UPDATE: Dale Grimm, Ohio Newspaper Owner, Considers LGBT Erasure an “Editorial Prerogative”

[update to the update: I got one more e-mail from Dale, and responded to it both privately and in a public letter here: https://ideatrash.net/2016/04/why-do-i-care-if-local-newspaper-chain.html

There’s a few updates to the post about Dale Grimm, the newspaper owner in Ohio who won’t cover LGBT people:

First, Grant did a few Google searches of the Enon Eagle’s website, to see what topics got covered, and screencapped the result. As he put it:

I did a few Google searches on their domain – LGBT, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender — all zero results. Did searches for sex, drugs, rock and roll, and church, and got plenty.

Transmothra points out some context, namely that Dale Grimm has been erasing the existence of LGBT people from his newspapers at least since 2009. He points us to this story of a man whose primary relationship was edited away by Mr. Grimm in an obituary:

Friend. Ronald was identified as Jeff’s friend. That’s not typical use even in a small town like this one, especially when you make it clear in the same paragraph that you consider each other’s family your family. An out and proud person generally doesn’t willingly downgrade his apparently long-term, committed relationship to friendship.
Later, I checked the funeral home’s website for the original version. It didn’t say friend. It said Jeff is survived by his partner, Ronald S.I checked the websites of two other newspapers, one in the nearest city and one where Jeff had lived. Both used the word partner

If you read the whole post, Mr. Grimm confirmed that he had made that change, and called it an “editorial decision”.  (You can see a screencap of that e-mail here.)  
Remember that phrase – “editorial decision”.  And we’ll be back to get to the last update from that post in a little bit.
Which brings us to the last comment I’m going to cover in this update: Nathaniel Hoffelder said:

The word castigate means “to criticize severely, or to inflict severe punishment on”. I do not see how that one sentence meets either definition.
Does your “responsibility and an obligation in setting yourself up as a news outlet” not include accurate reporting? I ask because your hyperbole would suggest that it does not.

Remember this argument about “castigate” as well.

Of course, I’m not a news outlet. I don’t pretend to be. I did establish my bona fides for having an idea of what journalistic integrity is supposed to look like, but I have never pretended to be a news outlet of any type. And castigate also means to chastise, which it sure did look like to me.

But more to the point: The actual event was cited in my blog post. And even if you objected to that one word in the title… perhaps you missed the point of the post.

Because Dale Grimm clearly has something against LGBT people, and it’s not just me reading between the lines. Remember that obituary story? Back in 2009, Dale Grimm wrote the following to a commenter on that post:

The idea that a man can consider another man his “spouse” is ludcrious (sic). Had the obituary come in identifying his daughter as his “spouse”, should I have printed it that way? What if it had identified his dog as his “spouse”?
If you had cared so much about this individual as you imply in your e-mail, why did you not encourage him to seek help for his problem? Homosexuality is a demon that thousands of people have escaped.

I did get several e-mails back from Dale Grimm, finally. (You can see screencaps of the whole exchange (including where he rejected my press release) at https://bit.ly/1VsmSHh and https://bit.ly/20F5ePR)

He complained that he was delivering papers, apparently not realizing I’d called back in the evening when his employees said he would have returned. He also eventually made the same dictionary argument about “castigate”, and even questioned why I would be interested in what I did and did not publish. (Short answer there: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students living in rural
areas are considerably more likely to feel unsafe in their respective
academic environments than their urban counterparts. Source)

I asked him why he said his papers would not publish stories about LGBT high-school students, but demonstrably publish stories about other local high-school students.

His response? Simply this:

We have exercised editorial prerogative.

Let’s run through this again, because if you look at the screencaps from the e-mails, Mr. Grimm doesn’t seem to understand how language works.

I ask the question: “Why do you refuse to publish stories about LGBT students when you publish stories about other students?”

He answers “Editorial prerogative.”

Since we’re doing definitions now, what do you think the definition of prerogative might be, folks?

An exclusive or special right, power, or privilege.

That’s right. Dale Grimm said that he refuses to publish stories about LGBT people because of privilege.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Because here’s the thing: If you’re a news outlet, you’re supposed to be objective. Yes, you have opinions and feelings. That’s what the editorial page is supposed to be for, after all.

Instead, Dale Grimm has, and continues to use his privilege to erase LGBT people from the public discourse in four towns in Ohio.

And it doesn’t stop with the newspaper.

The small-town ISP Grimm also owns points to a Jesus site under a link saying “meet the real owner”, and clearly says you can’t host “unseemly content”…which apparently, in Dale’s head, includes LGBT people. (Makes you wonder whether or not he’s using those spamassassin filters to check for anything he deems “unseemly” as well, doesn’t it?)

Time Warner and U-Verse never looked so good.

If you’d like to let Dale Grimm know what you think about all this, feel free call Dale Grimm at (937) 845-1709 or you could send him (or the editors of his papers) an e-mail for the The Enon Eagle, New Carlisle News, Tipp City Gazette, and the Troy Tribune.

And if you want to check out the Kickstarter I’m running that started my involvement with all of this, it’s at https://bit.ly/kick_noshit.

[update to the update: I got one more e-mail from Dale, and responded to it both privately and in a public letter here: https://ideatrash.net/2016/04/why-do-i-care-if-local-newspaper-chain.html

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