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Sunday, 6 February 2011

Video: Maddow on Kato

The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series)Image via Wikipedia
By Paul Canning

The leading liberal US news show host Rachel Maddow presented a segment Friday night about the death of Ugandan activist David Kato and editorialised about how the US should regard the impact of its citizens, those evangelicals working in Uganda, on the local LGBT community.

The segment had actually been trailed eight days before but news from Egypt has precluded it being shown earlier. Maddow has been one of extremely few mainstream US television journalists to consistently cover Uganda and her show has interviewed at some point most of the leading players, including David Bahati MP, author of  what she has  dubbed the 'kill the gays' bill.

She has given space to other journalists, such as Jeff Sharlet, author of 'The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power', covering the links between the 'kill the gays' bill's authors and very powerful US evangelicals, linking Bahati to right-wing republican politicians for example.

Maddow's coverage is collected by her under the headline 'Uganda be kidding me'.

In this segment she covers the scenes at Kato's funeral and shows extracts - you can watch a 7 minute video of the funeral - including the powerful comments of retired Anglican Bishop Senyonjo. She talks about the police's dismissal of homophobia as a motive in Kato's murder and lists evidence that maybe it was a hate crime. (Warren Throckmorton comments on his posting of Maddow's segment that: "Those close to Kato have told me that Kato did not pay prostitutes and that the scenario developing around him is implausible.")

Maddow quotes Kato on how evangelicals have taken their arguments to Uganda and found an audience for their discredited (what she has dubbed) 'cure the gay' ideology. She calls them 'quacks'.

If Ugandans believe what these Americans are telling them, she says, it's no great leap to believe you should force gays to, as Bahati has put it, "repent", for haven't these Americans showed how we can 'cure' these people?

So this is 'an American story', she argues. Bahati's rise in Ugandan politics is, she says, directly linked to his American sponsors. She points out that Bahati has not passed on the evidence he claimed existed in her interview with him that foreigners were 'recruiting children to homosexuality' and sending millions into Uganda for that purpose.

She paraphrases Bahati's response to her show following Kato's death as:
"We want to kill people for being gay because the Americans told us you don't have to be gay if you don't want to be."
Maddow says at the end that donor countries should convey to Ugandan authorities "do not disappear David Kato's murder - otherwise we will make you a pariah for it."

She sums up:
"Given American citizen's vile involvement in that country maybe America can take the lead on this?"

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