What’s More Important: Gangnam Style or Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill?

Media Matters for America, a progressive watchdog center tracking conservative media misinformation, compared different news networks’ coverage of the viral song Gangnam Style to coverage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill up for consideration in Uganda.

What’s wrong with this picture?



About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    Wow, nothing from Fox News? I guess that’s pretty typical. People I knew would typically react to this stuff by saying that they definitely don’t believe gays should be killed or anything…but it’s still wrong to be gay, so…
    They can’t support it but they won’t speak against it. I guess if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all right?

  • C Peterson

    Nothing is wrong here. It simply reflects reality: more people are affected by, and interested in, social trends than in obscure little countries that they feel no connection to. I’m not even sure this is a bad thing. How could the news even work if coverage volume was tied only to the atrocity of the story, and not also to the number of people affected? I question whether charts like that above actually convey any useful information at all.

    Frankly, I’m surprised (pleasantly) that the Uganda story got as much coverage as it did.

    • cathouseumbrella

      I’m not sure I’d describe Uganda as an “obscure little country”, it’s about the size of Canada in terms of population.

      • C Peterson

        But the reality is, the vast majority of Africa is obscure to most people in the world. Would you prefer “obscure big country”? What happens in Africa tends to stay in Africa, unless it’s South Africa or Mediterranean Africa. Even news of genocide, as in Sudan and Rwanda, often doesn’t rise to wide awareness in the rest of the world until years after it begins.

        (I’m not saying that’s a good thing… but the news reports what the people are interested in.)

        • cathouseumbrella

          I don’t think either of us can speak for most people in the world. But I do know that 1 in 7 humans live in Africa so I find it pretty hard to believe that most of it is “obscure”.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

          What happens in Africa tends to stay in Africa

          and here your ignorance is helpful in demonstrating my point.

          the reason the Ugandan ‘kill the gays’ bill matters is because Americans, specifically far right wing theocratic american religious leaders and politicians, have given money, support, and other valuable contributions which have in turn led to the Ugandan political set responsible for the bill getting the cover they need to avoid the international pressure that might stop the bill.

          go do a little googling. you’ll see that over and over again, prestigious american leaders and religious figures have thrown their considerable weight behind the effort to imperil Ugandan gays. it’s not only deplorable, it involved your tax dollars, and worse still, it’s a testing ground for what they want to do here. a successful ‘kill the gays’ bill passed in Uganda today increases the likelihood that such could be passed elsewhere, not just in africa, but anywhere that money, propaganda, and the ignorance of the rest of the world can contribute.

          i do not watch TV news, having learned long ago that it is a poor source if i want to be aware of things more important than some entertainment trend. and there are many, many things more important than entertainment trends. i encourage you to spend more time looking into them, beginning with independent and international media sources that aren’t controlled by giant media corporations.

          • C Peterson

            Where did I remotely suggest that the “kill gays” bill in Uganda doesn’t matter, or isn’t an important issue?

            I don’t think you read what I wrote. You certainly made no effort to understand it.

            • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

              Nothing is wrong here.

              your words, verbatim.

              • C Peterson

                Nothing is wrong here.

                your words, verbatim.

                The reference was obviously to the degree of news coverage (which is what the original post was about), not the situation in Uganda.

                You need to wear a bicycle helmet when you read my posts, since you’re likely to give yourself a concussion with those mighty knee jerks!

          • http://www.bricewgilbert.blogspot.com Brice Gilbert

            This. If you are unaware of the extreme support that Americans (and American politicians) are giving to this bill then the slim coverage IS a problem.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            Well said. I’ve noticed a few times over the last year that, like, we’d be discussing some event or another for a week or three by the time it hits the mainstream news. I’m guessing that’s why so much ends up being “obscure” to a frighteningly large number of Americans.

        • good_creon

          The fact that more people are interested in a terrible viral video than the lives of other human beings might be part of what’s wrong with the picture.

          I get what you’re saying. It’s a two-way street, and the news media is trying to report on things that they think people will watch. But “affected” is a bit a a strong word to use when it simply involves watching a goofy video, especially when compared to people being killed for who they are. And if that’s a reflection on us then we should all be ashamed.

          • C Peterson

            I don’t think it’s something we should be ashamed of. Humans do not, by nature, value other humans outside our immediate family or tribe. We are by nature xenophobic (which is why we are also naturally racist), and simply don’t have much natural empathy for those we are socially distant from.

            It is a testament to the power of the rational brain over our natural instinct that we have made such strides in humanistic thinking in the last 250 years. But the fact remains, that while we can intellectually recognize the import of distant events and ideas, and sometimes experience them emotionally, most people still need to invest most of their energy into dealing with all the issues close to home. And that is reflected in the popular media. We all have to pick our causes very selectively. There is nothing shameful in being unable to devote much attention to thousands of otherwise worthy causes around the world. And there is nothing shameful about the fact that crazy social phenomena sometimes capture the public attention and briefly appear to outshine everything else in the world, if measured solely by air time.

            • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

              Talk show host Bill Handel says it like this: In order to be as important, something has to increase cubically as the distance is squared.

