The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jess Levin (202) 772-8162

Don't Lie, Don't Misinform

Media Matters joins organizations, activists to demand honest coverage of DADT


Today, after Media Matters for America released a comprehensive review of the myths and
falsehoods media
conservatives have pushed in their efforts to prevent a repeal of the Don't
Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) law, a coalition of leading organizations and activists
joined together to issue an open letter to the news media demanding that
reports on DADT remain accurate and fair.

Media Matters' President Eric Burns joins
AMERICAblog's John Aravosis, Courage Campaign's Rick Jacobs, GLAAD's Jarrett T.
Barrios, Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese, Knights Out's Becky Kanis,
National Center for Lesbian Rights' Kate Kendall, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Rea Carey, National
Security Network's Heather Hurlburt, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's Aubrey Sarvis,
Servicemembers United's Alex Nicholson, Truman National Security Project's Rachel Kleinfeld,
VoteVets' Jon Soltz, and Lt. Dan Choi, US Army Infantry Officer
and Arabic Linguist in signing on to the following letter:

Interested Parties:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has announced he will be the
chief sponsor of legislation to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. The
proposed repeal signifies a crucial step forward in the long-overdue process of
allowing gay men and lesbians to serve honestly and proudly in the United States
armed services.

Since its inception, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law has
resulted in the firing of at least 13,500 servicemembers and has reportedly
cost the military an estimated $555.2 million. Allowing gay men and lesbians to
serve openly has proven successful for many of our closest allies and enjoys
broad support in the United
States among the public and top military
leaders alike, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman
Adm. Mike Mullen, and former Joint Chiefs Chairmen Gen. Colin Powell and Gen. John Shalikashvili.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell proponents too often paint a
distorted picture of what a repeal would mean. Today, Media Matters for America released a comprehensive review
detailing how opinion pages and cable news talk shows have been flooded with
falsehoods and anti-gay rhetoric to support the dubious argument that Don't
Ask, Don't Tell is working.

that repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell would adversely affect unit cohesion,
retention, or the HIV rate among servicemembers are not based in reality.
Similarly, the anti-gay rhetoric permeating many of these arguments only serves
to cheapen the national discussion on this important issue.

Because news outlets continue to repeat these
outrageous myths, a
coalition of organizations is banding together to combat misinformation about
the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. As Congress moves forward on this legislation,
we will be vigilant in ensuring that news reports are accurate and fair. The
public deserves an honest debate -- not one marred by blatant falsehoods and
anti-gay attacks.



John Aravosis, Editor

Lt. Dan

US Army Infantry Officer and Arabic Linguist, West
Point Graduate, Openly Gay and still serving


Rick Jacobs, Founder & Chairman

& Lesbian Alliance
Against Defamation (GLAAD)

Jarrett T. Barrios, President

Rights Campaign

Joe Solmonese, President

Out: West Point LGBT Grads

Becky Kanis, Chair

Media Matters for America

Eric Burns, President

National Center For Lesbian Rights

Kate Kendell, Executive Director

Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Rea Carey, Executive Director

Security Network

Heather Hurlburt, Executive Director

Legal Defense Network

Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director


Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director

National Security Project

Rachel Kleinfeld, CEO & President


Jon Soltz, Co-Founder & Chairman


Media Matters'
review of myths and falsehoods about DADT include:

MYTH: Don't Ask, Don't Tell
is working

13,500 service members reportedly fired under law, including decorated officers
and those in "critical occupations."

MYTH: Repeal would undermine
morale and unit cohesion

cohesion argument "not supported by any scientific studies."

MYTH: Military experts oppose
the repeal of DADT

REALITY: More than 100
retired generals and admirals have called for DADT's repeal.

MYTH: The public does not
support repeal of DADT

REALITY: Numerous
polls find broad support for gay men and lesbians serving openly in the

MYTH:Right-wing attacks on
DADT repeal are not anti-gay

REALITY: Prominent
right-wing figures opposing repeal have a history of anti-gay rhetoric.

MYTH:DADT repeal would
adversely affect retention

REALITY: Myth defies experiences of
several other countries that have allowed gay men and lesbians to serve openly.

MYTH:Experience of other
nations aren't relevant because "nobody counts on" their armies

REALITY: Several
nations have fought in wars after allowing gay men and lesbians to serve

MYTH:Only progressives
support the repeal of DADT

REALITY: Polls show
support for repeal of DADT among many Republicans, conservatives.

MYTH:DADT repeal would
expose servicemembers to greater HIV risk

REALITY: Military
regulations and procedures already exist to prevent the spread of HIV.

To read the entire review, please see:

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.