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Good Morning America on Conversion Therapy

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Zach, the blog kid who was forced into the fake "straight camp" program Love in Action and told he should be ashamed of himself by his parents is getting out tomorrow. That's what prompted at least two major stories on these scams. CNN last night ran a poor story that didn't even peg itself to the massive web story of Zach and his imminent departure.

This morning, GMA did virtually the same story, but a bit better. (Hey, I'm a late riser and just got around to watching it.) It talked about Zach and quoted from his blog, used clips from The 700 Club of the boy's awful parents (try loving the children you have rather than telling your kids they're awful, folks) and emphasized the dangers to children being forced into this scam. Diane Sawyer also noted wryly that the head of the program struggles with gay desires himself and questioned his ridiculous claims of a 65% success rate.

Strikingly, GMA used the same expert from the APA but got a better quote about the dangers of this debunked and misleading practice. They also interviewed the same young man CNN did who went through the program and rejects it but embraces faith and his new boyfriend side by side with a young man who "graduated" and now works for LIA. (Pity their initials aren't LIE.)

Still, GMA failed to provide context about conversion therapy, how it was founded by two men who ultimately declared their love for each other, admitted it was all a fraud and are now married and campaign against it. GMA failed to note how the rare "success stories" trumpeted by the far right have proven to be failures time and time again. GMA failed to speak to the many experts who have studied these groups or make clear how health professionals can have nothing to do with them or potentially lose their license for endangering the health of a client.

GMA failed to emphasize how these groups have already admitted defeat -- they used to claim they could turn people straight; now apparently everyone admits they're still gay and struggle with desire but just try not to act on it. That's a far cry from what they used to believe -- it admits the fundamental point that being gay is not a choice, something they used to deny heatedly. GMA also failed to tie the hatred these parents have for their own children to the trial of a man in Florida who killed his three year old son because he feared the boy was gay and literally tried to beat it out of him.

Imagine doing a story on teen steroid use and spending equal time with the people who extoll its virtues rather than devoting most air time to the vast majority of the medical and scientific community that condemn it. GMA did a little better job than CNN, but it could have accomplished much more.

NOTE: here are some links to learn more. Disinformation, a Salon story and an HRC report. You can also check out Wayne Besen's expose "Anything But Straight."

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