Guest Post: On Cupcakes and Communication

Please also note that GLAAD has contacted the Fox station that produced the story to thank the outlet for its fair, accurate and inclusive coverage.

This post is crossposted from Bilerico Project.  View the original post.

By Bil Browning

While the story out of Indianapolis of a homophobic bakery refusing to make rainbow colored cupcakes for a college gay group is the topic of this news report by local Fox reporter Ray Cortopassi, I want to take a moment to reflect on the actual quality of the reporting.

Indy's not known for the quality of the LGBT coverage. Cortopassi's report, however, stands miles above the usual God-awful reporting on our issues in the Indianapolis market.

The major network affiliates are very hit or miss and the Indianapolis Star has long had a conservative viewpoint; they were owned by former Vice President Dan Quayle's family for decades.

NBC reporter Steve Jefferson was named the "Worst Journalist in the Nation" by GLAAD in December of 2008 after his horrid piece on the murder of transwoman Taysia Elzy and her boyfriend. The majority of local media outlets botched that story so badly it led to media trainings by the Indianapolis National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association chapter that I was happy to participate in.

Since I've often railed about the state of reporting on LGBT issues in Indianapolis, I think it's vitally important that we give credit where it's due. Cortopassi should be nominated for a GLAAD award for this story.

Not only does he use correct terminology, but he doesn't put the usual "Let's ask the religious right what they think" spin on the report. Instead of trying to find a reason to justify discrimination - as so many media outlets do - he simply lets the facts speak for themselves.

He doesn't have to paint a picture for the viewers. His report speaks for itself and lets the parties involved make their case. The homophobia and discrimination that the business owner espouses says more than any reporter possibly could. It paints a vivid picture of why Indiana needs LGBT protections for employment, public accommodations, and housing.

GLAAD's Director of National News, Cindi Creager, commented on the quality of Cortopassi's reporting. "This is a great example of how media across the country are shifting to fair and accurate reporting. In December 2008, a local NBC reporter in the Circle City used inaccurate and offensive terminology to describe a transgender woman who was brutally murdered in her own home. Now, we're seeing fair reporting that challenges homophobia in the community. It's stories like this one that grow acceptance of our community and reinforce the importance of holding media accountable for the stories they tell."

With one news report, Cortopassi has done more to spur conversations about anti-gay attitudes in Indiana than the state equality group has managed to do all year. If activists don't jump on this and ride it all the way to the statehouse, they're even less competent than the rest of the Indianapolis media.

(Crossposted from my home blog, Bilerico Project. Come visit me there to see why both the Washington Post and the Advocate magazine named us one of the top 10 LGBT political blogs in the nation.)