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CNN Challenged for Exgay Segment


A CNN segment Tuesday about the effort to repeal a dated California law that encourages the state to study "cures" for homosexuality has outraged activists and bloggers. Watchdogs say the cable news network mishandled the issue when host Kyra Phillips asked whether homosexuality was a "problem" in need of a "cure," and booked guests including discredited "ex-gay" therapist Richard Cohen.

"Homosexuality: Is it a problem in need of a cure? Grabs your attention, doesn't it?" asked Phillips at the opening of the segment, which appears below.

Critics assailed CNN for giving the idea a national platform.

"Instead of discussing the merits of the proposed bill and why 'finding cures' for being gay don't work, Phillips and CNN gave credence to this bogus 'therapy' and allowed 'ex-gay activist' Richard Cohen to spew his lies and promote new research (old studies that have been discredited)," said activist blog Queers United.

Also included among the guests was California assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, lead sponsor of the repeal bill. The assembly's public safety committee approved the bill Tuesday.

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association found fault primarily with the lack of gay voices in the segment.

"While the segment includes balance and Phillips handily challenges Cohen, the bigger problem is that the segment about whether homosexuality can be cured doesn't feature any actual homosexuals," wrote Michael Triplett on the organization's React blog. "While Lowenthal is a worthy representative of the opposition and a wonderful spokeswoman as an ally, it's always problematic when these kinds of conversations go on without having the people most effected by the legislation -- gays and lesbians -- represented on the panel."

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Julie Bolcer