Thursday, October 14, 2010

There Are Not Always Two Sides

Do both "sides" of an issue always need to be presented when covering a story in a journalistic or media realm? Like when you're covering a bunch of recent suicides by teenagers who were bullied because they were gay. Do you really need to run the opinion of folks who are anti-gay? I'm not so sure that you do. The Washington Post, surprisingly, felt a little differently.

For some reason, on National Coming Out Day (for whatever that is worth, as it would have been bad on any day), The Washington Post felt the need to run an editorial from a one Tony Perkins (not of Psycho fame). Mr. Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council and seems to be very against those who are gay. Naturally, his editorial, while not condoning any of the bullying that goes on, made it clear that he felt that "...homosexual activist groups like GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) are exploiting these tragedies to push their agenda of demanding not only tolerance of homosexual individuals, but active affirmation of homosexual conduct and their efforts to redefine the family." Uhh, OK?

I'm kind of not even sure what that means. I don't know that it can be considered "exploiting a tragedy" to send the message that people need to be tolerant of other people. That seems like a message that doesn't have a whole lot of exploitation in it. So, even though gay kids are getting bullied to the point where they off themselves, we still shouldn't send the message that being gay is all right. That seems...um...idiotic.

But what is more idiotic is how The Washington Post handled being called on the matter of running his editorial on National Coming Out Day. According to the huffy folks over at The Huffington Post, GLAAD made mention via Twitter (good Lord...) of The Washington Post's giving editorial space to Mr. Perkins on that particular day. (By the way, I don't have so much of a problem with The Post allowing the editorial to begin with, but it didn't really have anything to do with bullying. If they wanted to allow him space to voice his opinion, that's fine, but I'm thinking that it probably should have been on the topic at hand and not just what Mr. Perkins wanted to address.)


For some reason, The Washington Post decided to respond in an odd fashion. They Twittered back (good Lord...) with this:


They're working to cover both sides? Of...bullying? No, wait. That can't be it. They're working to cover both sides of...teen suicide? No, wait. That can't be it, either. They're working to cover both sides of...oh, for cryin' out loud, I give up! I don't know that there are two sides of the subject of kids who get bullied might off themselves. I think that's a pretty one-sided discussion. Sure, there are two sides to the whole being gay in the first place debate. I get that. But that isn't what they were talking about. They were talking about gay teens being bullied to the point where they did themselves in. There aren't two sides to that and giving an open forum to someone to talk about what he believes are the evils of homosexuality under the guise of it being the "other side" is simply insane.

Why couldn't Mr. Perkins simply focused on the evils of bullying and how, since it's irrational to think that we're ever going to be able to put a stop to it, we can help kids from becoming so despondent over it that they want to die? Why couldn't he have gone with that angle? Why the continued attack upon those who are homosexual? The point was the bullying. Can he not get off of his anti-gay soapbox for just one day? Seriously? Please.

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