Thursday, May 20, 2004

NO GUTS, NO GLORY. The Lowell Sun, spooked by a handful of cancellations, apologizes today for publishing a photo of two men kissing at Cambridge City Hall this past Monday, the day that same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. A Sun editorial panders thusly:

While the photo accurately chronicled the new reality in Massachusetts that same-sex couples are to receive equal rights granted traditional married couples it represented a shocking element to what has otherwise been a fair and cautious process conducted on The Sun's news and editorial pages.

To some readers, the photograph pushed the envelope too far. Those contacted by The Sun said it represented an unnecessary, in-your-face intrusion, especially for parents with young children.

No doubt The Sun underestimated the photo's impact on a segment of its readership population. By publishing it, we inadvertently inflamed passions and emotions in people who are still trying to come to terms with the gay-marriage issue.

We learned a valuable lesson and hope to benefit from it....

If The Sun could turn back the clock, we most likely would select a less intrusive photograph not because the original photo was wrong but because it didn't fit the go-slow approach we've endorsed for a better understanding of this sensitive issue.

Assistant editorial-page editor Ann Connery Frantz compounds the outrage with a remarkably wishy-washy exercise in hand-wringing that includes this absurdity: "Parents want to protect their kids from behavior that offends. Although I suspect many children are more understanding than they're given credit for, I have also felt the impulse to keep them innocent, at least while they still were."

So if you're gay or lesbian and living in Greater Lowell, here's the message: you can get married. But don't act so, you know, married.

Clarification: The Sun's editorial apologized for running the photo, not Frantz's column. Media Log apologies for any misunderstanding.

THE SEVENTH-GRADER THEORY OF POLITICAL GAMESMANSHIP. The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller writes today:

Both White House and Bush campaign officials said there were no plans or debate about changing the president's re-election strategy, which is to run on national security. Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush were also described as adamant that the president not admit publicly to any mistakes in war planning and the American-led occupation of the country, as Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary and intellectual godfather of the Iraq war, did in a hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

"There is a theory in the White House that they don't want to appear like Jimmy Carter," said one Republican adviser. "They think that's weak."

So how many Americans and Iraqis must die so that no one will confuse George W. Bush with Jimmy Carter?

Don't worry, Mr. President. No one is going to confuse you with a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, that's for sure.

NEW IN THIS WEEK'S PHOENIX. The big story: With Iraq taking center stage, other news gets squeezed. Plus, Danny Schechter goes public, Spare Change News goes pro, and the Globe goes porn.

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