Did you hear about the two gay dads whose daughter got a nasty rejection note for her tie-dye birthday party? Or the homophobic slurs written around an Ivy League college dorm? Or the two lesbians who came outside one day and found homophobic words spray-painted on their garage door?
Thanks to the Internet, the whole nation can be driven to outrage over rude and outrageous events — events that, it turns out, never happened or were perpetrated by the “victims” themselves.
Urban legend debunking sites are perpetually busy with a host of issues. Consumer products, food, celebrity exploits and political misbehavior are still top search topics for websites such as Snopes.com, TruthOrFiction.com and UrbanLegends.about.com.
But critics say an increasing number of tall tales are gay-related and eagerly recycled in cyberspace without even minimal fact-checking.
Snopes.com confirms that there is a gay-friendly “Queen James Bible,” but no one is planning to publish a gay revision of the Bible featuring “Adam and Steve” and “Mary and Josephine.”
Blogger Matt Walsh sparked a sharp online debate after the viral news item about a “bigot mom’s horrifying response” to a child’s birthday invite, trumpeted as a particularly egregious example of gay victimizing, turned out to be bogus. Worse, Mr. Walsh wrote, the fake story was just the latest to portray Christians and conservatives as villains through fabricated outrage.
The gay-rights movement has been built with “mischaracterizations, fabrications and outright lies,” said Mr. Walsh, listing nearly a dozen hoaxes perpetuated by or about gays on his Facebook page, The Matt Walsh Blog, which has 131,300 “likes.”
What sent the blogger over the edge was the tale of two gay dads who invited neighbors to their 7-year-old daughter’s tie-dye birthday party. A neighbor called “Beth” sent back their invitation, scrawling that her son would not attend such a party because she “will not subject my innocent son to your ‘lifestyle.’”
The story was picked up by websites such as Jezebel and Opposing Views after it appeared on the Facebook site of New York radio station K98.3 FM.
Before long, though, it was revealed that the station’s on-air hosts Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson concocted the story. Both apologized and were suspended for a week.
Mr. Walsh said in an interview that he had been accused of defending homophobia, attacking the victims of hate crimes or allowing a few bad actors to represent all gay people because of his expose.
“My real intent was to analyze the tactic of developing a false narrative — a tactic that I do think is rather common on the ‘gay rights’ side of things,” he said.
Many “assaults” are even self-inflicted, such as the November story of a lesbian waitress in New Jersey who wasn’t tipped because a customer didn’t “agree” with her lifestyle.
The waitress, Dayna Morales, posted the nasty receipt on a gay-friendly Facebook site and was quickly showered with money, sympathy and media attention.