Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Trevor Thomas of Media Matters on representing the small-town gay

We met Trevor Thomas in a futuristic office on Massachusetts Avenue. Blue neon lights cast a ghastly hue on the employees at Media Matters, a Web-based progressive research and information center. The employees’ eyes were focused on the television and computer screens at their desks. “We monitor television, radio, blogs and newspapers to be able to push back on what we perceive as misinformation,” Thomas, director of external affairs, explained. I noticed most of the screens were turned to FOX News.

Thomas is a gay man from Marne, Mich., a small, unincorporated town. He was recently the director of communications for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization that worked to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

At Media Matters, Thomas has noticed an “uptick in misinformation” when it comes to reporting on lesbian, gay and transgender issues, particularly around bullying and homosexuality as a choice. He understands that especially in small towns like Marne where he grew up, the media play an important role in shaping the opinions of “everyday Americans in their living rooms.”

“If there’s bad facts out there, we do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t become mainstream media,” Thomas said. In this video clip, Thomas talks about how his small-town roots help him stay grounded.

Dan Q. Tham

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