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Monday, May 19, 2003

Journalistic Integrity (or the lack thereof)


I just wrote a long post on this, and Blogger ate it. So, the short version:
Today's Crimson has an article on a friend of mine, Harvard chef Larry Houston, who has gotten much grief since he says he used to be attracted to men, but is no longer. He looks at his own experience and that of many others and thinks that it shows that sexual preferences are not necessarily hard-wired. He does not initiate conversations with students on the subject, but is willing to talk with those who come to him on their own. Because of this, he's a "promoter of hate speech" and should be banned from the university, angry yet pro-tolerance students say.

Anyhow, the Crimson today quoted him as saying, “I don’t see myself as a victim at Harvard, but I’m going to play that game for the political benefit."

I know Larry; he wrote me and others (including a Crimson reporter) an email about his upcoming trip to DC a while back. In it, he had that quote, but with a very important lead-in: he said that he had qualms about the trip because he doesn't see himself as a victim at Harvard, and yet in order to make his point PFOX needs him to emphasize it. He's miffed that the administration told the Crimson they were investigating him, but they never told him he was being investigated, yes, but he's gotten a much better deal at Harvard than the reaction many people get when they announce that they no longer consider themselves part of a protected sexual minority; he's aware he's gotten a good deal, but he wants to help the people who have been hounded out of their jobs because of their unwelcome sexual preferences, people who don't have the luxury of a trip to DC to talk with congressmen.

Then again, the number of times my friends have been straight-out misquoted (a la Blair) or had their words twisted or taken out of context (a la Dowd) probably outnumbers the number of times they've been correctly quoted in the Crimson. The paper's ridiculous.

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