Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Responsibility of a Newspaper to Its Community

I am very disturbed, both by the Jewish Standard’s decision to withhold any subsequent wedding announcements of same-sex couples and also by its craven apology following the publication of an upcoming same-sex wedding in its Sept. 24 2010 issue.

It is remarkable to think that in the few days of Sukkot when it was not yom tov, the Orthodox rabbis in the Teaneck community and Bergen County found the time to rally over this issue and that, in this same time frame, the editorial board reached this abrupt decision. Additionally, while the publisher’s statement acknowledged a “firestorm” as a result of running this announcement, the editorial board chose not to run a single letter received on this matter.

The Standard yielded abjectly to the pressures of one side of this issue and surrendered its own editorial integrity.

It is important to acknowledge that the publication of the announcement caused nowhere near the “pain and consternation”  it is now causing among those of us who love and respect our gay family members and friends. 

The Jewish Standard is the paper of record to a large Jewish community here in Bergen County and should not – dare I say, may not – yield to any one constituency. The speed in which this issue was reversed smacks of a threat of a boycott by those rabbis who control the RCBC and whose restaurants advertise in the pages of the paper. A newspaper must resist the pressures of any one faction if it is to claim journalistic integrity.

The publisher and editors have surrendered to intimidation and censorship at the cost of their integrity. Either they hold themselves to the standards of journalistic integrity or change the paper’s name to the Jewish DoubleStandard..

1 comment:

  1. See Tablet for a good overview: