By Bob Roehr
The religious right continued their smear campaign against gays and equal marriage rights with an advertising insert in 200,000 copies of the Sunday edition of the Washington Post on Nov. 21.
The 24-page supplement, carrying the name BothSides Magazine, is billed as “a magazine that gives a voice to the kingdom of God and impacts the larger culture with competing reason and a biblical world view.”
The small print said the magazine was created solely by Grace Christian Church and is not a product of the Washington Post. It prominently featured Derek Grier, the African-American pastor of the little known church in the fast-growing outer suburbs of Washington.
A reprint of questions and answers with Focus on the Family leader James Dobson suggested the deep pockets behind the expensive venture. The Post declined to discuss the cost of the venture with Editor & Publisher.
Articles in the supplement recycled arguments that sexual orientation is not an immutable genetic trait, like skin color, and therefore should not be protected by law. It ignored the fact that religious belief is not genetic in nature and yet freedom of religion is afforded such protection.
It obliquely cited the long-discredited research of defrocked psychologist Paul Cameron that gays die at a much younger age.
More than a thousand people complained to the Post about the insert. The response was overwhelmingly negative, Ombudsman Michael Getler told E&P.
“It looked a bit like an editorial product,” he admitted. “You could argue that the disclosure could have been larger. But the Post did not commit a sin by accepting it.”
Michael Young, director of regional media for GLAAD, said they have had conversations with the Post about their advertising policy. He suggested that many reporters working for the newspaper were unhappy with the company accepting something that was riddled with factual inaccuracies.
GLAAD also has been working with local organizations to help them express their displeasure with the Post’s decision to carry the insert.
One of the strongest rebukes came from Jo Miller in a letter to the Post and posted on her blog Hiding in Plain Sight. The blog carries the subtitle, “Jesus is my co-blogger.”
“Don’t you dare try to claim that what you’ve done has anything to do with the First Amendment,” she wrote. “If you do, I ll send you my 24-page advertisement for giant black spiked vibrating dildos along with a check and insist that you publish it as a supplement insert. Or how about the [highly anti-Semitic] Protocols of the Elders of Zion, since your taste in filth seems to run to the textual rather than graphical?”
Miller argued that in carrying the insert, The Post has given its imprimatur to the idea that it’s ok to oppress gay people “You’ve amplified the drumbeat of their hate and given it the veneer of legitimacy, bringing their inflammatory, pseudoscientific horseshit that much further into the mainstream.”
“Someone has to stand up and say ‘No’ to these people. It should have been you.”
To contact Ann McDaniel, Vice President of the Washington Post’s parent company, which also owns Newsweek magazine, write her at 1150 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20071, call 202-334-6000, or email TWPCoReply@washpost.com.