CBS, NBC Commiserate with Pop Star Over Ban on Gays in Military

September 22nd, 2010 12:00 AM

The policy that prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in the United States military has been a source of controversy since it was enacted in 1993. But in all those years, the best expert some network news programs could find to oppose the policy was a pop star with a fake name and a penchant for publicity.

The CBS “Evening News” and the NBC “Nightly News” both turned to Lady Gaga as an expert in their reports on the failure of a military spending bill amendment that would have repealed “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”

“Doesn't it seem to you that we should send home the prejudice – the straight soldier who hates the gay soldier,” Gaga said during a rally in Maine designed to pressure Sen. Susan Collins to support the repeal in a clip shown on “Nightly News.”

CBS aired video of Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, saying that the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly “is against all that we stand for as Americans.”

The “Evening News” report came the same day the network's “Early Show” featured a segment characterizing the battle as Sen. John McCain vs. Gaga. “The Senator wants to keep the ban, but the world's biggest pop star is throwing her support behind the gays who want to serve in the military,” Maggie Rodriguez said. The report noted she had used the social networking site Twitter to encourage fans to support repeal.

Gaga is known in large part for her off-the-wall wardrobe choices – including the dress made of raw meat that she wore to the MTV Video Music Awards and elsewhere – as well as her controversial lyrics and videos.

ABC, which didn't mention Gaga in a brief “World News” report about the failure of repeal efforts Sept. 22, has actually mentioned her position on the issue more than CBS or NBC.

In a Sept. 13 “Good Morning America” report about the VMAs. Reporter Chris Connelly noted that the performer brought as her guests four former service members who had been discharged under the policy. The network noted Gaga's opposition to the ban again on “Nightline” Sept. 20 and “Good Morning America” Sept. 21, noting that she'd called on Congress to repeal it.

Gaga, who reportedly refuses to allow fans to bring political signs to her concerts, has been vocal on liberal political issues in recent months. In addition to the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, she has also opposed Arizona's immigration law. In a concert in Arizona July 31, the singer called the situation “disgusting” and told fans to “actively protest” the law.

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