In a disgraceful example of journalistic malpractice, the college newspaper The Daily Mississippian printed right wing talking points – while calling it an op-ed.
“Homosexuality is unhealthy,” writes Zack Williams, “Not in the way that cigarettes and booze are unhealthy, but in the way that drinking a shot of turpentine every Wednesday afternoon while perusing real estate catalogues for houses near nuclear waste dumps is unhealthy.”
TWO responded with a letter to the editor:
I read the anti-gay rant by Zack Williams with a mix of horror and amazement. How could a real newspaper allow such transparent lies to find their way into print? His error-laced article is not only profoundly immoral, but statistically and scientifically inaccurate.
For example, Williams cites that the life-span of gay men is 20 years less than heterosexuals. This lie came directly from Dr. Paul Cameron, a discredited psychologist who was kicked out of the American Psychological Association and Nebraska Psychological Association for distorting statistics about gay men. One would think that the Mississippian would fact check before it prints a hateful article that defames an entire population by citing a debunked researcher. Clearly, you have shoddy journalistic standards. Shame on you.
Furthermore, Williams’ assertion that there is no gay gene is sophistry, at best. While technically accurate, he conveniently fails to mention that for the past three decades, there has been an enormous amount of research suggesting that sexual orientation is biological. For the record, there is also no “left handed gene,” but no serious person suggests that left handedness is a learned or unnatural behavior.
I can understand your desire to have a healthy debate – but you have broken a very basic journalistic rule: One does not sacrifice accuracy for the sake of “balance.”
For example, you would not have a person write that the world is flat, just because you have someone write that the world is round. (Or, maybe the Mississippian actually would.)
Please apologize immediately for this miscarriage of journalism, before the reputation of your newspaper suffers further and irreparable damage. In the future, you will find that basic fact checking goes a long way in enhancing credibility.
I hope you elect to print this letter in your newspaper, so your students can actually get some accurate information. Remember, college is supposed to be a place of education – not right wing indoctrination. Printing the talking points of the American Family Association in the guise of an honest op-ed is simply disgraceful.
MEDIA ALERT: Please send your own letters to the editor of the Daily Mississippian, Marti Covington, at firstname.lastname@example.org