Friday, October 19, 2012

BORE Publisher Horn 
Too Chickenshit to Sign Anti-Nudist Editorial

(From the left: Horn, Paris Mayor Bernard Delanoe, SF Mayor Ed Lee, ex-SF Protocol Chief Charlotte Schultz. Credit: Catherine Bigelow.)

San Francisco's weakly gay rag the Bay Area Reporter enjoys an undeserved and unearned reputation as an impartial newspaper. Let's go over a few ethical problems for the BORE.

I've blogged in the past about publisher Tom Horn's donations to politicians covered by the rag, donations never disclosed by editor Cynthia Laird or reporters Matthew Bajko and Seth Hemmelgarn, see here and here. There's also the Bob A. Ross Foundation headed by Horn, which annually doles out hundreds of thousands of dollars to LGBT and AIDS groups receiving coverage and the foundation's donations are omitted from the reporting.

What other ethical failures do Horn and Laird keep from readers? The fact that their ad sales rep is a voting member of the Merchants of Upper Market Castro, a group that has escaped critical scrutiny related to the rainbow flag controversy. The BORE rep's board membership at MUMC since April wasn't disclosed until this week.

Just how complete has the blackout been about MUMC and this two-year controversy in the BORE? The rag's fabulous transgender columnist Gwen Smith, founder of Transgender Day of Remembrance, admitted this amazing fact in her column this week:

Last month, I heard of Veronika Fimbres's request to see the transgender pride flag raised onto the flagpole at Harvey Milk Plaza on November 20. To be honest, until that moment I did not know there was an organization that oversees the flagpole and considers all requests surrounding its use. 

Um, if the BORE had not been keeping the MUMC flag controversy off its news pages, Smith would have learned a long time ago about this group that oversees the public flagpole.

There's always space to cover Horn's powerful buddies like Nancy Pelosi and Jim Hormel. Why, just three weeks ago the BORE informed us that she received a useless award (photo op!) from the SF AIDS Foundation, presented by Hormel:

(Credit: Rick Gerharter.)

Speaking of the AIDS Foundation, which frequently runs full-page ads and the occasional (and quite pricey) full wrap-around ad for the first section of the BORE, the foundation must be pleased that Laird hasn't reported on how 58% of profits from last year's AIDS Walk went toward expenses. Can't have the rag pissing off big advertisers.

The current BORE contains this photo-op of Hormel and Pelosi smiling after he's presented her with another worthless award, this time from the Shanti Project:

(Credit: Jane Philomen Cleland.)

Enough digressing. This week's main editorial, written with the elan, lawyerly arguing and grammatical finesse of French-speaking powerful attorney Tom Horn but not signed by him, unfairly demonizes nudists in the Castro. Laird's editorials are penned with a social worker tone and the current one lacks her voice. Penned, but not signed by chickenshit publisher Horn:

The controversy over nudists in the Castro is an example of what happens when a group of people overreach. In this case, a détente of sorts had existed . . .

But when one person's liberty infringes on the rights of others, it is time to strike a reasonable balance . . .

Governments place reasonable restrictions on freedom of expression all the time: people can't play loud music all night long; protest zones are established for demonstrations. A fundamental tenet of the First Amendment is the regulation of time, place, and manner . . . The nudists are degrading the neighborhood.

In my view, the nudists are enhancing what makes the Castro so special. On the other hand, Horn and the BORE are degrading impartial and ethical journalism, especially when they title this editorial "Put your clothes on". Horn should put his name on this editorial and all that he authors.

Just one more ethical lapse for this rag.


rusty94114 said...

Thanks, Michael, for the interesting information. I learn a lot from reading your blog.

Michael Strickland said...

The BORE continues nailing their own coffin in so many ways. I'm starting to feel about them the same way I feel about the Chronicle. Just die, already. You've done enough good and more than enough harm.