Anatomy of a Right Wing Outrage

If you haven’t heard about the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco yet, chances are you will be hearing about it soon.  As such, it provides a good opportunity to take a look at how the Right manages to create controversies and propel them into the media.

It starts off with a group like Concerned Women for America finding something it takes offense at – in this case, a provocative flyer for the Folsom Street Fair


CWA then sends out a press release calling attention to it while decrying the offense and issuing demands for various organizations and public figures to join them in repudiating it and for the media cover it:

“A picture’s worth a thousand words,” said Matt Barber, Policy Director for Cultural Issues with Concerned Women for America (CWA). “Scripture says that God is not mocked, yet it doesn’t stop people from trying. As evidenced by this latest stunt, open ridicule of Christianity is unfortunately very common within much of the homosexual community.

“We’re calling on California’s elected officials – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Governor Schwarzenegger and Senators Feinstein and Boxer – to publicly condemn this unprovoked attack against Christ and His followers. We further challenge the media to cover this affront to Christianity with the same vigor as recent stories about cartoon depictions of Mohammed and other items offensive to the Muslim community.

“The mainstream media should cover this event with cameras in hand. There’s an unbelievable news story here. The Folsom Street Fair is reminiscent of Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, and the media should document exactly what the city of San Francisco is allowing to occur – in public – in the name of ‘tolerance.'”

Then others in the right-wing movement jump on the bandwagon, amping up the language while issuing their own statements, allegations, and demands:

Once again, San Francisco prepares for the perverted Folsom Street Fair where homosexuals, sadomasochists and others gather for public displays of nudity, beatings, group sex and public masturbation — PART TAX PAYER FUNDED — with police just standing by and watching.

Stephen Bennett, president of SBM and a former homosexual said, “This is the most vile, vulgar and disgusting public display of filth I have ever seen in my life. There is no doubt a double standard when Christians and Christianity are mocked by homosexuals and degenerates in such a blatant, vile and sick way. Where is the media outrage over this event? We Christians will no longer tolerate this abuse nor be silent.

“As Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America broke this story calling upon California’s officials to take action, I am also calling upon every major media outlet from CNN, to FOX News to CBS, NBC and ABC News to alert the public to this horrific story to show what truly goes on in this sex ‘street fair’ in possible view of children.”

Bennett ended, “I call upon the homosexual Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, GLSEN, and the Gay and Lesbian Task Force to publicly condemn this blatant mockery of Christians and Christianity by some within their community, and condemn this sick public display of immoral behavior. I call upon the Miller Brewing Company to pull their endorsement of this event. I call for the organizers of this filth to immediately apologize to Christians worldwide and remove this Last Supper mockery. I also call upon every law abiding official and citizen in America who has any morals to do what they can to shut down this Folsom Street ‘Filth’ Fair once and for all.”

So now not only do the people behind the flyer have to answer for it, so do national leaders, gay rights organizations, and the media.  

Then the “controversy” gets picked up by right-wing media outlets which produce articles on it while giving other right-wing figures an opportunity to weigh in and discuss the impact the outrage is having:

The Miller Brewing Company, a sponsor of this weekend’s homosexual “leather” street fair in San Francisco, has asked to have its logo removed from an advertising poster that has offended some Christians.

In response to the ad, Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth (AFT) — an organization that says it aims to expose and counter “the homosexual activist agenda” — said the homosexual movement contains a strong anti-Christian element.

That segment “feels the need to shake its fist at God in the most grotesque and unseemly way,” he told Cybercast News Service on Tuesday. “And this is the worst of it.”

And then it ends up … where else … on Fox News:

And that is how right-wing groups and their allied media outlets manage to transform a flyer for an event in San Francisco into a national issue.