Homophobic News Media In Canada?

What is going on over there in Oshawa? I was writing away at a very thought provoking, inspirational post that I was going to put up in the morning, and then I made the mistake of looking at Facebook. One of my sisters from another mister had put up a status update about an “Open Letter To Joe Ingino, publisher and editor of the Oshawa/Durham Central”, and there was a lot of angry responses to the homophobic comments that the editor of a local paper had been spouting. Me, being an inquisitive sort of fellow, decided to find out more, so I read the letter. All of the fancy words kind of turned me off, but seeing as I have the ability to decipher them, I kept on reading.

I’m not saying you have to read the letter, but you should, because it’s part of the story, and he took the time to write it. The letter is as follows:

April 10, 2012

 

An open letter to Joe Ingino, publisher and editor of the Oshawa/Durham Central:

 

Dear Mr. Ingino,

 

No doubt you are already busy managing the impact of your decision to publish in print and online your criticisms of the recent participation by two members of Oshawa City Council in a local function in support of the LGBTQ members of our community. While I have had the opportunity for many years to observe your mostly unnoticed activities in our city via the Oshawa/Durham Central, this latest event has spurred me to reply to you and your publication.

 

I am not going to launch a diatribe against your poor spelling, diction, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and other properties of conventional written communication. The principles of freedom of speech are also rightfully extended to those who might not have the best of talents in the use of the above-mentioned elements – notwithstanding regular limits for reasons such as hate or libel – however they would do so with a special type of risk if attempting to run a print or online publication.

 

I am also not going to address the details of this most recent incident, even though it is the catalyst for my decision to write you in an open letter. Others have thoroughly and effectively addressed that concern, and I am glad to live in a city where a sufficient number of people find your harmful isolationist views unacceptable.

 

The most glaringly obvious ongoing offense that you commit is your weekly violation of the Canada Copyright Act, and, I am willing to guess, the parallel statute and/or relevant legal precedents in the United States and possibly in other countries. From the absurd rip-off of the CNN logo to your constant reprinting without permission of news copy from credible news organizations, you seem to not care that you have spent years infringing on the copyright of others, rather than going out and doing your own news-gathering work. You use copy from wire agencies and associations of which you are not a member, and seem to just cut and paste material off of websites without attribution and without permission. I find it hard to believe that you could be so oblivious as to not know that you are breaking the law – and opening yourself up for countless opportunities to be successfully sued in court. I suspect that the reason you haven’t been pursued by those whose copyright you have infringed can only be explained by suggesting that your publication must be far too insignificant and irrelevant for them bother.

 

Apparently, you decided it was not enough to have poor editorial practices, and, as publisher, brought your principles into the revenue-generation section of your business plan. You state both online and in the publication that the Oshawa-Durham Central is “Now Read By Over 40,000 People Weekly” – which, I might add, used to say an “estimated 35,000.” You’ve either gained readers or confidence, or perhaps a bit of both. I admit to wondering, Mr. Ingino, whether any of your advertisers have ever asked for the documentation to prove these numbers, and what your reply was. I also wonder if you are aware that it is print-news industry practice to have independently audited numbers of the sort that you claim, which can then be provided to advertisers so that they have a better idea of whether or not the amount of money you are charging them to place advertisements is based on sound distribution numbers. However, I have a feeling that I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, am I? Sadly, it’s something that your advertisers, being small local businesses on tight operating budgets, might not have heard of, and I doubt that you make any effort to inform them.

 

As you have probably heard or seen already, members of the community are contacting your advertisers to fill them in on the latest situation. I am further encouraging those members of the community who have contacted the advertisers to explain the important detail about readership based on industry audits (which is a normal and standard industry practice) and consider taking legal action against you based on that aforementioned fact, which I would openly suggest involves you providing false readership numbers in order to make a profit.

 

It is quite ironic that the single incident that caused all this noise included a headline using words like “ethics” and “morally questionable.” While you may be convinced that this uproar is about one particular incident, and additionally your choice to stand behind your words (or not, and offer a retraction), I would be adamant in stating that it is not about that single incident, as unfortunate as it is. Rather, the most recent incident is merely the most egregious example in a collection of unacceptable editorial and business practices that paint the picture of a publication being run in a manner that at best would be described as perplexing, and, at worst and closer to the truth, incompetently and far below legal inscrutability.

