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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why Is the Associated Press Covering for Diana "My Gay Students Have No Purpose In Life" Medley?

Posted by on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 8:34 AM


An unnamed teacher in Sullivan, Indiana—believed by all to be Diana Medley—has been suspended. Unfortunately Medley wasn't suspended for the offensive comments she made about gay people (including her own gay students) or for violating the published professional staff bylaws of the Northeast School Corporation. She was placed on administrative leave, the school claims, due to a number of threatening email messages. Associated Press:

Superintendent Mark Baker of the Northeast School Corp. in western Indiana’s Sullivan County issued a statement saying the teacher has been placed on administrative leave out of concern “for the safety and security of everyone in our buildings.” He added that “as a precaution” the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police “have deemed it necessary to station an officer” at North Central Junior-Senior High School in Farmersburg, about 75 miles southwest of Indianapolis. He said the “administration and one school employee in particular” at the school have received “aggressive email messages. We are turning over to law enforcement all such communications,” Baker said.

And so Baker should. And any asshole who makes stupid and counterproductive threats should be slapped. And anyone who broke the law should be punished. And, of course, anyone who violates the published professional staff bylaws of Northeast School Corporation should be punished too.

The AP's readers will want to know what the fuss is all about, of course, so the AP report quotes Medley's controversial remarks. Or the AP pretends to:

“I just ... I don’t understand it,” Medley said when asked whether homosexuals have a purpose in life. She was speaking to WTWO-TV of Terre Haute at a planning meeting earlier this month for the anti-gay dance.

Medley didn't say, "I just... I don't understand it," when she was asked if "a gay person [had] some sort of purpose in life." She said this:

PAIGE PREUSSE: A gay person, um, do you consider them, maybe, do [you believe] they have some sort of purpose in life?

DIANA MEDLEY: I don't. I personally don't. I'm sorry. I just... I don't understand it.

What the AP presents to its readers is an incomplete, dishonest, and misleadingly edited version of Medley's remarks. And seeing Medley's full statement—including her actual response to the question she was asked ("I don't")—would help AP readers understand why some people were upset enough to send "aggressive" emails to the Northeast School Corporation.

The AP is in all sorts of trouble with gay activists at the moment. I don't know whether it's a coincidence that the AP is publishing stories that provide cover for anti-gay bigots while at the same time making gay activists look unhinged, but the AP's timing couldn't be worse.

UPDATE: The AP reverses course.


Comments (11) RSS

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Max Solomon 1
ahh, country folk.
Posted by Max Solomon on February 21, 2013 at 8:46 AM · Report this
She put the safety and security of everybody in that school in danger, and she still has a job? What is in the water out there?
Posted by treehugger on February 21, 2013 at 8:50 AM · Report this
@2 hopefully not a decomposing body.
Posted by wxPDX on February 21, 2013 at 9:03 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 4
The first paragraph of the AP story includes "that she believes gays have no purpose in life" yet the quoted remark replaces that with part with an ellipsis. I believe her direct quote is even on video, is it not?
Being ambiguous in journalism is sometimes necessary when facts aren't nailed down completely. But that can't be the excuse here.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 5
Wasn't it the AP that banned the use of the word "homophobia" because it doesn't exist?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM · Report this
Why? AP? would guess for the very same reason that the Associated Press, from time to time, reports "news releases" from the wealthy racist New Century Foundation as "the news"!

In case you still have difficulty at discerning obvious patterns, Dano.....
Posted by sgt_doom on February 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM · Report this
And are we still certain she's not just some dood in drag?

I mean, look at that size of that rock solid chin of hers, most guys would kill for such a masculine chin, for chrissakes!
Posted by sgt_doom on February 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM · Report this
I've had a few friend's and family members who've worked for the AP. Apparently the last couple of years have been rather odd over there. They're cutting staff, eliminating freelance, and the guy running it is attempting to turn it into a sort of right wing pudit and opinion factory. It doesn't make a lot of sense, particularly from the inside. Things like this keep cropping as a result.
Posted by Ryuthrowsstuff on February 21, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
AP = All Propaganda?
Posted by kwodell on February 21, 2013 at 10:58 AM · Report this
If you criticize AP for their rendition of what Medley said, and you say "She said this:", shouldn't it be followed by as accurate a transcript as possible? The WTWO reporter's question in not accurately rendered, not by a long shot. And Medley's "I don't understand" is followed by a flash cut - we don't know how much interpretive context is lost here. All we have is the video as edited for air, and as a source for personal or institutional critique, that leaves much to be desired.

What question is Medley trying to answer? Again, we're limited by editing for air, but the preceding context seems to be does God have a reason to put particular individual gay people into your particular individual life?

Medley doesn't understand. You don't understand -- unless you first believe people show up in your life just because God decided to put them there (much less the parts about God having a mysterious plan for all the awful things he does, like inserting annoying/sick/toxic people into your personal narrative).

Anyway, that context leads to a much different (and more plausible) reading of the available text, vs your preferred "Gay lives are utterly without meaning or purpose, because God wouldn't allow that."

re AP, it may be swinging inexorably to the right. UPI made the turn a long while back, and now it's little more than an echo chamber for the rightwing nutbags of the Washington Times. Once you go whack, there's no way back.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on February 21, 2013 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Did WTWO frame this teacher? This is now being proposed at:
Posted by 1969AKP on February 27, 2013 at 5:50 AM · Report this

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