Who are Experts on DADT and Who are Provacateurs?

Earlier in the day, I saw a quote from Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council saying sodomy laws was “wrongly decided” and that homosexual behavior should be outlawed.  I had to do a second take because I couldn’t figure out why he was being interviewed.  Turns out, he was on Hardball discussing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with Aubrey Sarvis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Apparently, Chris Matthews was confused as I was about why Sprigg was on the show.  About three minutes in, Matthews asks why Sprigg doesn’t know details about gays and lesbians in the military and Sprigg doesn’t have an answer.

But why was Sprigg invited in the first place?  Why did Hardball invite someone with no expertise on the military to discuss the specific issue of DADT with the head of a group whose sole mission is assisting LGBT service members?

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Spriggs was not the only Family Research Council official to make the DADT rounds today. On CNN, FRC head Tony Perkins was featured in a discussion with Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America. Again, Perkins showed he had little understanding of DADT or the military and his main arguments focused on the “homosexual agenda.”

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On FRC’s website, Sprigg is described as an authority on “marriage and family, human sexuality, the arts and entertainment, and religion in public life.” Perkins is credited with leading “the way in defending religious freedom in the public square, protecting the unborn and their mothers, defending and strengthening one man/one woman marriage and promoting pro-family public policy.”

What’s missing is expertise in military policy or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. So why have them on at all?

I understand the attraction to provocative voices and realize they make good television. And I actually wouldn’t see a problem with Sprigg and Perkins talking about general LGBT politics and their opposition. But were the no more persuasive and informed voices supporting DADT? No military experts or people who have done research on the topic.

Note, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be DADT supporters on MSNBC and CNN. I’m saying there should be better ones and that opposing gays as a general policy principle for your organization doesn’t make you the best choice for an informed discussion or fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues.

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