Wednesday, May 24, 2006

In Good Journalism, the Coverage of the Story is Never Supposed to BE the Story

It was almost a month after the fact, but over all, the stories by Todd Henneman and Neal Braverman on the gay and lesbian angle of the immigration issue were right on the money. Yet, instead of a well deserved cover, the Advocate opted for a frivolous cover story on gay polygamy, which I'm going to go out on a limb and suspect affects far less people than the immigration status of a significant portion of the GLBT community.

The focus was for the most part on couples, as opposed to the millions --yeah, that's right, millions-- of GLBT immigrants who are single as well as the children, siblings and parents of other immigrants. The story focused mostly on subjects from Latin America, mirroring the bias of mainstream media, with little to no mention of Asian, African or even (ahem) European and North American members of the GLBT community trying to gain legal citizenship status in the U.S. The graphic of the Mexican and American flags delegates other nationalities to a second tier, and suggests to us once again that the origin of the immigration issue has been pushed by some unknown party with a hidden agenda.

Is the Republican party trying to shove immigration reform and 'English Only' issues into the national dialogue to bolster their sagging polls? They've figured out that gay marriage doesn't have the intended emotional pull they'd hoped. ARE IMMIGRANTS THE NEW FAGGOTS?

Getting back to the polygamy cover story (are that many people really watching that f'ing show on cable?), there's the whole conundrum that single people --gay and straight-- face in a relationship-centric society. Remember what Miranda had to endure when buying her own apartment on Sex in the City? That's not fiction, folks; and it ain't history yet.

Making even further mockery of the Advocate's leadership role in gay media is the guest commentary by heterosexual publicist Michael Levine. The "A-list" PR guy gets an F for dredging up the argument (however well intended) activists have been hashing over since before Stonewall. Levine is clearly out of touch with most Americans under 30. His approach has us all be good, quiet little Jews marching quietly off to the ovens, where we'll get our rights posthumously.
Heterosexual white men do not surrender power willingly. Whether it's colonialism, or parity for all regardless of color, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation, being silent and invisible doesn't get us shit. Never has, from Rosa Parks to Pontius Pilate.

The effect of the concentration of media ownership is not a new topic. Here, however, we get a Journalism 101 case study of what happens as a result of consolidation of ownership the sources for our news and information.

Ironically, the Advocate overall does an excellent job of covering GLBT news issues-- but then again, a better job on their website than in print. Click on the header above for a link to their website.

Don't take me to task before you get out your watch and see for yourself what fraction of the evening news reflects women, people of color or the GLBT community in comparision to our representation of the population.

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