ABC Attacks Reparative Therapy for Homosexuals

Diane Sawyer spent nearly seven minutes of Good Morning America's April 23 broadcast attacking religious-based reparative therapy for people struggling with homosexual desires. 

Sawyer devoted most of the segment to an interview with Christine Bakke, a 35-year-old lesbian who tried reparative therapy and now claims it doesn't work.  According to Sawyer, “Growing up, Christine Bakke struggled to make sense of what she says were homosexual impulses confused by a sheltered Christian perspective.”


Sawyer lobbed slanted softballs to Bakke, such as, “What would you say to that girl now, about the whole notion, curing, this is in quotes, curing homosexuality, what would you say to her?”  Later in the interview she repeated her verbal scare quotes, saying “the so-called, this is quotes again, 'cures.'” 


Sawyer employed a mocking tone, attempting to paint reparative therapy as ridiculous, when she asked Bakke whether “somebody gathered around you and they prayed that you'd be a girl, you'd like accessories.” 


In contrast, Sawyer permitted Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, an umbrella group for more than 85 ex-gay ministries in the United States and 125 globally, to appear for a total of 4 seconds, saying, “It's not an easy process, but people can choose not to be a homosexual.”  Sawyer never asked Chambers, an ex-gay who is now married with children, to explain what is involved in reparative therapy or to relate any of the many accounts of  people who have overcome homosexual temptation.


Sawyer provided no statistics about the success and failure rates of ex-gay ministries.  Instead, she relied on what she called “informal, unscientific research” performed by Bakke as evidence of the programs' ineffectiveness. 


Ironically, given the lack of factual evidence presented, Sawyer ended the segment by saying, “even as the programs are increasing, a reality check from a woman who came forward.”  


Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.