Tuesday, January 22, 2008

GLAAD v CDC Gay Staph Releases;
SF Chronicle Ignoring UCSF Apology

Starting last Monday gay men were subjected to some damn awful mainstream media coverage after UCSF put out a provocative release about a staph study, four times alluding to how gay men are allegedly not part of the general population.
Too many news outlets created stories incorrectly stigmatizing gay men and our risk level for contracting a nasty staph infection, and by Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a press statement to clarify all of the homophobic misperceptions in the news.
I'm someone who believes the CDC does a lousy job of dealing with gay men and diseases, especially sexually transmitted infections, but I give much credit to the federal health agency for realizing the damage to public health being done by the stories, and rather quickly moving to issue a clarifying statement.
At the same time, the advocacy group whose mission is to monitor the media's handling of gay issues, and combat anti-gay news coverage, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, was silent about the raging homophobia included in hundreds of domestic and international staph articles.
Since the beginning of the week, GLAAD has been closely monitoring media coverage of a report published in the "Annals of Internal Medicine" on a drug-resistant strain of MRSA bacteria, known as USA300, found in gay men in San Francisco and Boston. [...]
Jeez, is that all GLAAD did over five long days was "monitor" the awfulness? Anyone with a computer was able to closely monitor the stories. I don't get the sense the group broke into a sweat over the coverage.
GLAAD has been working closely with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) to examine and respond to media coverage of the story, reaching out to reporters to provide accurate resources and background on the study. [...]
Oy, more closeness from GLAAD, this time involving another group MIA as the homophobic headlines appeared across the nation all week. I sure would like hard evidence reached as claimed, and what came of it.
GLAAD and GLMA are urging media to ensure that they are covering this study accurately and in all its complexity, that they understand and report on the limitations of the findings, and that they not overstate or misstate the study's conclusions. The groups are also urging media to consult a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statement this week that clarified some of the misimpressions caused by the initial wave of media coverage.
Gosh, five days after it all began, these two gay advocacy group are so concerned they're urging the media to do a better job. Translation, the barn has burned to the ground and GLAAD and GLMA call for better sprinklers.
But nice of GLAAD to note that the CDC was doing what it couldn't or wouldn't -- clarifying the lies being spread about gays and staph. It says many terrible things about professional gay advocacy organizations that they did less than the CDC, and under the Bush administration no less, an administration hostile to gay health.
I think GLAAD last week was simply too busy partying at the Sundance film festival and getting ready for their glam awards b.s. announcement to divert organizational resources away from the entertainment party circuit, and do more than issue a lame release on staph coverage, creating a misimpression that they are on top of the stigmatizing stories.
And speaking of slow responses in the second week of the staph story, five days after UCSF issued a public apology to the gay community for the offensive press release, and two days after the New York Times reported on the mea culpa, the San Francisco remains silent on the apology.
It doesn't surprise me in the least that the Chronicle can't be bothered to inform readers of the apology. That might lead to readers questioning the paper's role in promulgating the initial wave of crappy stories, and also asking this question of Chronicle reporters and editors: Why didn't you question the isolating of gays from the general population by UCSF?

No comments: