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Newspaper Staff Spikes Editor's Unnecessary and Offensive Apology Over Mother's Day Lesbian Mom Story

Lesbianmoms

Tom Marquardt, the editor of the Annapolis newspaper The Capital, had planned to publish an offensive apology over this story about a pair of lesbian moms that ran on Mother's Day. The story apparently generated dozens of hateful comments.

The newspaper's staff spiked the editor's apology, but that hasn't stopped it from seeing the light of day.

Romenesko has the whole scoop, but here's just one bit of the apology:

There is an old saying in journalism that, adjusted for modern times, goes something like this: Architects cover up their mistakes with vines, attorneys send theirs to jail, businesses write them off, and doctors put them 6 feet under. But a newspaper publishes its mistakes for all to see. And that we did on May 8 with a Mother’s Day story on a lesbian couple raising two baby boys born to them through artificial insemination. The reaction among our readers was swift and damning.

***

In previous years we have written about single moms, poor moms, foster moms and handicapped moms — as well as the traditional moms with big families and heavy workloads. This year was different but difference is not what our readers wanted on a day when dad and kids shower love on the family matriarch.

Unfortunately for us, we lost sight of what the readers want to read: feel good stories about people who reflect their values. Newspapers need to mirror its readers — all of them perhaps, but inclusion not at the exception of the majority.

Mother’s Day story about lesbian couple creates controversy at Annapolis paper [romenesko]
(via kenneth)

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Comments

  1. spineless

    Posted by: Eddie in OKC | May 20, 2011 12:55:58 PM


  2. Annapolis is a beautiful historic town but you don't have to go more than a 1/2 mile from town to see that it is surrounded by rednecks and the inbred.

    Posted by: dc20008 | May 20, 2011 12:58:41 PM


  3. I agree with Eddie. Coward. Got a few hate letters over it and turned yellow. Reading the letters should have gave him insight to how awful and ugly those people are and wrote a letter on acceptance and being good to your neighbors no matter who are what they believe in. Jerk.

    Posted by: Justin | May 20, 2011 1:04:10 PM


  4. That letter is journalism at its most pathetic.

    Posted by: mike128 | May 20, 2011 1:05:29 PM


  5. You can tell him to grow a pair of balls here:

    tmarquardt@capitalgazette.com

    Posted by: TyN | May 20, 2011 1:15:40 PM


  6. "Unfortunately for us, we lost sight of what the readers want to read: feel good stories about people who reflect their values. Newspapers need to mirror its readers — all of them perhaps, but inclusion not at the exception of the majority."

    Wow, someone failed remedial journalism.

    Posted by: luminum | May 20, 2011 1:21:51 PM


  7. Timothy Marquardt lacks journalistic and personal integrity. How weak can a person be. His first instinct when people question his article was to act like a coward and back down from his work. As Justin put it perfectly, what he should have done is stand behind it and give the clear message of why he did print these lesbian mothers. It really shows you how far some people will go in kowtowing after receiving any sort of pressure.

    Posted by: Francis | May 20, 2011 1:22:03 PM


  8. To me, his letter sounds like it's blasting the readers. He accuses them of only wanting to read feel-good stories. I didn't read the whole thing though, so maybe there's more that I'm missing.

    Posted by: Mick | May 20, 2011 1:28:46 PM


  9. "We lost sight of what our readers want to read" Your journalism instructors would be proud.

    Posted by: PLAINTOM | May 20, 2011 1:30:31 PM


  10. A truly weird story. I could almost believe the "apology" was satirical or sarcastic--it is so ridiculous. "I forgot our obligation was to spoon-feed you things that you wanted to hear." WHAT? Does any real journalist, regardless of personal viewpoint on issues, actually believe this about her/his profession?

    Posted by: Matt | May 20, 2011 1:31:26 PM


  11. @TYN: Done and done.

    Posted by: luminum | May 20, 2011 1:43:20 PM


  12. It seems almost satirical, and bitingly so, in some places but after reading the entire thing it's clear that it was sincere and not meant as satire at all.

    Disgusting.

