Tuesday, September 1, 2009

If the media were smarter, they'd ignore Fred Phelps

You've probably heard of the "preacher" Fred Phelps from Topeka, who drags his family around the country protesting same-sex weddings, funerals of gay men, funerals of American soldiers, and anything else he thinks will get him on TV.

You probably know, educated readers that you are, that Fred Phelps represents no one beyond his immediate family. He's a nutball, pure and simple. He's also extremely savvy: most of his family are lawyers, and they try to provoke violence against them in order to manufacture a lawsuit.

You know a reporter is lazy when an article contains a line about"Protesters of gay rights stood outside", and the photo illustrating this point shows Phelps' distinctive signs (huge square fonts, the theme "God Hates ______", and liberal use of the word "fag"). They're easy to spot once you know what they look like. Clearly, a reporter isn't digging hard when the "local protesters" are out-of-town Phelpsers, screaming for attention.

Many folks are wise to Phelps, and greet his demonstrations with creative counter-protests. My favorite is getting people to pledge a small donation to HIV/AIDS charities for every minute he lingers.

Lauren Ober covered today's counter-protest in Vermont, as marriage equality becomes legal there today. (Linked from her pal Alison Bechdel's blog.) Below is my favorite photo from her coverage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Making Light linked to a story with some great counterprotest suggestions for stealing media coverage from the Phelps crew -- "dress up as pirates and say 'Arrrr, mateys'" was my personal favorite.