March 26, 2007
sandbagged! by here!
Posted by: Chris
First off, the more we learn, the less sympathetic here! TV is sounding. The GLAAD policy of limiting its awards to non-niche media is long-standing, yet here! waited until the eve of the ceremonies this year to go public with its complaint. That seems timed not only to benefit here! but to hurt GLAAD — not something that should give gay cable TV consumers much of a warm fuzzy.
Stephen Macias, the somewhat shrill here! TV exec who penned the nasty public letter to GLAAD, told the Times he was "flabbergasted" by the policy, which is a bit surprising since it's not new and certainly defensible, if not unassailable.
Anne Stockwell, the executive editor of the Advocate, said her magazine’s staff members have been bewildered that GLAAD has chosen not to honor their work at the awards.
“Everybody feels it would be great to see GLAAD take a forward-looking position and be assertive in coming to some kind of a sensible way to recognize all of us,” Stockwell said. “I do think it can feel frustrating to do all the reporting that we do, and break all the stories that we break, and not feel that there is a path to recognition.”
It's surprising to me the Times didn't go on to ask Stockwell why it wouldn't create a conflict of interest for the Advocate to cover GLAAD while also seeking its recognition. After all, the Times won't let its own editors and reporters accept awards from GLAAD or any other advocacy group because it creates the appearance of a conflict and the potential for bias.
I was at the Human Rights Campaign black-tie dinner in New York a few years ago when Stockwell's predecessor, longtime Advocate editor Judy Wieder , received a special award. In her acceptance, Wieder spoke proudly of how in her first days at the magazine's helm she adopted a policy that gay rights organizations were not to be criticized in the magazine's coverage.
Now that's the kind of "journalism" that HRC particularly likes, and the temptation at GLAAD would be similar. Would award-caliber journalism get the same consideration if it comes from a gay media outlet that has asked tough questions of GLAAD and other gay rights groups?
(It's also worth noting, as an aside, that GLAAD does hand out the Barbara Gittings Award, named after the recently deceased, groundbreaking lesbian activist and publication editor, to an individual, group or publication that made a pioneering contribution to the gay media. The Advocate received the award in 2002.)
Finally, the Times also talked with gay advertising agency head Howard Buford, who served on the GLAAD board in the late '90s, about the changing definition of "gay media":
“Is it gay ownership? Is it predominantly gay content? Is it a gay target audience? It’s not as easy a definition as it was at the beginning.”
Buford is right about that, especially in the TV industry, where Logo is owned by media giants MTV and Viacom. But still, I think "gay media" can be fairly reliably defined by the content and the target audience. Adding "gay media" categories to the GLAAD awards in the entertainment realm would recognize that changing landscape while not presenting a conflict of interest the same way handing out journalism awards would.
(Top photo: "Dante's Cove" — pioneering programming at here! TV ineligible for GLAAD Award recognition)
TrackBack URL for this entry:
The comments to this entry are closed.