Alex Blaze

Here's your liberal media for you

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 09, 2009 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: homophobic behavior, HRC, journalism, larry grard, Maine, marriage, Question 1

Here's an interesting story. Larry Grard, a journalist for the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, Maine, lost his job because, the day after Question 1 (same-sex marriage ban) passed in Maine, he sent this email to HRC:

Who are the hateful, venom-spewing ones? Hint: Not the yes on 1 crowd. You hateful people have been spreading nothing but vitriol since this campaign began. Good riddance!

What he says is demonstrably true; homophobes have been attacked much more than LGBT people over the last few decades. The difference is so great that I can't think of a single instance when the tables were turned and a homophobe acted on hate.

HRC emailed Grard's editor with:

I received the below e-mail this morning after our national media release was sent to your team.

In his own defense, Larry Grard says:

Grard, who said he'd gotten no sleep the night before, used his own e-mail to send a response. "They said the Yes-on-1 people were haters. I'm a Christian. I take offense at that," he said. "I e-mailed them back and said basically, 'We're not the ones doing the hating. You're the ones doing the hating.'

"I sent the same message in his face he sent in mine."

Grard thought his response was anonymous, but it turned out to be anything but. [...]

Grard said he wouldn't be complaining if he'd been subjected to a lesser penalty, such as a reprimand or a suspension without pay, for his first offence. He said reporters frequently send personal e-mails from their own accounts during working hours without incurring management's wrath.

Grard said he thinks his religious beliefs were a factor in his firing, calling it "anti-Christian bias." "A lawyer said to me, 'What if you'd agreed with [the Human Rights Campaign]? Would the company fire you for that? Of course they wouldn't have,'" he said.

Of course everyone hates Christians in America. That's why we require all presidential candidates to kiss Rick Warren's ring in order to be considered viable candidates.

He says he sent the email from a personal account, but it was also sent on a company computer. All in all, it does call into question his ability to remain objective if he sends emails to people he may cover calling them "venom-spewing." It also shows that he knew what he did was wrong when he tried to send the email anonymously and admits that there should have been some recourse for his actions. And I'm sure there's no shortage of people willing to work for the Morning Sentinel.

What do you all think? Too harsh? Appropriate?


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typo - demonstrably UNtrue

Wait, wait ... HRC actually accomplished something?

Any self-identifed Christian who thinks
the hate is coming from HRC & other
LGBT activist groups needs to wake up &
listen to the music. The hate they imagine
is self-hate bearing down on their iniquitous
personal behavior, which brutally violates
every sacred principle taught by Jesus.

"Inasmuch as you have done it unto the
least of these, my brethren, you have
done it unto me."

LGBT equality benefits everyone in
society, while today's religions benefit no
one, except those spiritual hypocrites
who dominate public discourse and
aspire to unearned power over their
fellows.

We may disagree with some of HRC's
actions, just as we disagree with some
of Barney's thoughtless words about
the National Equality March, but we
know they are trying. Similarly, we
recognize the spiritual disease that
characterizes the majority of the self
proclaimed leaders of the religions of
the past and understand that their time
of power is being brought to an end
by the very Jesus they claim to adore,
but show they secretly fear and hate,
since he calls them to accept the divine
gift of queerlove, which they dare to
call evil.

Such have no place in Jesus' universe
nor in the Kingdom of Heaven.

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.


they deny our basic humanity and we are hateful...
that's the whole point. they believe we are not equally human so our demands by definition to them are hateful. so, if engaging in hate speech and hate acts while on duty using one's employer's facilities against the employer's interests, then the employer naturally has the right to fire them.

they are deeply threatened. they fear, desperately fear losing what little entitlement they have

prejudice is characterized by its dispensing with logic in its rationalizations

they deny our basic humanity and we are hateful...
that's the whole point. they believe we are not equally human so our demands by definition to them are hateful. so, if engaging in hate speech and hate acts while on duty using one's employer's facilities against the employer's interests, then the employer naturally has the right to fire them.

they are deeply threatened. they fear, desperately fear losing what little entitlement they have

prejudice is characterized by its dispensing with logic in its rationalizations

IF he can come up with evidence (1) that some other employee at that paper either sent something Pro-HRC to HRC or something anti-christianist to the christianists, (2) whoever took the action against him knew about it, and (3) whoever took the action against him didn't do anything (or something comparable) to the other employee, then get prepared for him to become the christianists' next go-to martyr AND be willing to admit that, unlike Carrie Prejean, this guy might have a valid case.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 10, 2009 6:24 AM

The article was very interesting and key to understanding things from Grard's point of view. I liked the comment beneath the article from "Grard's friend."

