Monday, July 04, 2011

Bay Windows Rejected GLAAD's
Invitation to Sponsor a Gala

Recently, I blogged about other bloggers and traditional gay press outlets serving as enablers to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's remarkable dysfunctional ways and meltdown.

Singled-out for mention was Ken Williams, news editor of the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, because of his admission that his paper enjoyed a partnership relationship with GLAAD. One-way street really were SDGLN ran GLAAD releases verbatim and never was heard a critical word from the paper about the conflict of interest.

Today, let's look at the current editorial in Bay Windows, written by co-publishers Jeff Coakley and Sue O’Connell, raising many troubling questions over GLAAD's crisis and attempted sponsorship with the Boston newspaper:

GLAAD has seemed ignorant, or at best na├»ve, about how the media world is organized. A big part of GLAAD’s overall mission statement is "holding the media accountable for the words and images they present." That’s great. But GLAAD actively solicits event sponsorships from media companies. When GLAAD contacted Bay Windows about sponsoring one of their events, we asked the GLAAD rep if the conflict of interest seemed as obvious to him as it was to us. ...

The GLAAD rep responded in such a way that it was clearly the first time anyone had ever mentioned such a notion to him.

You probably have figured out what the conflict is: that a media company might feel coerced into sponsoring an event held by a media watchdog; or that the watchdog might be perceived by the community as going easy on Bay Windows in return for the sponsorship. If you did, you’re way ahead of the GLAAD staff. The rep called back a few days later and reported that after discussing it with his boss neither of them could see a conflict. Bay Windows declined the invitation. ...

Kudos to Coakley and O'Connell for questioning and rejecting GLAAD attempted sponsorship relationship, and for going public about it. This is the kind of responsible gay journalism we need so much more of, and not just about GLAAD but about all Gay Inc components.

One item of criticism and a challenge to Bay Windows' co-publishers. You might have gone a few extra steps in your editorial pointing out GLAAD's glaring lack of public forums with the community, and also calling for the development of democratic engagement from GLAAD's board and executives.

It's not enough to inform the community of GLAAD's behind the scenes attempts cozying up to and potentially co-opting gay print media, or lauding the resignations of Jarrett Barrios, Troup Coronado and other staff or board members.

We must address the structural rot of GLAAD and not settle for cosmetic personnel and board changes, and that can only be accomplished with massive doses of transparency.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Was the GLAAD rep who replied to the Bay Windows from the Programs or Development side of GLAAD as they have a Transparency statement on their website.

Michael said...

i can't say. all i know is what i read at the bay windows site. you might want to contact the co-publishers and ask them directly about who from GLAAD reached out to them.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat alarming to ask for support from Bay Windows and not be able to answer a basic question - one that would surely come up.