The New York Times reported on two ‘attacks’ against gays in New York City over the past week.
In one attack, nine members of the Latin King Goonies savagely beat and sodomized three men in the Bronx because they were gay.
The other attack occurred when gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino spoke to a group of Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.
The article ran just two days after the Bronx beatings under the headline ‘Paladino Attacks Gays in Brooklyn Speech.’
Now, as someone who clearly remembers Paladino promising to go to Albany with a baseball bat, I was concerned.
Then I read the article.
Apparently, Paladino does not think that children should be ‘brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable.’
His horrible choice of words aside, he is not alone in this feeling, as almost half of the country (according to AP’s latest poll) is still against marriage equality.
The Times also reported that he removed a line from his speech characterizing homosexuality as dysfunctional.
The fact that those words were even in the speech to begin with could be an indictment.
However, some would argue that his choice not to speak the words is a sign of good judgment.
It is ultimately up to the reader to decide what they think.
Or is it?
Clearly, the New York Times wants their readers to accept the characterization of Paladino’s speech as an ‘attack on gays.’
But with the details of the gruesome Bronx beating still fresh in my head, I have a hard time accepting that premise.
I would even go as far as to say that using such language to describe Paladino’s remarks is irresponsible journalism and does more harm than good to the LGBT community.
LGBT individuals are constantly being confronted with political issues and we need the facts to be able to defend ourselves properly.
Politico ran the same story, but they used a factual headline (Paladino Disavows ‘Dysfunctional Homosexual’ Line) and cited a multitude of sources. They provided the facts to back up their claims, and their claims fell in line with those facts.
The Times took an authoritarian approach to the issue in labeling Paladino’s opinion an attack. Clearly, there was a desire to stir up controversy.
News organizations like the New York Times rely on provocative statements to sell papers with little emphasis on the facts.
The result: the latest Gallup poll reported a record high in distrust of the mass media this year – the highest in decades.
This goes to show that the caterwauling and personal attacks that have replaced rational political discourse in the current media landscape are not effective.
If we characterize a difference of opinion as an attack, we shut down all dialogue and get nowhere.
Everyone should be allowed to express their opinions without fear – especially those who do not agree with us.
The last thing we need is for the few media outlets that are willing to cover LGBT issues to be marginalized by lack of credibility.