Update: Shame on You WFLA NBC Channel 8!

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Posted on June 29, 2009 - 1:50pm by Anonymous.

Equality Florida members have flooded WFLA with more than a thousand emails and phone calls to express their outrage for running homophobic propaganda on the same night as St. Pete Pride.
Thank you to everyone who took action! We'll be in touch soon with more updates as the story continues to develop.

Here's a piece that ran in the Tampa Tribune on Saturday evening. The text below is the original version of the story that ran. There is currently an updated version on their website with the following paragraph edited out (emphasis added):

"Pumo declined to comment specifically about what went into the decision to air the program, but did admit the show did have a controversial viewpoint. The content did not, however, "raise a red flag" during the vetting procedure, he said."


By KEITH MORELLI
Published: June 27, 2009
TAMPA - A flood of telephone calls and e-mails cascaded into WFLA News Channel 8 on Saturday afternoon and night over the airing of "Silencing Christians," a religious paid program that some say contained open hate speech against gays and lesbians.
Before the hourlong program ended at 8 p.m., the station had logged hundreds of telephone calls and more than 1,000 e-mails, all protesting the broadcast.
Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of Equality Florida, has seen the program and said the message was clearly hate speech.
"I think this program is a piece of homophobic propaganda and it has no place on a major network like NBC," he said just after 7 p.m., as the program was airing.
The show was hosted by author and commentator Janet Parshall who, at the outset, said the homosexual community has established a plan for widespread acceptance at the expense of Christian morals and values.
"And to run it the same day as Gay Pride festival in St. Petersburg just adds insult to injury," Pollitzer said. "While tens of thousands of people in Tampa Bay area are celebrating diversion, WFLA is broadcasting homophobia."
"It's a dangerous show," he said, and stations in other markets have refused to run it because of its controversial content.
Pollitzer said he spoke with station executives around 4 p.m. Saturday and was told the program would be screened and a decision would be made. At 7 p.m., the show aired.
"We hope that advertisers who value diversity will take a long look at the decision to air this program funded by a radical, right-wing fringe element," Pollitzer said. "It's just not the type of thing you'd expect to see when turn on NBC on Saturday evening."
During most of the afternoon and even after the show started, the phones rang nonstop at WFLA.
"We have 20,000 members in the Tampa Bay area," Pollitzer said. "We reached maybe 10,000 through the e-mail network. And, we only sent this to the greater Tampa Bay area, to folks within this media market. All the calls are from people who watch WFLA.
"By broadcasting this homophobia," he said, "WFLA is willing to make a profit off the dehumanization of the Tampa Bay gay and lesbian community."
The thrust of the show, according to a Silencing Christians Web site, is that Christians in America are losing freedoms at the hands of the "liberal minority" which is "undermining the morals and values of mainstream America."
The airing came a day before the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a landmark time in the gay rights movement. The anniversary commemorates the storming of a gay bar in New York by police. The anniversary was marked by the Gay Pride parade and festival Saturday in St. Petersburg.
Before and after the show, the disclaimer that the program was a paid program and that views expressed were not those of WFLA.
Mike Pumo, WFLA general manager and president, Saturday night said the program has aired on other stations around the country and at least one other Media General station. Media General owns WFLA, The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com, along with 17 other television stations, mostly in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic States.
Pumo declined to comment specifically about what went into the decision to air the program, but did admit the show did have a controversial viewpoint. The content did not, however, "raise a red flag" during the vetting procedure, he said.
Reporter Keith Morelli can be reached at (813) 259-7760.

