Tell the Star Tribune to Stop Advancing Dangerous Viewpoints in Place of Real Discussion
On October 22, the Minnesota Star Tribune irresponsibly published an anti-gay opinion piece by Katherine Kersten, which paints marriage equality advocates as violent individuals who will act aggressively toward any person who votes against marriage equality. In the piece, titled “We can expect aggression on marriage vote,” she uses offensively broad strokes to accuse equality advocates of being responsible for “swastikas scrawled on houses of worship” and for physically attacking the elderly and then generalizes from these extreme examples to say that all marriage equality advocates will undoubtedly begin harassing YOU, the reader, should you choose to vote against marriage equality.
The vote on this anti-gay constitutional amendment on marriage is set for November 2012 in Minnesota, and the debate in the news is already well underway. In fact, the Star Tribune editorial board published a strong pro-marriage equality editorial just last month, in which they say opponents of marriage equality in the state are out of step with public opinion and the movement for equality. The editorial board goes so far as to state, “It's wrong to enshrine denial of basic human rights in state law, and hopefully the discussion in the next 12 months will make that clear.”
Except that they then turned around and printed an egregiously irresponsible, inflammatory and ultimately dangerous guest opinion piece that amps the rhetoric on marriage equality from a civil and “Minnesota-Nice” discussion to one that relies heavily on stereotypes - making marriage equality advocates out to be aggressive, dangerous, and threatening. By using these scare tactics, opponents of marriage equality are trying to shut down dialogue – making Minnesotans afraid to talk to each other about the issue and truly learn about each others’ viewpoints. And by giving these blatant, anti-dialogue scare tactics a platform, the Star Tribune is unfortunately lending them its credibility.
A respectable news outlet has a responsibility to its readers to frame a dialogue for Minnesotans who are working to decide what, if anything, should be placed in the Minnesota Constitution regarding marriage. With the editorial team standing behind an article riddled with inaccurate stereotypes and dangerous accusations, it is clear that having a real cross-section of viewpoints comes second to exploitive ploys that might temporarily raise traffic numbers.
The Star Tribune did not respond when GLAAD reached out about the irresponsible decision to give voice to Kersten’s dangerous accusations. The Star Tribune refused to print a response piece and have continued to ignore a community-wide response asking the outlet to hold themselves to a higher standard of journalism. Please add your voice and tell the Star Tribune that it was irresponsible of them to further such dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric aimed at halting dialogue. Join GLAAD in urging the Star Tribune to act like a responsible news outlet and stick to framing the discussion on marriage and the state constitution in a fair and accurate manner.
Take action now! E-mail the Star Tribune editorial page editor, Scott Gillespie, and demand the Star Tribune maintain a higher level of journalistic integrity.
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