              Something happening to 1 person in your family is as important as something happening to 10 people 100 miles away, is as important as something happening to 100 people 10,000 miles away.

              If your aunt is injured in a traffic accident, it’s a big deal. If one person dies in Taiwan in a traffic accident, you aren’t going to care. It takes a bus accident or a train accident with over 100 people dying for it to seem important.

              • C Peterson

                Yes, there’s good recent work demonstrating that people are unable to treat as “close” more than a few tens of people; rarely as many as a hundred. We evolved when our tribe or troupe was what mattered, and that is reflected in the many aspects of our thinking and behavior which are not very well tuned to the very large societies we live in today.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Gay Africans, talk about a double whammy in terms of the Fox audience not caring.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Faux said nothing. Gee, how surprising…

  • Jennifer

    Honestly, what would you expect from fox news? They cater to their audience, and killing gays in Uganda does not appear on their radar. I’m sure they will report when it starts happening so their audience will know it’s time to party.

    • Octoberfurst

      Very true. Fox knows its audience. They couldn’t care less what happens to gays or Africans. (Unless they can come up with a story to show what a “threat” they are to America.)

  • Elizabeth

    I would love to see a War on Christmas bar added to this chart…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      If they did, it would no longer be a chart.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    What’s even worse is that many places, at least in print form, are reporting that the death penalty has been removed from the bill. It has not.

  • Youwillnotpass

    I’ve got a new law that’s passing at the same time this one does.

  • Donna H

    I’d be willing to bet at least 90 percent of MSNBC’s coverage was by Rachel Maddow.

  • Jinx

    While this is very disappointing, it is not surprising……

    Let’s be clear for a moment: I seriously doubt that anybody approves of this “kill the gays” bill. Even the American evangelicals who assisted in creating the legislation are probably shocked by the direction that the Ugandan parliament has taken. (Despite this, the aforementioned American evangelicals still have some culpability if anyone dies as a result of this.)

    Africa has a real problem with gay and lesbian people. From corrective rape of lesbians in South Africa to mob violence against gay men in Uganda, it should be obvious that there is a problem. Homosexuality is illegal in 38 out of the 54 recognized African nations; some sociologists argue that the increasing amounts of violence and hatred towards gays in Africa is actually due to urbanization, social inequality, and antipathy towards the West.

    Evangelicals do not often have a nuanced argument against homosexuality; despite claiming to hate the sin and love the sinner, many seem to exhibit contempt for both the individual and his/her sexual orientation. Because of this, they would find stories (such as this one) that depict homosexuals as being an oppressed minority group to be very uncomfortable; they would much prefer to talk about how *they* are being “oppressed” by an increasingly tolerant Western culture.

    It is not simply enough to agree that it is bad to kill gay people; we also need to do something about this growing problem.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Gaaaah, can we please just get rid of “Gangnam Style” already? It’s a stupid song and a stupid dance.

    • Baby_Raptor

      The Mitt Romney version is awesome. That and the Epic Rap Battle between him and Obama are probably the only two good things about him.

    • Good and Godless

      I strove to avoid the video and all derivatives with success. Obviously helped by not watching FOX. Hoping now it doesn’t catch on a RickRoll derivative and my risk of exposure should drop if kittens stay cute.

    • Nate Frein

      YMMV, but of all the songs to go viral, a bitingly satirical look at a culture (which doesn’t really have a history of satire) new to materialism ain’t that bad.1

      • amycas

        I like the song.

  • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Edgar

    I’m not gay. I don’t live in Africa. Why should I care? At least psy is funny

    • Good and Godless

      It was American missionaries who poisoned the morality of Uganda to roll back civil rights which risks serving as a beacon to other tyrants to impede freedom to greater and lessor degrees around the world.

      Religious Tolerance is the Archilles’ Heal of true freedom and the Uganda Anti-Gay legislation is one of many manifestations of that harm.

      • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Edgar

        So it is just plain White guilt? I’m not White nor american so I still can’t see a logical reason to worry about something that happens at the other side of the world and doesn’t affect me at all when there are hundreds of things happening where I live and they DO affect me.

        • Good and Godless

          Religion’s extreme harm manifests itself abroad and locally it limits unequivocal rights of homosexuals and others in less obtrusive ways.

          The trend of religious injustice is up, locally and abroad. If we only address the local atrocities, they will remain as the thin edge of the wedge.

  • http://twitter.com/joey89924 joey

    need to avoid the international pressure that might stop the bill.
    ICL7107CPL

  • TiltedHorizon

    Journalist, Hunter S. Thompson, once stated that: “America was raising ‘a generation of dancers’”. I guess Fox feels responsible for keeping America on track.

    On a side note, Fox cannot report this type of news without insulting it’s core base. The “Kill the Gays” bill has strong ties to Conservative U.S. Christian groups. You all know the saying: “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing.”

    If anyone is interested, here is a link to a good report titled: Colonizing African Values: How the U.S. Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa

    http://www.politicalresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/10/Colonizing-African-Values.pdf


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