Washington Times’ Dishonest Anti-Gay Insinuation
December 28th, 2008
The Washington Times was started by the Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon and is known as a conservative paper. For many years the Times ignored the AP Stylebook and refused to use the word “gay” when referring to same-sex attracted persons, preferring “homosexual”, and put quotation marks around the word “marriage” if it applied to a same-sex couple, even when such marriage was legal and recognized by the state.
At the beginning of 2008, the Times brought on a new editor-in-chief, John Solomon, who sought to remove some of the more obvious bias from news stories, including a change in the words used to describe gay people. At that time, Solomon expressed an intent to remove editorializing from the news stories and make them about, well, news.
The only point I have made with the reporters and editors who write for the news pages is there must be a bright line between opinion and editorializing that rightfully belongs on the op-ed and commentary pages and the fair, balanced, accurate, and precise reporting that must appear in the news sections of the paper.
While that is a commendable goal, an article in the paper today shows that the Washington Times is still willing to insert opinion into their news stories and will even go so far as print insinuations to do so.
The story in question is about the adoption of an infant by a gay couple. In late 2005, the child was born prematurely in Shreveport, LA, and after a month in the hospital was given to the New York couple. They began adoption procedures in their home state and on April 27, 2006, the State of New York made the adoption final.
State law in Louisiana requires that the Office of Vital Records reissue a birth certificate with the adoptive parents’ names when receiving a notice of adoption. However, the state refused, saying that their state laws don’t allow for two unmarried people to adopt a child together so they were not going to recognize the adoption. On Monday, a US District Judge ruled that the US Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause requires that Louisiana record both parents on the revised form.
This is, in itself, an interesting story. But what I found more interesting was the way in which it was misreported and distorted by the Washington Times. Although the AP reported the story in a straight-forward manner, in the middle of the Times version, the following paragraphs appeared:
In the national debate over gay marriage, one often-cited scenario involves a federal court using similar logic to require states that bar such unions to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, as all states now do with each other’s marriages under the federal Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause.
Such a federal ruling would effectively impose same-sex marriage on the entire nation, and homosexual activists celebrated this decision as requiring every state to recognize any other state’s gay adoptions.
This story has nothing to do with marriage, and as the law currently stands the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) allows states to ignore marriage in other states. But reporting the story wasn’t good enough for the Times; they needed to insinuate and scare and demonize.
What the Times is insinuating in that rather astonishing last paragraph is twofold. First, that the celebration of adoption rights somehow portends marriage rights and, secondly, that “homosexual activists” are out to get you and impose things upon you. If the “homosexual activists” are celebrating, you should be afraid.
Sorry, Mr. Solomon, but the homophobia and bigotry for which the Washington Times has always been known doesn’t seem to have gone away and your “news” is still chuck-full of opinion and editorial.