CommunityPam's House Blend

LA Weekly: News is taking heat (and dishing it too) about the fact that local papers are not covering the outing of David Dreier and his hypocritical stance on gay rights. What is more disconcerting is that the papers won’t call Dreier on the fact that his lover has been on the payroll, a la McGreevey. If nothing else, this should outrage his constituents. If the man was out, he wouldn’t be doing this.

The P.R. strategy adopted by Dreier is silence — he’s hoping that, by ignoring the story about the Internet campaign to out the congressman as a hypocritical closet homosexual who consistently votes against the rights and interests of gay people, it will simply go away. So far, the strategy seems to be working, at least where some of the major print and television outlets are concerned. For example, absent a comment from Dreier, the Los Angeles Times (where there were serious internal discussions about whether or not to cover the story) has been reluctant to weigh in for its many readers in Dreier’s district — even though Dreier’s Democratic opponent came out of the closet to denounce him. L.A. Times’ editor John Carroll did not return phone or e-mail requests for comment.

After the Weekly’s article, Cynthia Matthews — the Democratic nominee in Dreier’s Foothills congressional district — gave interviews to local radio stations and Internet media saying she was proud of her lesbian relationship. “I have been in an 11-year relationship with my partner,” Matthews told, “and refuse to run for office if I would be required to relegate my partner to the closet.”

Matthews particularly criticized Dreier for paying the man he lives with — his chief of staff, Brad Smith — a remarkably high salary. “David Dreier contributes to a culture that allows closeted gays and lesbians to pay those with whom they have personal relationships from the government payroll,” she added, citing New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey’s recent resignation for having done just that.

…I had questioned, in my article, why the chain of daily papers in Dreier’s district had been silent on the contrast between Dreier’s anti-gay voting record and his closeted gay life. And I heard from the Pasadena Star-News (one of the larger dailies in this chain) requesting information. But, when I asked the reporter who called me if the Star-News would be running a story the next day, he warned me not to expect a story “any time soon” while telling me he couldn’t fill me in — even off the record — on the discussions about it at the Pasadena paper. Trying to talk to journalists from this pro-Republican Valley newspaper chain about Dreier is like trying to talk to a reporter from Pravda about Stalin in the dictators’ salad days — the fear of reprisals from management is palpable. Clearly, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” editorial policy about Dreier’s straight hypocrisy is still in effect in the Media News Group’s string of San Gabriel Valley dailies — none of which have published a single word about all this.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding