MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Nails VanderSloot

Rachel Maddow, Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com, Jody May-Chang, Frank VanderSloot, Melaleuca, Mitt Romney,
From Idaho to Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald to MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show

Tonight Rachel Maddow picked up Glenn Greenwald’s Salon.com story that broke last Friday.

Rachel did a brilliant job of describing just how Melaleuca’s CEO, Frank VanderSloot has used his power and wealth to silence his critics, like the bloggers at 43rd State Blues, The Idaho Agenda and recently my four year-old posts on my former blog PrideDEPOT.com.

Here is the video of that segment. If it does not load, you can find it HERE.

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Here is the RAW transcript from the MSNBC website, with some minor corrections, of the VanderSloot portion of the segment:
…then there is Mitt Romney. naturally, he has a lot of billionaires. given who he is, he doesn’t need one. But Glenn Greenwald has been writing about an Idaho’s billionaire who is the financial co-chair. looks like an act of bravery for Glenn and Salon.com to publish anything about the gentleman.

Frank VanderSloot, lives in idaho, in addition to being the finance co-chair for the presidential campaign runs a company which sells all sort of household products. He has involved himself in a number of political causes in Idaho over the years, in what would seem to be a very high profile kind of way, but he has taken a very aggressive stance toward anybody reporting on his political involvements.

For example in 1999, Idaho Public Television planned to air a documentary how elementary school kids were being taught in school about issues of sexual orientation. Mr. VanderSloot led the opposition to the documentary being aired by paying for billboards to be put up railing against the documentary and warning lifestyle.

In 2005, a local newspaper called the “Post Register” ran an award-winning series about how the Boy Scouts organization tried to cover up abuse. The Salon.com revealed how a Mormon bishop knew of one scout leader’s pedophile history yet recommended him as a scout master.

Mr. VanderSloot responded to is that series in that local Idaho paper by taking out this full-page ad in the same paper, attacking the credibility of the reporter, and outing the reporter who broke the story, outing him as a, quote, homosexual.

That reporter, Peter Zuckerman, had not come out to his friends and neighbors in Idaho, yet, and according to his editor, after those full-page ads started running, strangers started ringing his bell at midnight and his partner of five years was fired from his job. His rise to prominence has led other people to report on his political activity and raise questions about whether or not his politics, particularly on gay rights issues, are shared by the candidates that he supports.

A number of reporters who have raised those questions have very quickly found themselves to be targets of Mr. VanderSloot’s lawyers. In February, a blogger with the website called “The Idaho Agenda” wrote a piece titled, “Romney Receives Big Money from Idaho’s Not-So-Gay-Friendly Melaleuca Company.”

After publishing that piece, that blogger accused an accusatory letter and then he received a follow-up e-mail demanding compliance. When the blogger e-mailed back to say he was working on a response, the lawyer responded, we really need to address this issue today or else we will have to consider escalating this issue to a much more serious level.

Similarly, back in 2007, an independent journalist in Idaho authored a piece on Mr. VanderSloot’s support for Idaho’s current republican Senator, James Rich. She talked about Mr. VanderSloot’s involvement in that gay documentary that was to be aired on Idaho Public Television. For that dip into true history, she, too, said she received a warning letter from Mr. VanderSloot’s lawyers accusing her of defamation. She also included the official photograph of VanderSloot taken from the Melaleuca’s website. And then she received a letter accusing her of copy right infringement for using the [photo].

After another website writing about Mr. VanderSloot, Melaleuca responded by obtaining an after-the-fact copyright certificate for the lawyer’s letter, then demanded that the hosting company remove the letter from the website on that website. Then they sued for having published the now copyrighted lawyer’s letter without their concept.

This is the national finance co-chair for the Mitt Romney for president campaign. And this is what we know about his activism, his political views, and his apparent strategy for dealing with people who report on him. But he also serves as a good general reminder, billionaires have always had a ton of weight to throw around in this country, going back to the days of the copper kings of Montana  right?

And they have always used that weight for all sorts of reasons. including, trying to shape what we are able to know about how exactly they throw their weight around. but now in this post – Citizens United world we are living in, these billionaires, who frankly have never been wanting for influence in the country in the first place, now in this post-citizens unite world, they are the one we’ve decided to also hand our elections over to. Because they needed that.