    If some people were outraged before, many more should be apoplectic now!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 20, 2011 2:05:20 PM


  13. Moms are moms are moms are moms. I doubt that the letters en masse (especially since he mentioned "Dads") were women getting uppity because we know that no mother ever gets the respect she deserves for the job she does.

    This is not totally surprising that a family with two mothers would get double the lack of respect and accolades.

    Par for the misogynistic course.

    Posted by: Rin | May 20, 2011 2:27:43 PM


  14. More gay hate.

    Posted by: Rowan | May 20, 2011 2:32:40 PM


  15. I wonder if this guy is any relation to Randy Marquardt, the homophobic christianist school board president in West Bend, WI who denied the high school GSA's application for official club status.

    Posted by: Dan R | May 20, 2011 2:38:12 PM


  16. I agree with Mick, it sounds more like he was blasting the readers, not apologizing. More like, "I'm sorry you are homophobic."

    Posted by: Brant | May 20, 2011 2:53:30 PM


  17. I'm going to echo some of the other posters and say that felt more like sarcastic jab at the readers. No writer writes "In previous years we have written about single moms,... This year was different but difference is not what our readers wanted..." without their tongue firmly planted in their cheek.

    Posted by: spalding | May 20, 2011 2:58:20 PM


  18. I do think the newspaper was trying to make a statement with the story (then backpedaled over threat of cancellation), but I can certainly understand that they wanted to capture a "family" of moms during a time when issues like gay marriage is on everyone's lips.

    Was there an agenda? Yes. Is that always bad? No.

    In order to feel for someone and their cause you really have to know them. If you don't have a lesbian couple in your neighborhood, how else are you supposed to know and understand them?

    Reading through the comments, though...I did appreciate the military moms who raise kids alone with father's overseas and I absolutely agree that these women are overlooked and forgotten, so perhaps more than one family could have been covered.

    Posted by: Rin | May 20, 2011 3:23:36 PM


  19. I fail to see how choosing to have a child through artificial insemination is any less noble than a furtive late night coupling fueled by Jack Daniels and porn.

    Posted by: blatherer | May 20, 2011 5:04:32 PM


  20. Total sarcasm, in my opinion. And if so, at once a wise and a very bad move.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | May 20, 2011 8:16:43 PM


  21. As anyone who uses Internet forums will know, sarcasm is notoriously difficult to get across in text so on that basis alone, if it is ironic, it was probably a mistake.

    I might be being cynical but it looks to me like he could have covered all his bases here - to the bigots, he can claim it is a straightforward apology; to those who give him the benefit of the doubt, he can say it's sarcasm.

    If he needed to say anything at all (and why on earth should he?), he should have clearly and unequivocally stood by the article and stated that his newspaper represents all families.

    Posted by: adalard | May 21, 2011 5:00:36 AM


  22. "probably a mistake to attempt it" I mean, not that it was unitentionally ironic - though that could be true also!

    :-)

    ** must learn to proof read properly before I post **

    Posted by: adalard | May 21, 2011 5:03:26 AM


  23. May sarcasm radar never fails me.

    And this is sarcastic. It must've been pulled out because those idiots that won't get it, might get insulted about their intellectual capacity.

    Posted by: Shello | May 21, 2011 6:23:34 AM


  24. Have reading comprehension skills dropped sharply overnight? Marquardt's letter is not some thinly-veiled sarcastic riposte designed to send dual messages. It is a craven about-face, which is obvious given that his staff refused to let him print it in the newspaper, so he was forced to leak it in order to get his pandering across.

    Jesus, people, when you have to qualify your judgment with "I didn't read the whole thing though, so maybe there's more that I'm missing." take the time to read the whole thing instead of wasting everyone's time reading your half-assed opinion on it.

    Posted by: Really? | May 21, 2011 9:17:56 AM


  25. "when you have to qualify your judgment with "I didn't read the whole thing though, so maybe there's more that I'm missing." take the time to read the whole thing instead of wasting everyone's time reading your half-assed opinion on it"

    WORD.

    Posted by: The Milkman | May 22, 2011 10:46:14 AM


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