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Julie Banderas Strays From The Fox Reservation?

Reported by Chrish - May 27, 2007 -

NOTE: Guest blogged by Priscilla

Once in a blue moon, something is said on Fox that leaves one saying wha…..??? I was truly stunned and amazed by what appeared to be a deviation from Fox orthodoxy on the part of Julie Banderas last night 5/26/07 during the Big Story.

I was expecting some real red Fox meat when Banderas previewed the upcoming topics, the chief of which was “fired because of the 'don’t ask, don’t tell' policy. Is this putting our nation at risk?” (Comment: I was expecting that the Fox position would be that those who oppose the policy were the “riskers.”) Banderas then said that she would be speaking to a former sailor and translator and would also be taking e-mails (Comment: I’m thinking more red meat from the Fox audience).

The program began with seven boring minutes of night footage of the Tripoli refugee enclave being bombarded by the Lebanese army all while Steve Harrigan was explaining that the enclave continued to be bombarded. During a commercial break, before a segment about another missing white woman, Banderas again previewed the segment about the fired gay soldier. I couldn’t believe that I was watching Fox when Banderas said “the military are in desperate need of Arabic language specialists who help with the war on terror; but dozens are being fired because they’re gay.” The feeling that I had entered into an alternate reality was reinforced when she read an e-mail from a heterosexual soldier who said that he would be “honored to be joined by a homosexual on the front line.” (Comment: Does Ailes know about this seeming apostasy!!)

Banderas began the piece about the fired translator by explaining the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and noted that some lawmakers are questioning the policy. While she interviewed a fired translator, Jason Knight, the chyron read “Can the Pentagon afford to lose Arabic linguists?” Knight, a Hebrew linguist, recounted how he couldn’t live a lie and told his superior officers that he was gay. This prompted his discharge under the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy.” However, he was recalled to the military and spent a year in Kuwait and is being discharged again. (Stars and Stripes magazine has a good summary of his situation.)

Banderas then read another e-mail form a straight soldier who said that he “had no problem serving with a homosexual battle buddy so long as they were expected to perform the same as everybody else. If they can do their job well and do everything as of part of team, what does it matter what they do behind closed doors. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – how and where you experience these freedoms weren’t part of the bargain.” Knight noted that this e-mail was consistent with the support that he received from his peers. He said that gays in the military are taught the same values of professionalism and respect for their job and “we all do it as well as everybody else and have every right to serve our country as well as anybody else.” To this eloquent statement, Julie Banderas, Fox employee, said “absolutely.”

Comment: After all the Fox Rosie bashing which, on another level, is gay bashing, I was shocked by this display of tolerance on the part of a Fox News person. (Would that they could all could be this rational!) If Ailes is OK with this (!!!), does this imply that Fox is moving towards acceptance of diversity and tolerance? Have they done an opinion poll that shows that homophobia is not as popular as it once was? This reasoned approach to the issue of gays in the military was worthy of NPR and certainly not the Fox that we all know and love. Will Banderas end up in “rehab” where she will be re-programmed according to the gospel of the right wing?

At any rate, considering that this is Memorial Day Weekend – a time to honor the service of those who served and continue to serve honorably – this affirmation that gays in the military also serve honorably is fitting. One small step for Fox; one very big step for those in the gay community who, like their heterosexual counterparts, wear the uniform with dignity and pride.

NOTE: Guest blogged by Priscilla