Thursday, January 28, 2010

Meredith Vieira, Ted Haggard, and Stupidity

Tanya Melendez, a friend of a dear friend, encourages everyone to write to TODAY@nbcuni.com and take Meredith Vieira to task for calling Ted Haggard's alleged journey away from homosexuality "inspirational."


Her letter reads:

I am writing to you to register my deep disappointment with Meredith Vieira's conduct during her interview with Gayle Haggard this morning on The Today Show.

Ms. Vieria ended her interview by saying that she thought that others going through similar situations might find Ms. Haggard's journey inspirational. I was horrified and offended by such a statement.

Mr. Haggard claims that he has been “cured” of his homosexual urges. And yet, the American Psychological Association warns against “conversion therapies”. From Psychiatric Times on October 10th: “The APA report stated that there is little evidence to suggest that efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay or lesbian to heterosexual are successful. In fact, the report found that such efforts can cause harm. The findings indicate that efforts to switch a person’s sexual orientation through psychological interventions not only don’t work but also can lead to loss of sexual feeling and to depression, anxiety, and suicide.”

Mr. and Ms. Haggard can believe what they like. But Meredith Viera is a journalist, she should not let The Today Show be a voice for medically inaccurate and dangerous information. Matt Lauer is famous for challenging Tom Cruise on his scientifically inaccurate information about psychiatry on the show. Ms. Viera should have done the same thing.
You cannot “convert” from therapy. It’s simply not scientifically true. Your show should say so, and say so clearly in a report aired during the same time slot as the valuable one the interview with Ms. Haggard held.

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