CNN promoted hate crimes legislation this morning on Newsroom, when it aired a video of singer Cyndi Lauper speaking about her hero, homosexual activist Cathy Nelson.
Using the hook of CNN's “Heroes” Special scheduled to air on Thanksgiving, anchor Tony Harris introduced the video with “We've also asked some familiar faces to share the spotlight and introduce us to their heroes. Today, Grammy award winner Cyndi Lauper tells us about a human rights activist fighting for all Americans.”
Of course, Lauper's hero is most concerned with one specific group of Americans: homosexuals.
The video featured Lauper saying such things as “hate crimes send terror through a community” and “you can die just because of who you are.” Nelson added, “Lesbian and gay; bisexual and transgender equality is really the civil rights issue of this generation” and “what drives me is fighting for fairness and equality.”
While Nelson acknowledged in the video that “in 1989 [she] went to work for the Human Rights Campaign,” a homosexual activist group, the video and a companion article on cnn.com failed to note that she is currently HRC's vice-president of development and membership. The transcript obtained from CNN's Web site listed Nelson as a “community crusader.”
Nobody suggests that people should live in fear of intimidation or possible death “because of who you are.” However, hate crimes legislation comes with serious repercussions that were completely ignored by CNN.
As noted by CMI Director Robert Knight back in 2005, hate crimes legislation:
Lays the groundwork for a severe threat to religious freedom.
Expands federal power enormously into cases traditionally handled by the states.
Creates “thought crime,” which has no place in American law.
Violates the concept of equal protection under the law.
Tempts law enforcement agencies to give some crime victims' cases more priority than others.
Brings hate crime politics into the schools.
The full transcript from CNN is below:
TONY HARRIS, anchor: CNN's Top 10 heroes of 2008 have been revealed. And you can go online right now to choose which one of them you want to be the hero of the year.
We've also asked some familiar faces to share the spotlight and introduce us to their heroes. Today, Grammy award winner Cyndi Lauper tells us about a human rights activist fighting for all Americans.
VOICE OF JAMES EARL JONES, NARRATOR: This is CNN Heroes.
CYNDI LAUPER, GRAMMY AWARD WINNING ARTIST: Hate crimes send terror through a community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shepherd was left for dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never been attacked like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-two swastikas were found --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a random act of ignorance and violence.
LAUPER: You could die just because of who you are. I'm Cyndi Lauper. And my hero is Cathy Nelson because she fights for the rights of all people. Straight and gay.
CATHY NELSON, COMMUNITY CRUSADER (voice-over): Lesbian and gay; bisexual and transgender, equality is really the civil rights issue of this generation.
NELSON (on camera): I'm a lesbian and see the issues very personally.
NELSON (voice-over): In 1989, I went to work for the Human Rights Campaign.
NELSON (on camera): This looks great. I really like it.
NELSON (voice-over): Events are a vital part of what we do. It's raising the visibility of the issues that we're working on.
MARGARET CHO, COMEDIAN: Please welcome Cyndi Lauper!
NELSON: Cyndi's 2007 True Colors tour was an amazing opportunity to educate about the upcoming hate crime bill in Congress.
LAUPER: She had this whole idea of we could take a postcard and send it to your Congressman.
NELSON (on camera): Becoming an activist starts with one simple step.
LAUPER: We've got to erase hate. It's a lose-lose situation. It opens your eyes and lets you know about things that are going on right now that we could change.
NELSON: And what drives me is fighting for fairness and equality.
LAUPER: Cathy has helped a lot of people and don't take any bows for it. And that's a hero.
EARL: Vote now on CNN.com/heroes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: And as you just heard James Earl Jones say, you can go to cnn.com/heroes right now to vote for the hero who inspires you the most. They will be honored at an all-star tribute hosted by Anderson Cooper Thanksgiving night right here on CNN.
Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the