Ted Cruz's campaign struck back at their favorite target, the media, Friday in response to criticism of the 2016 GOP presidential hopeful and his participation in a November conference hosted by Pastor Kevin Swanson, who has called for the execution of LGBT Americans. The Cruz campaign contends their candidate, who has a 0% record from the Human Rights Campaign, isn't anti-gay, despite his courtship of anti-gay extremists.

The comments came amid a lengthy piece published by the rightwing Washington Examiner that called out the "mainstream" media for baiting Cruz.

"Senator Cruz, other candidates and speakers were guests at that conference with no control and influence on other's speeches," a Cruz staffer told the Examiner. "He was there for just a short while. He was interviewed on stage and talked about religious liberty. He did not and would not endorse the comments of this man's choice of topics and what he said."

The Examiner repeated the Cruz campaign's claim that their candidate was ignorant of Swanson's history of calling for LGBT genocide prior to the "religious freedom" conference.

"To the candidate's surprise, they detected that Swanson, in his closing address to the attendance, began a lengthy rant about various topics that had little to do with religious freedom," the Examiner wrote. "He interpreted some passages in the Bible as calling for the death penalty for homosexuals."

Right Wing Watch, who monitored and published videos of Swanson's speeches at the November conference, made note to mention that the virulently anti-gay pastor seemed to soften his tone on his "kills the gays" rhetoric. In the past, Swanson called for the execution of homosexuals. During the November conference, he said he would like to give gays the chance to repent before implementing the biblical punishment as law.