The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a "historic moment" on their Tuesday morning programs. CBS's "Early Show" turned to a discharged Air Force major who pushed for further recognition of same-sex couples by the military. NBC's "Today" brought on a homosexual playwright to promote his one-man movie on the policy. ABC's "GMA" only had a news brief on the development, but still highlighted how a magazine is "publishing photos of more than 100 active duty gay and lesbian troops who served in silence until now." None of the programs brought on dissenting voices to advocate the continuation of the policy.It's like the passing of the 14th Amendment or something.
"The Early Show" devoted the most amount of air time to the expiration of the policy, and led the 7 am Eastern hour with a slanted report from correspondent David Martin. Martin played sound bites from President Obama and outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, both opponents of the ban on open homosexuals from serving in the military, but none from supporters:
DAVID MARTIN: After 18 years of controversy, 'don't ask, don't tell' died at the stroke of midnight. From now on, gays can serve openly in the military, and the 13,000 who were discharged under 'don't ask, don't tell' can re-enlist.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (from December 22, 2010 speech): No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military because they happen to be gay.
MARTIN: President Clinton first tried to repeal the ban on gays, but ran into the objections of then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell. A generation later, President Obama had the chairman of the Joint Chiefs on his side. Admiral McMullen was the decisive voice calling for the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.'
ADM. MIKE MULLEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are, in order to defend their fellow citizens.
MARTIN: There are thousands of gay men and women in uniform, and, as one of them said, this will be the first day that I can be open and honest about who I am. David Martin, CBS News, the Pentagon.
Over an hour later, substitute anchors Jeff Glor and Rebecca Jarvis conducted a softball interview of former Air Force Major Mike Almy, who appeared unopposed during the segment. Glor cited "some gay rights groups [who] say its only the beginning, that more needs to be done." Almy wholeheartedly agreed, and hinted that the Defense of Marriage Act needed to be overturned