Gumbel was interviewing Robert Knight of the Family Research Council, questioning Knight about the Supreme Court's decision last week to allow the Boy Scouts of America to ban homosexual scoutmasters. As the interview closed, cameras went briefly to a weather segment but cut back suddenly to Gumbel, who was heard on-air telling someone off-camera, "What a f---ing idiot." The FRC, as well as many watchers, believed Gumbel was referring to Knight but so far CBS has been silent on the matter.
"In this day of tolerance and diversity, Mr. Gumbel's obvious intolerance and bigotry is unacceptable," AFA President Donald Wildmon said in comments to Leslie Moonves, president of CBS. "If CBS refuses to fire Mr. Gumbel, we shall turn to the advertisers which support his show and call for a boycott of their products because it will show that they endorse such arrogance, intolerance and bigotry," Wildmon said.
Knight said Gumbel's interview was the third that day in which he encountered a hostile media environment prone to support homosexuality in all its forms. In one incident, ABC canceled an interview with Knight, to be held with Sam Donaldson, as the network's limousine was parked outside FRC headquarters waiting to pick Knight up. He was to appear with Evan Wolfson, the attorney for James Dale, the homosexual scoutmaster who brought the case to the Supreme Court.
Sources Monday said Wolfson had refused to appear with Knight on the show, so ABC canceled Knight's appearance and booked Dale to appear with Wolfson. "So you have the attorney for the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case dictating to ABC who they can have on their show - and they complied," Knight said Saturday.
The third incident was on Fox News Channel, when Knight was debating David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group. "When I brought up the dangers to Boy Scouts of homosexual predators, he [Smith] interrupted me constantly," Knight said. "I said, 'Can I finish my answer?' and he actually said, 'No, I'm not going to let you because you're saying mean things.' So he openly said I'm not going to allow you to talk anymore."
"This is how they do business now. If you bring up inconvenient facts or bring up a moral or behavioral concept, they will either shut you out of the debate or be so rude that you can't get your point in," Knight added. "It's, 'Agree with us or we will silence you.'''
"This is part of a pattern," said Tim Graham of Media Watch, a media analyst organization based in Washington, DC. "Of the morning show segments on gay rights in 1993, the largest year for TV news stories on homosexuality - 756 network morning, evening, and magazine show stories - the networks invited 69 gay-rights advocates to only 23 opponents. In 1995, the ratio was 13 to three," Graham reported.