called 'ex-gay'
programs, but have very different views on the validity of such
programs. With only two individual stories, NPR gave the false
impression that the general population is split on so-called
On Thursday, NPR conceded that “we
could have done a better job on this story,” but pretty much stood
by its reporting.
“Spiegel and [Editor Anne] Gudenkauf
clearly worked hard on this story,” wrote
Edward Schumacher-Matos, an NPR ombudsman. “They simply made
some wrong assumptions about what most of us know about sexuality and
at ReligionDispatches.org, Candace Chellew-Hodge labeled NPR's
apology a “non-apology.”
“So, instead of apologizing for
incomplete reporting they're saying it's the listener's fault for not
knowing enough about the topic,” she wrote.
The report was also criticized for not
disclosing the fact that Rich Wyler is behind the “ex-gay” group
Can Change, whose tag line
is: “Men who have resolved unwanted same-sex
attractions supporting others seeking similar change.” The group's
Journey Into Manhood 2-night retreat costs $650. Wyler's “touch”
therapy is considered controversial even within the “ex-gay”
“GLAAD calls on NPR to correct this
misleading story and share the factual information concerning the
ineffectiveness and harm caused by so-called 'ex-gay' program,” the