 

Finally, you will notice that I never once referred to your publication as a “newspaper.” That would be an inaccurate use of the term, for reasons already outlined.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Derek Giberson

 

Now, after reading that, I got pretty curious as to what this editor had said or done, to warrant such a letter. I asked Emmy if she could send me some more documentation on the story, and she happily obliged. She also put me in touch with another lovely lass, that she said could fill me in better if I needed more information. I quickly made her acquaintance, and was on my way.

It was about this time that I figured I had better get up to tuck Mrs. Birdman in, and explain to her that I put the original post on the backbench for tonight, and was now heading in another direction. I told her what I knew thus far, and she reluctantly agreed that I should come back down to write this story, so here I am.

I started with Mr. Ingino’s Facebook page, which is wide open for viewing. and I was kind of shocked to see that he had written so many illiterate comments that he posted there. One was in response to this video that he himself posted:

Here is his comment with this video:

Joe Ingino shared a link.
CHEX CAN YOU SAY LIBEL AND SLANDER? WHO ARE THEY CALLING A RAG… THESE IN THE POCKET OF CITY OF OSHAWA BUDGET SOCIALITES. THIS IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF HOW THE CITY HAS BOUGHT WITH YOUR TAX DOLLAR SOME OF THE LOCAL MEDIA. ONCE OF THEIR OWN GETS PINCHED IN QUESTIONABLE SITUATIONS. CHEX JUMPS TO ASSIST IN DAMAGE CONTROL IN FEAR OF LOOSING ADVERTISING DOLLARS. WHAT A SHAME THAT CHEX CALLS THEMSELVE A REPUTABLE MEDIA OUTLET. I GUES THAT EXPLAINS THE RATINGS AND RANKING NATIONLLY.
(Editor’s note: I’d like to point out that it was not channel 12 CHEX in Peterbourough, ON, but Channel 12 in Durham that Mr. Ingino is accusing of slander and libel. As far as I know, CHEX has nothing to do with this story. I’d also like to point out that this man is a publisher and an editor of the “rag” in question, and I find it abhorrent that he would hit enter before even proofreading his own venomous assault.)
From here, I decided to see exactly what the “questionable situations” were, and what the original article from the Oshawa/Durham Central had said. From what I can gather, PFLAG had a fundraiser that was aimed at raising money to send youths to a leadership camp this summer. Here is the description from PFLAG Durham’s website:

March 2012

  • Saturday, March 31 – A GALA EVENING OF GLAMOUR AND COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER
    • Help send LGBTA Youth to Leadership Camp in July!
      This unique production isn’t your typical cocktail lounge drag show. It is reminiscent of “An Evening at LA CAGE”, featuring some of the best female celebrity impersonators.
    • The talents of Savanaugh Davenport, Farra N. Hyte, Heroine Marks, Katherine Dior, Teran Blake, Michelle DuBarry, Nicollette Brown, Vitality Black, Justin Rockhard, Carlotta Carlisle, Benn Dover and more, will bring to life some of the greatest stars of our time, including Marilyn Monroe, Cher, Liza Minelli, Bette Midler, Tina Tuner and many more….All hosted by queen of the red-carpet Joan Rivers.
    • Cocktail Reception with Michelle DuBarry. Full Elegant Dinner. Silent Auction. Live Show. Community Fundraiser. Help send LGBTA Youth to Leadership Camp!
    • This year, consider reserving a table of 8 for your organization or group. Together, 8 people can purchase a reserved table or ask your company manager to take the team out in support of a worthy cause.
    • This is a 19+ event.
Now, I’m no expert, but that seemed like a pretty decent cause to me, and then I thought, that I had better find out what exactly happened at the show that was so reprehensible.What was so bad that this Regional Councillor should be asked to resign? I know that the TV news cuts things out that they don’t want you to see, so I figured I’d try to find a full video of the performance. Luckily I found a clip on Mr. Ingino’s Facebook page, so I suppose I should thank him for doing the dirty work for me.
Here is the full video of Regional Councillor Amy England doing a Bruno Mars song for a charity that she believes in:

 

Now I’m kind of liberal sort of guy I guess, but I found nothing wrong with that performance. I actually got a bit choked up when she started to point at people, and I imagined how it must feel to be a young LGBT person, looked down upon by some shallow, narrow-minded people. Now, here’s this person who’s willing to get up on stage to help me, and then she points at me, telling me that I’m cherished as I am, and that not everybody feels that I’m less of a human being because of who I choose to love. That, to me anyhow, is a beautiful message, and I feel sorry for anyone that doesn’t see that.

