Thursday, February 21, 2013

What happens when Mississippi paper covers a lesbian wedding?

So two women had a wedding in a small Mississippi town. One is battling brain cancer.  The local paper, The Laurel Leader-Call,  put it on the front page, under the headline, "Historic Wedding".  And then the deluge.

The owner writes a sterling defense of real journalism.  (Someone send that man to Washington or New York, these are the kinds of ethics we need in media!)  Note my emphasis.
We were well aware that the majority of people in Jones County are not in favor of gay marriage. However, any decent newspaper with a backbone can not base decisions on whether to cover a story based on whether the story will make people angry. 
The job of a community newspaper is not pretending something didn't take place or ignoring it because it will upset people. No, our job is to inform readers what is going on in our town and let them make their own judgments. That is exactly what we did with the wedding story. Our reporter heard about the wedding, attended it, interviewed some of the participants and wrote a news story. If there had been protestors at the wedding, we would have covered that the exact same way … but there weren't any. We never said it was a good thing or a bad thing, we simply did our job by telling people what took place....
Many of the calls I received had the caller saying something to the effect of, I don't need my children to read this.  Ugh. We have stories about child molesters, murders and all kinds of vicious, barbaric acts of evil committed by heinous criminals on our front page and yet we never receive a call from anyone saying 'I don't need my children reading this.' Never. Ever. However, a story about two women exchanging marriage vows and we get swamped with people worried about their children. 
I had at least 20 or so readers express to me they think gay marriage is "an abomination against God." We never said it wasn't. We never said it was. 
We were simply reporting to the best of our ability. However, I can't help but be saddened by the hate-filled viciousness of many of the comments directed toward our staff …  
  And I bet everyone one of those complaints was from a proud "Christian".  Really, the terror it strikes into their hearts.... I simply can't understand it.

(via Yahoo News)

Update: the editor also chimes in.
But seriously, folks, the outrage against same-se relationships, veiled in christiantiy, still leaves me sad and confused. …

[M]ost of the vocal critics of same-sex relationships are more interested in showing just how pious they are, not in saving souls. If I'm wrong, then takes some advice: your sales pitch could use a little polish. The people you say you're trying to reach are seeing the love of Jesus shine through your spit and venom. ..
He doesn't let off "militant gays" either, but still... another voice of reason in the Deep South. Know hope.

No comments: