An openly gay Christian condemned BuzzFeed’s “non-story” about “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, saying that it proves Trump and his supporters right — the media are out to get conservatives.
In brief, BuzzFeed published a story speculating on whether the Gaineses oppose same-sex marriage, and implying that if they do, either HGTV (the network behind their popular show) or the American people should fire or boycott them. This hatchet job merely quoted the their pastor, Jimmy Siebert of Antioch Community Church, and wondered if the popular couple believed the same absolutely horrid ideas.
This story “validates everything that President-elect Donald Trump’s supporters have been saying about the media: that some journalists — specifically younger ones at popular digital publications — will tell stories in certain deceitful, manipulative ways to take down conservatives,” wrote The Washington Post‘s Brandon Ambrosino. Ambrosino is no conservative — at the beginning of the article he announced his upcoming wedding to his partner Andy.
Some Christians have told him they won’t attend his wedding, and he said that it “hurts me deeply because it makes it seem as if they care more about abstract principles than me, their friend and family member.” Nevertheless, he added, “I do not think these conservatives should be fined or mocked. I do not think they should be fired. And I certainly do not think they should be the butt of a popular BuzzFeed article.”
Ambrosino may support same-sex marriage, but he also knows that “nearly 4 out of 10 Americans — no small number! — are not on board with it.” The mockery of BuzzFeed suggests a harrowing trend: “Is the suggestion here that 40 percent of Americans are unemployable because of their religious convictions on marriage?”
“A few years ago, gay activists decided the best way to win arguments in favor of same-sex marriage was to shut up our opponents,” Ambrosino recalled. “All they had to do was lob a charge of homophobia and the argument was won. Or they tweeted at the companies that employed the ‘homophobes’ until they were fired.”
This kind of enforced agreement on the issue was unhealthy and dangerous, the gay Christian argued. Indeed, it fueled the political success of Donald Trump, whom Ambrosino described as “the voice of all of the people liberals and activists have been shutting up for the past eight years.”
It’s no secret that part of Trump’s success is owed to how skillfully he invalidated the media’s authority in the eyes of his conservative followers. The message was very clearly: The media doesn’t like me because I’m conservative, and they don’t like you because you’re conservative, and they’re going to try to ruin all of us, so let’s just ignore them.
And then, like clockwork, BuzzFeed published a story proving him right.
Ambrosino flatly declared that “the old strategy of journalists shaming ‘hicks’ is not going to work anymore because our new president seems to be on their side. … Like it or not, we have to engage them.”
After Trump’s success, liberals really need to learn this lesson. Issues like gay marriage are not definitively “solved,” and it is insulting and wrong to write off those who disagree with you as “homophobic.” Discounting millions of Americans is not a winning strategy, for media or politics.
And for heaven’s sake, BuzzFeed, don’t attack someone on their religious beliefs until you’ve confirmed they actually believe them.