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.
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:
- 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.
- Help send LGBTA Youth to Leadership Camp in July!
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.
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.
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?