The Albany Democrat-Herald…

I wasn’t going to post on this, on the grounds that yes, it is that bad – but then I read the comment by Ajai. First, the letter to the editor, in its entirety:

No more on that mayor

It is unfortunate that we have to continue to listen about gay folks in Portland, considering the problems we all are dealing with financially, in the whole state of Oregon.

The guy lied, he is therefore not trustworthy of any position. God knows we put up with enough of lying this last eight years. Please do not waste any more time on the mayor of Portland.

I would like to see more jobs listed in the want ads. That is what the majority of people want to see. We do not care about some “queer” in Portland who wants to keep his job! I only say queer because that is what he calls himself. He gives a bad reputation to the gay community. He makes them all look like child molesters. Obviously he is because he started messing around with the young man before he was 18.

Let’s use your venue for positive, OK? We don’t need to hear about stupid. We all have to get positive. Help each other.

Shannon Duffy, Albany

A friend texted me this afternoon and told me to check the DH.  I’m still in sort of shock that the DH editorial staff would choose to run this.  Frankly, this is the kind of thing that would make me think about quitting a job.  Or filing a complaint, though I have no doubt it’d be ignored in this case (besides, who would I file it with?).

The comment by Ajai, again in its entirety:

Ajai wrote on Jan 27, 2009 4:47 PM:

” This is ridiculous.

You should be ashamed of yourself for posting Sharon Duffy’s preposterous HATE speech.

Yes, that is what it is.

When you call me a child molestor, that is HATE SPEECH.



My first response to the letter was to wonder if the letters to the editor are vulnerable to a libel suit against the paper.  I don’t think that’s the case, and I rarely think about lawsuits (even when it comes to Hering editorials) as a method of countering bad speech, but this time was an exception.  Printing this was just such a terrible call.  I hope the DH apologizes.

For the record, Ajai is right, of course; letters like Shannon Duffy’s contribute to an environment where hatred and violence directed at LGBT folks is seen as acceptable.

And no, I don’t think the ‘let them hang themselves with their own words’ defense flies here.  Some things have bigger consequences than that.

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4 Comments on “The Albany Democrat-Herald…”

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Dennis. What a banal awful letter!

  2. Roxy Says:

    Yeah, I can’t believe they ran this. This has got to be one of the worst things that they have ran. Plus, the online comments on the letter also use a racial slur, and I can’t believe they posted that either (see Dangerous Dave).

    Apparently that type of language is acceptable on the DH website. What I don’t get is if it’s OK to post the slur on their website, is it also OK to print it on the editorial page?

  3. Dennis Says:

    Ah, it’s just the web, Roxy. That’s not the real paper paper, and therefore doesn’t count!

    Or, you know, the answer is just yes, which is infuriating.

  4. Roxy Says:

    I know, but putting that in doesn’t fit with their online comment policy. I suppose there is not a policy for what to print or not, but they actually do have one for online.

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