VIDEO: Bryan Fischer – THE PROPAGANDIST

The Propagandist is an in-depth investigative piece about Fischer’s history in Idaho written for the Southern Poverty Law Center by Idaho journalists Jody May-Chang and Jill Kuraitis, both of whom have closely followed Fischer’s activities for many years. The article is included in a 23-page report issued by the SPLC Oct. 10, 2011 Oct 14, 2011 May-Chang discusses Fischer and the SPLC Report on Fox talk radio KLIX 1310, Twin Falls Idaho. To hear the entire KLIX interview and download the full report, “THE PROPAGANDISTS: Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association & the Demonization of LGBT People”, please visit: http://may-chang.com/?p=3686

PODCAST: KLIX “Top Story” with Jody May-Chang Discussing Bryan Fischer & SPLC Report

Play
Independent journalist Jody May-Chang discusses the Southern Poverty Law Center Report: THE PROPAGANDISTS: Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association & the Demonization of LGBT People on Fox talk radio KLIX 1310, Twin Falls Idaho. Download the full Southern Poverty Law Center Report Here! Jody May-Chang, Bryan Fischer, Southern Poverty Law Center, American Family Association, AFA, SPLC, LGBT, Jill Kuraitis, KLIX, Radio, Fox, 1310, Twin Falls, Idaho

Boise Journalists Write for SPLC National Report on Bryan Fischer

BOISE, ID – On Monday October 10 there will be a press conference in Tupelo, MS a 11:00am CDT where Mark Potok, Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Intelligence Project will unveil an explosive new special report” “THE PROPAGANDISTS: Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association & the Demonetization of LGBT People.” With an executive summary by Potok, The Propagandist was written for the SPLC by Idaho journalists Jody May-Chang and Jill Kuraitis. Other elements by the SPLC staff also contribute to the report. The press conference will kick-off a Give Hate A Holiday demonstration and march. Events conclude with a public screening of the acclaimed documentary film Out In The Silence, exposing homophobia in the deep south. Sponsored by the ACLU of Mississippi, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Equality Federation and many other regional LGBT and progressive organizations, the goal is to raise visibility and public awareness on issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Mississippi and throughout the South and rural America. Why Tupelo? It is headquarters for the American Family Association, a political Christian extremist organization recently designated by the SPLC as a hate group. AFA’s hate group status is due in large part to Idaho’s not so favorite son, and former executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance, Bryan Fischer’s prolific anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim remarks. Since leaving Idaho in July 2009, Fischer’s radio show is broadcasted daily across the country on 145 AFA owned Christian radio stations. Fischer has brought an incredibly vitriolic voice to the organization where he has continued to perpetuate such falsehoods like, Hitler and the Nazi’s were gay, and Mormons do not have freedom of religion. After the report’s release, it will be available on the SPLC website splcenter.org and will appear in the Winter Issue of the Intelligence Report. Look for updates on The Propagandist posted here and on TheFischerFiles.com.

National Media Watchdog Mag Publishes May-Chang’s
“IDAHOMOPHOBIA”

The May 2011 issue of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR’s) magazine Extra! is now hitting newsstands and includes Idahomophobia; In a conservative media market, anti-LGBT bias still thrives. Idaho independent journalist, Jody May-Chang, explores the most extreme stories where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been misrepresented, vilified and dehumanized by Idaho media. May-Chang writes:
“Idaho coverage suffers from a lack of diverse sources, unchallenged arguments, sensationalized and even contrived stories that perpetuate LGBT stereotypes and misinform the public. LGBT issues here are generally undercovered, and outspoken homophobes have been given prominent platforms in local media (see The Fischer Files, may-chang.com). But perhaps the most egregious reporting comes when presumed criminality is involved.”
Jody May-Chang Idahomophobia FAIR Extra! May 2011Extra! accepts NO outside advertising–so your support is vital to continuing FAIR’s work of presenting well-documented media criticism.Get a your subscription HERE! The May 2011 issue will not be fully available online until August 2011. Order your copy HERE! Just $4.95 and includes shipping. FAIR is a progressive national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. Working to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press, FAIR scrutinizes media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints, exposes neglected news stories and defends working journalists when they are muzzled.

Exporting Homophobia: American far-right conservative churches establish influence on anti-gay policy in Africa

UPDATE: May 7, 2011 Exporting Homophobia took 2nd place at the Idaho Press Club’s Best of 2010 banquet category: Weekly Print Media Watchdog / Investigative Report

What other’s are saying about Exporting Homophobia

“I was curious enough to do some research, and came across your excellent article. We’ve known for a long time about the U.S. Evangelical right exerting it’s influence in Africa…Thank you for shedding light on a truly troubling, frightening in fact, subject.” Michelle Faul, Chief Africa Correspondent, Associated Press
“Some of Jody May-Chang’s story on homophobia in Uganda you’ve heard before. If you’ve read any of writer Jeff Sharlet’s work on The Family, or heard him on NPR’s Fresh Air, much of what you’ll read in “Exporting Homophobia” will not surprise you. This month, Sharlet is back on the airwaves and back on stands with a follow-up, and May-Chang interviewed him earlier this year as that work was just going public. It’s a dense read, but one I think is worthy of the page space and your time.” — Rachel Daigle, Editor-in-Chief Boise Weekly

Exporting Homophobia: American far-right conservative churches establish influence on anti-gay policy in Africa — Gay Ugandans face daily fear for their lives

By Jody May-Chang ©2010 NEWS FEATURE STORY Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Sept. 08, 2010 Boise Weekly Feature Story Exporting Homophobia Jody May-ChangPeter Yiga is a Ugandan born-again Christian with a degree in computer engineering. He is the father of a young child and is also a known gay activist in a country that is on a witch hunt. In February, Yiga attended a human rights conference in the capital city of Kampala. “I saw a member of parliament who attended, talking very bitter and vowing to kill everyone–including their sons and daughters–if they were proved homosexuals,” he told BW by Internet video conference from Uganda. Yiga described how he and his friends are psychologically tortured and forced to endure daily warnings and promises of being hunted down and killed. “The church and other leaders have done a lot to brainwash people, and all the community now is readily spitting fire against homosexuality. They are planning to kill or panga [machete] us. We have been running from house to house because when a neighborhood learns about your orientation, then you should expect mob justice anytime,” he said. Although homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since the colonial era, there has been an unprecedented escalation of hatred fueled by Uganda’s pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. If passed in its present form, the wide-ranging legislation calls for the death penalty for gays and lesbians who engage in sex and are HIV positive, have committed the offense of homosexuality more than once, have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a sexual encounter or one partner has a disability. For other, less “aggravated” offenses, they face life in prison.

Boise LGBT Pride Grows Bigger Every Year

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang By Jody May-Chang Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com June 23, 2010 Gay Pride Rainbow FlagNearly 1,500 people gathered on the steps of the Statehouse on June 19 to celebrate the 17th annual Pride, the one day a year when LGBT friends and allies are free to openly express pride in themselves, their families and their community. A short rally opened the day’s events. Monica Hopkins, Executive Director of ACLU Idaho was the keynote speaker (video below). Hopkins addressed a diverse crowd that included everyone from young families to senior citizens and who came from as far as Idaho Falls and Portland. She emphasized the need for people to “come out” and “work diligently on public policy issues.” With the recent closing of the Idaho Women’s Network and Idaho Equality, that leaves the ACLU as the only statewide organization working directly on LGBT public policy issues. After the rally, the mile-long parade—led by the hallmark rainbow balloon arch, followed by an 80-foot tall rainbow flag—marched to the festivities at Ann Morrison Park. Boise Pride’s executive director, Tom Thompson, estimated overall attendance at 7,500. At a cost of $30,000 to put on, early estimates indicate a small profit from the festival as a result of the first ever $1 gate fee. Some festival goers complained about the fence that encircled the crowd but Thompson says it was required for liability and security issues and provides accurate attendance figures to prospective sponsors and vendors. Over the years, protesters have always been present, carrying signs and chanting, but for the first time in Boise Pride history no anti-gay protesters showed. Many view that as a positive sign of progress. BW talked to a number of people for the video below, asking what people think are the most pressing issues facing Idaho’s LGBT community and how Boise compares to other communities in terms of being LGBT friendly.

Thank the Idaho media for Bryan Fischer’s national celebrity

COMMENTARY By Jody May-Chang ©2010 Bryan Fischer AFA FRC ActioinBryan Fischer is well-known in Idaho. To some he is a hero of “family values,” but to many he is a living, breathing example of what is wrong with America. Fischer is the pitchman for contempt and the poster boy for intolerance. The man’s obsession with and hatred of homosexuals is well documented, but recently he has been gaining national attention. Fischer’s visceral scorn for gays was rarely, if ever, challenged by the Idaho news media that ran to him for a quote as if he was the anointed representative of all that is Christian in Idaho. He was essentially considered a “balanced” voice to oppose gays in Idaho. Fischer is now climbing into the national spotlight to brand homosexuals and others who don’t fit into his narrow view of the world as threats that should be locked up or perhaps even executed. This past year, he was hoisted into the national spotlight when he was included in MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person segment for his xenophobic rant that called on banning Muslims from the serving in the U.S. military following the Fort Hood tragedy. More recently Fischer has been calling for the national criminalization of homosexuality, comparing gays to everything from IV drug users to murderers. This fact was brought out by Fox News’s Alan Colmes who called out Bryan Fischer on is daily radio show. Colmes did what no reporter or editor in Idaho had the common sense, guts, or journalistic integrity to do when it came to Bryan Fischer – Colmes held him accountable for his words and pressed him with hard questions! Continue reading