December 14th, 2008
And you know how sometimes you read a story and it becomes clear that the writer has no idea what they’re talking about? That was pretty evident in this case.
Lopez is not known for his balanced reporting. I don’t regularly read his column because it seldom includes much more than his own personal views illustrated by an anecdotal story. And this time he was no more prepared, knowledgeable, or objective than usual.
As the saying goes, Lopez is entitled to his own opinion, but he’s not entitled to his own facts. Here are a few examples of how he got it wrong:
A boycott was organized on the Internet, with activists trashing El Coyote on restaurant review sites. Then came throngs of protesters, some of them shouting “shame on you” at customers. The police arrived in riot gear one night to quell the angry mob.
Steve doesn’t tell you that the “angry mob” consisted mostly of regular customers and that those throngs met mostly on one night organized for just that purpose. Nor were they in any way “quelled”. Lopez selected untruthful imagery to advance his argument.
And if you want to see an example of the police “in riot gear” just look at the picture that the Times used on Steve’s article. The man on the right in the short sleve black shirt without a helmet and holding a flashlight is a policeman. I wouldn’t want to be him in a riot.
But it wouldn’t stir up sympathy for Margie if he said, “Four police officers helped keep the protest on the sidewalk. The crowd was cooperative and at no time was there any confrontation with the police.”
But I didn’t like what I was hearing about the vilification of Margie Christoffersen and others in California being targeted for the crime of voting their conscience.
Never – EVER – has Margie been “targeted for the crime of voting her conscience”. That’s just factually untrue. Margie was targeted because she presented a supportive front to her gay customers while she simultaneously funded efforts to take away a fundamental right. This is not a matter of semantics, it’s a matter of facts.
So even if Margie returns to work at El Coyote, her husband said, “she will never, ever be back here on a Thursday night.”
Thursdays, as tradition had it, the place was mobbed with gay customers.
I had lunch at El Coyote on Thursday, and most of the tables were empty.
Here’s where Steve displays his ignorance.
El Coyote was not a restaurant with one “gay night”. On any given night of the week a significant segment of the customers were gay.
And gay customers are not upset that Margie was there on Thursdays. They are upset that she betrayed them. Clearly neither Lopez nor Wayne Christoffersen yet understand why El Coyote’s gay customers left.
Steve Lopez can eat there any time he likes. But as for me, if Margie comes back at all – Thursdays or any days – I won’t.
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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