The man did not cover any part of the story in Maine because others were glad to scoop these stories up. His paper editorialized on our side of the issue and he never wrote a word against us.

This man has freedom of speech like anyone else. Anyone else ever checked their private emails at work? Anyone else ever been under slept and answered one?

He should not be fired for the same reason we should not be fired. And to fire his wife from her part time position at the same newspaper seems simply vindictive.

All you HRC haters out there should take up the reinstatement of this man's job as a "cause celebre" to show how we are "not spreading hate and vitrol."

Imagine the positive publicity for us if he owed his reinstatement...to us?

This case points to a contradiction in today's media. The traditional rule was that reporters were supposed to refrain from expressing public opinions. That meant no political advocacy, no signing of petition, no donations to campaigns (or else very small ones below disclosure thresholds). But now, with the rise of blogging, lots of newspapers encourage reporters to do first-person pieces, columns and other subjective work. If the Waterville reporter had posted his comment in a blog on the newspaper's web site, would he have been fired? The penalty, to me, seems unduly harsh. A week's suspension would have made the point without pushing the reporter and his family toward financial ruin. (Anyone try to get a job at a newspaper lately, especially in Maine?) This case also raises questions about the ethics of HRC. At the least, they need to post a disclaimer that letters and e-mail sent to HRC are subject to public disclosure.

This case also raises questions about the ethics of HRC. At the least, they need to post a disclaimer that letters and e-mail sent to HRC are subject to public disclosure.

No - HRC's historic near-absence of trans employees, its about-face on ENDA in 2007 and the fraudulent 'poll' it created to justify the about-face raises questions about its ethics (or lack thereof.)

As for what HRC did in this case? Despite everything I have said about the organization, I see no problem with what it did - and I see no need for it to post any disclaimer. If HRC had been given e-mails that had been obtained by hacking, that might be a different matter - but what does anyone expect when sending any letter/e-mail of opinion/complaint anywhere?

Now - did the employer overreact? Probably - but as I said elsewhere, unless he was singled out ina demonstrably unfair manner, he's SOL.

Too far.

First offense and he gets fired? For sending an e-mail from his personal account? He didn't do it on company "letterhead," the paper wasn't indicated in his screed and the part you cut out plainly states that Trevor Thomas investigated the guy on Google and discovered he was a reporter that way.

There are plenty of stories that we cover that I'm not objective about. While I have the luxury of owning a blog and require less neutrality on the subjects I choose to cover, that doesn't mean I'm incapable of writing a neutral, facts-only story on any topic.

He should have been reprimanded. Suspended. Whatever. But firing him is going too far.

I'm wondering about that too. If all Trevor Thomas did was google the email address to find out who the guy was, then most likely his name was part of his address. How, again, did he think he was being anonymous?

twinkie 1 cat | December 10, 2009 11:15 AM

Yes, definitely too harsh. The man should NOT be fired for expressing his freedom of speech as a private citizen (using his own email, not a representative of the paper). It is vital that even the speech of the most wrong people be upheld as constitutional because is theirs is not neither can we expect ours to be.

I don't like his representation of himself as a Christian because real Christians do not stand for discrimination. It is against the Bible and the walk of Jesus. However his attitude that the homophobes are being attacked, feeds into the constant spewing of the Religious Right that Christianity is being attacked. It is a fund raising technique. This is one of their biggest complaints in the Christmas season. This kind of thing gives incredible fodder to the enemy. It is hard to uphold the right of the enemy to be vocal, but it is necessary. This is why I especially love it when the ACLU defends the right of groups like the KKK. It takes away their power to be treated equally.

Now I think the HRC should call the paper and tell them it was wrong to fire the man for his viewpoints.

I loved the comment about Rick Warren's ring. That is a false prophet and false teacher if I have ever seen one. His charisma just sucks people in but his message has no power or depth.