Now here is Joe Ingino’s response to the video, that I copied from his Facebook page myself:

Joe Ingino YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK… WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO ETHICS… INTEGRITY… IN MOST COUNTRIES THEY WOULD DEMAND RESIGNATIONS… A REGIONAL COUNCILLOR TAKING BILLS OFF LESBIANS AND THE DEGENERATES…INCLUDING BRUCE WOOD…. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE SHOULD THIS CONCILLOR BE DISCIPLINED?

I found the full article, but because they must just scan the paper and put it online as a series of images, it may be somewhat difficult to read. If you click the picture, it should take you to the full sized image.

Click this image to see the full sized article. (Image credit: The Oshawa/Durham Central Newspaper)

I am absolutely sickened by the article myself. Not only is it offensive and hateful toward the LGBT community and the people that love them, it’s absolutely the worst editing I’ve ever seen in a professional publication. The views of Mr. Ingino, and Mr. Steele, are dwarfed only by the hurtful statements from the people that were interviewed. I truly hope that anybody living an alternative lifestyle, doesn’t read that, and believe that those few bigoted remarks are indicative of all members of that community.

In partial defence of Bill Steele, he did resign and apologize publicly on his Facebook page, and has said that he phoned Amy England, and apologized to her personally. I believehope that his statements were fueled by a personal grief with the councillors, and not a hatred towards the LGBT community. (editor’s note 06/05/2013: I was recently informed that Bill Steele did NOT call and apologise to Councillor England, despite his claims to have done so.)

There is far more back and forth going on with this story, and I’ve tried to present it in as unbiased a manner as possible, but it is so hard to do when dealing with such a lopsided argument. I am going to leave off with a short note to one of my groomsmen, a very dear friend that I love and respect.

To my good friend Dustin: I wanted to believe that these attitudes had changed around here. I wanted you to be a part of our wedding, and be able to feel comfortable in your skin, but because of these people, I begin to doubt again. I know you are used to being scrutinized because of who you are, and I know that you can handle yourself in a much less forgiving climate than this, but I still worry. I worry that someone I know may make an offhand remark that might hurt you. I worry that no matter how much love you hold in that massive heart of yours, some insensitive, and/or cruel person could cloud it with a biting look, or a hurtful name. I know that you are going to love my friends, and they won’t be able to help but love you back, and even if there is a bad apple in the bushel, I hope you won’t think ill of the rest of them. You know I try to surround myself with the best of the best, and no matter what, we’ll have your back.

Chris

Keep fighting the good fight. Then you don’t have to get a real job.

Okay folks, in case you didn’t know how the links work, I’m going to lay them all out here in some semblance of order, so you can click away at will:

This is the link to the fundraiser in question. http://www.pflagdurhamregion.com/events.html

Here is the performance in question. http://youtu.be/4zS7t-Tfp9w

Here is Joe Ingino’s Facebook page where you can find several of his comments and conversations. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=688801426&ref=ts

Here is one of the news stories. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=epniNa-f-4M

This is the link to the paper, click page 5 for the article, but if it’s gone, you can look at the image above. http://www.ocentral.com/newspaper/index.html

Click on this link for Derek Giberson’s open letter to Joe Ingino, and feel free to share it with your friends.https://www.facebook.com/notes/derek-giberson/an-open-letter-to-joe-ingino-publisher-and-editor-of-the-oshawadurham-central/10150640761107257

This will take you to Bill Steele’s public apology and resignation. https://www.facebook.com/notes/bill-steele/i-have-resigned-from-the-oshawa-durham-central-newspaper-effective-immediately/10150785579634254

And this one will take you to Dustin’s awesome blog about being transgendered in a pretty remote part of Canada. http://becoming-oliver.blogspot.com

Read things over, discuss them amongst yourselves, and give me some feedback as to what you think about this controversy. Should the news media be able to spread bigotry, and accusations that are unfounded, or should they be held accountable to report the facts to people, and not a religious/personal/political agenda?

What would you do if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me,

Birdman

Google+ Comments

19 thoughts on “Homophobic News Media In Canada?

  1. I don’t have any insightful comments today, I just want to let you know how proud of you I am and what an honor it it to be considered one of your friends.
    I love you, man
    And ya Dustin, I’ve got your back.

  2. There are no words to describe the love I feel in my heart right now for you Birdman. And Scooter, thanks. I would hate to see someone come up against you!

    Because of where I live, I am subjected to comments, looks and jeers almost everyday. And you are right Chris, I can take most of it. Some days it hurts. But most days, I realize that these people who are looking at me like I have a giant squid on my head mean nothing to me. And I feel sorry for them that they are so narrow minded and unloved in their own lives that they feel the need to criticize mine.

    If someone happenes to make an off hand comment, well, it happens. I can not be mad if that is what they truly believe. Though most people make comments with out thinking about them. And without having the proper facts. If they are willing to listen, I am willing to talk and educate them. And if it gets out of hand, then Scooter can come to my rescue.

    I truly believe that I will be accepted by your friends Chris. I know you try to surround yourself with quality people who are as loving and open minded as you.

    What can I say? I love you man!

    • I just think back to when I was a little kid at school. I was the smallest boy in class, and got teased and bullied a lot for the first little while. Back then you had to show that you will push back, no matter what the odds, then people will eventually stop. It hurts a lot to watch people get bullied, and sometimes I get too emotional about it. I just wish that everyone would just grow up, and allow people to live their lives in peace. I can’t wait to see you in your tux. You are going to look SHARP!I love you like a brother, man.

  3. Ingino has the right to say whatever he likes, regardless of how ignorant or abhorrent any of us think it is. I think Neil Gaiman said it best:

    “If you accept — and I do — that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don’t say or like or want said. The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don’t. This is how the Law is made.”

    That being said, however, I am saddened that we live in a time where there is no longer any such thing as “journalistic integrity.” This small-minded bigot, with his teeny tiny little paper, is not doing anything any differently than most of the large “news” organizations do (at least in the States). Every “news” story I see, I know that I have to take with a grain of salt. By the time it gets to me it will have been edited almost beyond recognition, either to further a political agenda, or just to get better ratings. In the end it’s up to us as individuals to try to do our own research and come to our own conclusions rather that accepting what is spoon fed to us by the media.

    • You are 100% correct, Kari. I don’t think that he should be censored, but I do think that if you are going to have a publication containing the word “newspaper”, that you should not be able to report anything but the truth. There is always going to be hate-mongering and bigotry, but I don’t think that you should be able to call it “news”. That is something for a tabloid, or blog, or whatever other forum you choose, but should not be construed as truth.

  4. Thank you for writing this, and for highlighting the idiocy that is Joe Ingino, and I hope he can never again find an advertiser for his ‘magazine’ (and I use the term loosely).

    I love this blog so much, and I have totally forgiven you for not coming to bed until way late. This was totally worth it.

    Damn, I love you. xo

    • Thanks, Baby. You knew I would be there eventually, right? I love you so much, and can’t wait to get you up in the cocoon tonight. I’m going to finish tomorrow’s post right now, so there will be no excuses. 😉

  5. By-gosh but it drives me crazy when people use words like ‘morality’ and ‘ethics’ to spread hate. How sad it must be to live a life where the sexual preferences, gender identity or practices of others give rise to such venom and anger. I truly don’t understand it. *shaking head*

  6. Pingback: Down In The Dumps

    • Long Live Freedom of Speech and thank God that ignorance is not a crime or most of the educated idiots that posted here would be doing double life…
      Sad, that you can all criticize but can’t read. Read the article for the content and understand that it was never about the event but the ethics of two one time councillors.
      Now please, live and let live and for God sake to all on this post get a life and if anything get educated.
      As for the Birdman… Show some character post your real name and you credentials before you go attacking… it is obvious by the number of idiots that posted here no one seems to take you seriou.
      Peace.
      Mr. Ingino to you.

      • A good newsman would already know my name, Joe. I guess if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find it. I don’t know what credentials you would like to see, but I can provide my birth certificate if you are worried about my citizenship.

        This comment is just like all of the bullshit on your Facebook, but with far less errors and it’s not all caps. I had actually forgotten about you, Joe, so thanks for reminding me that you still exist.

        I find it amusing that six months later, you are still Googling your name to see if anyone likes you yet. I doubt they do, but who knows, even Hitler must have had friends, right?

        Anyhow Joe, take your big bag of wind and blow it up your own ass. I’m tired of you blowing it up mine.

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