Comments

Brian Amoroso (not verified) says:

July 16, 2009 - 2:47pm

After watching that disgusting video, I will certainly concede to some of the main concepts, that Christian have a right to express their beliefs. Fine, and understandable, they DO NOT however have ANY right "GOD GIVEN" or otherwise to express these beliefs as facts. Children watch these programs and as impressionable young minds they may take these false claims as fact. Much as the KKK and other hate groups have done, these people are preying on the weak minded to recruit. I am an openly straight man and proud of it. I will openly oppose anyone who tries to teach my child that hating people as a group is right in any situation. Everyone has the right to live the way they want to live as long as it doesn't hurt others. Gay people are not asking for special rights, actually quite the opposite. Just asking for the right to be treated as people. And until that day comes My wife, my daughter and myself will never stop voicing our opinions, but we will voice them as opinions, to be taken into consideration. Yes, not a day goes by when we encounter ignorance, and truthfully I would love to slap these people until they woke up, but you can't beat a solution into a problem. You can however take a stand and oppopse ignorant hate mongering such as this video and these people who allowed it to be aired.



ReasonPlease (not verified) says:

June 30, 2009 - 2:25pm

MIKE PUMO, WFLA GENERAL MANAGER AND PRESIDENT,
As if there isn't enough hate towards Gays. The supposed "Christians" think that everyone should live by their bible. This is a completely egocentric and myopic view that is JUST THE KIND OF RIGHT-WING RADICAL THOUGHTS THAT PUSHES THEM TO KILL DOCTORS AND KILL GAY PEOPLE JUST FOR BEING THEMSELVES AND TRUTHFUL. This “one book” the bible, does not rule everyone. Actually if you read it for real it is full of hate, murder, and yes this “God” wiped out and murdered people three different times on the planet. A great example to live by??????????
It is completely unpatriotic and opposite of anything that this country truly stands for to not abide by the separation from Church and State. Do you realize how many gay people are fighting in our police force? Do you realize how many are in our military selflessly fighting for a country that doesn't see them as an EQUAL? The blood of innocent men LIKE RYAN SKIPPER, A LOVED CHILD MURDERED... MATTHEW SHEPARD, ANOTHER LOVED CHILD MURDERED....THE LIST GOES ON.
This whole "reverse psychology" by these bigoted "Christians" is rotten to the core. They have been persecuting gay people since the beginning of their "so called" Genesis. Before this very young religion of Christianity came into written words there where many other native tribes celebrating their sexual diversity. Any of you that are spouting this HATE and IGNORANCE should pick up a different book and get educated in compassion and knowledge of sound science. WFLA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THE FACT THAT THEIR STATION HAS PERPETRATED FALSE AND GROSSLY SKEWED PROPAGANDA. YOU WON'T CATCH ME WATCHING YOUR STATION.
This is not about "freedom of speech" these are outright lies and generalizations that hurt our families safety. The AFA(American Family Association) is behind this and the only "family" they care about is the one that fits their mold perfectly everyone else is persecuted and considered a second class citizen to them.
Any money your station received from this is shameful and wrong putting our Gay families, and community at risk for your reward? Now that is sick.



nobody's fool (not verified) says:

June 30, 2009 - 12:47pm

Free speech does not mean you can air Hate speech. Go hum whatever you want. Your opinion is just that: an opinion. You're quite free to have it. Keep it off the airwaves and stop presenting it as 'fact'.



Anonymous (not verified) says:

June 30, 2009 - 5:26am

What's the opposite of a homophobe? Jez, you guys are just as bad! FREE SPEECH, REMEMBER? You make me want to hum hymnals wherever I go! What about "diversity" of opinion?



Anonymous (not verified) says:

June 29, 2009 - 5:19pm

I don't know about the self-esteem locker but we are going to request paper bags to wear over our heads when we enter or leave the building.



Anonymous (not verified) says:

June 29, 2009 - 5:08pm

On Facebook? Join this group!!!

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=98895567866&ref=nf



Anonymous (not verified) says:

June 29, 2009 - 3:27pm

WFLA has just lost a loyal viewer. Sorry Today Show, Oprah, Law and Order...I will now be watching The Early Show, Ellen and CSI. See, we do have choices and I choose to not reward a bigot TV Station.



stovak (not verified) says:

June 29, 2009 - 2:28pm

I heard Media General actually has company-sponsored locker space in the break room where the employees can store their self-esteem.



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