Thursday, April 01, 2004
Christians in the newsroom: Hopefully this will mark the end of this bit of silliness that Christians should be banned from mainstream journalism and independent groups should be discouraged from urging Christians from going into journalism.
Michaelagelo Signorile, in a column for the New York Press, follows in the dubious footsteps of Atrios and the Daily Kos to attack Los Angeles Times writer Roy Rivenburg for having the audacity to be a Catholic and write stories assigned to him by his editors.
Rivenburg's response, posted on the letters page of Romenesko's Medianews column, is hilarious.
From ROY RIVENBURG Subject: Signorile. It's time you all knew the truth: I am part of a vast right-wing-Christian-fundamentalist-Illuminati-fascist-Halliburton conspiracy to infiltrate secular newsrooms and publish extremist propaganda under the guise of objective news. For 12 years, I've labored in secrecy at the Los Angeles Times, under the code name "Roy Rivenburg." Unfortunately, my cover has been blown. As columnist Michelangelo Signorile and a handful of obscure bloggers have revealed, I recently managed to sneak a blatantly biased story about gay marriage into the L.A. Times. It was a daring operation. First, I had to get several top editors to think the story idea was theirs and choose me to write it. Next, after taking dictation from my Christian Conspiracy handlers, I got the final draft approved by a phalanx of liberal Democrat editors and copy editors. My secret? Mass hypnosis, of course. Reader reaction to such a slanted screed on a hot-button topic was swift. A torrent of two phone calls overwhelmed our switchboard, and our mailroom was buried with four, possibly five, letters and e-mails. Bloggers on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate praised the article.
OK, so maybe Operation Ix-Nay on the Ay-Gays wasn't my finest work as a covert Vatican operative (I'm Catholic) at the L.A. Times. But there's more. In 1997, I wrote an expose of the public-relations war over partial-birth abortion that earned me a scathing letter from Helen Alvare of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Other religion-related pieces I've done here have been scolded by William Donohue of the Catholic League and denounced from the pulpit by Chuck Smith, the fundamentalist pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, to name a few. So, as you can see, I'm doing a great job of what Mr. Signorile calls "aiding and abetting the hidden Christian right agenda."
Whatever your position, it's clear that Rivenburg is a much more talented writer than Signorile.