Wouldn’t it be wonderful if activists had integrity? Unfortunately, most of them don’t, and I only say “most” because I haven’t checked all of them. Virtually all that I have checked spin, distort facts, and lie outright, because the ends justify the means to them, and they, of course, are Right. It’s the Saint’s Excuse. Lies that advance the cause are benign.
The latest disgraceful example of wilful deception in support of a passionately felt cause came from the LGBT publication “The Advocate,” as well as many Democratic and progressive news sources. They all chose to deliberately misrepresent what the President’s spokesperson said about his position was on The Great Cake Controversy…all the better to rev up hate and fear among their readers. You see a typical example in the label to the video above. “Sarah Sanders: Trump OK with businesses hanging anti-gay signs.” She did not say that. The video proves she did not say that. She was asked if the President agreed with the Solicitor General in his oral argument before the Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case when he said that it would be lawful and possible for a baker to hang a sign saying, “We don’t bake cakes for gay weddings.” She said yes. Of course yes. The government’s case is that a baker should not be forced to “participate/endorse” a ceremony that his religion declares morally wrong, and thus is not discriminating by refusing to make cakes for same sex weddings, as long as the baker does not generally discriminate in providing service on the basis of sexual orientation. If the Court agrees, then a baker such as the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop can legally follow the dictates of his faith and not make same- sex wedding cakes, and if he isn’t selling them, he not only could but should inform potential same-sex couples of that fact.
This is not, by any fair assessment, an “antigay sign.” It makes no antigay assertions at all. The statement is false. Unequivocally, intentionally false.
Sarah Sanders: Trump OK With Businesses Hanging Antigay Signs was also the headline in the Advocate, the supposedly professional pro-gay publication. It even went further:
President Trump’s press secretary said her boss would have no problem with businesses hanging antigay signs that explicitly state they don’t serve LGBT customers.
Hours after oral arguments concluded in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case — where a Colorado baker argued to the Supreme Court that his religion allows him to refuse service to gay people — Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was confronted on legalized discrimination during today’s White House press briefing.
“The lawyer for the solicitor general’s office for the administration said today in the Supreme Court if it would be legal, possible for a baker to put a sign in his window saying we don’t bake cakes for gay weddings,” The New York Times‘s Michael Shear asked. “Does the president agree that that would be ok?”
“The president certainly supports religious liberty and that’s something he talked about during the campaign and has upheld since taking office,” Sanders replied.
When pressed on whether that included support for signs that deny service to gay people, Sanders responded: “I believe that would include that.”
This is, as reported, 100% fake news. Sanders did not say that the President supported merchants hanging signs “that explicitly state they don’t serve LGBT customers.” The question involved signs that explicitly state that a specific product is not sold. They are not the same thing. The baker did NOT argue that he had the right to refuse service to gay people. That is a factually false misrepresentation of the case and the dispute. He argues that he cannot be required to participate in a marriage that his religion opposes. Indeed, his position would be the same if two straight men wanted a wedding cake.
Finally, it is clear from the tape that the last sentence is complete fabrication. “I believe that would include that” is part of the answer to the original question. The reporter soke over her–I listened six times—and to claim that it was a separate answer to what ever was asked while she was talking is despicable. If anyone can discern that she heard a second question “on whether that included support for signs that deny service to gay people,” then this is auditory confirmation bias.
I saw the Advocate link when it was posted by an otherwise smart, fair gay friend in the theater community, and the post launched an orgy of anti-Trump hate. I doubt any of them bothered to watch the video. They have been conditioned to assume the worst about the President, so are vulnerable to any misrepresentation that feed their biases. The same is true of immigrants and blacks: they are the constant target of dishonest anti-Trump propaganda, and no longer apply any tests of accuracy and fairness at all.
As for activists like The Advocate, this is how to lose debates, not win them. I support the LGBT position on gay marriage, and I lean toward the community position on wedding cakes, though it’s a closer call than I originally thought. I do not like being on sides that lie, or try to win by cheating, however. If an activist can’t win an argument using the real facts rather than fabricated or distorted ones, I start to wonder if the other side is right after all.