Last week, TheBlaze published a story about the city of Salem, Massachusetts’s decision to end an agreement with Gordon College – a private, Christian school that recently banned “homosexual behavior” among students and faculty. The contract between the school and the town had been set to end in August, but Kimberley Driscoll, the mayor of Salem, confirmed the early opt-out because of the school’s “behavioral standards.”
Read the full article via TheBlaze HERE.
This particular article from TheBlaze’s Dean Graham was really no different than any other report, but it soon turned into a big story after news outlets like Reuters and Huffington Post picked up a Facebook post from the Salem mayor that attributed sentiments expressed in the comments section of the article to be Glenn’s personally.
On radio this morning, Glenn called out the media organizations who failed to follow the most basic journalistic practices when putting their own stories together, and he finally offered his actual thoughts on the topic.
TheBlaze article on Salem’s decision ran last Monday, and on Wednesday, the mayor of the city wrote posted a letter on her Facebook page about the feedback her office had received about its decision to cut ties with the school.
The only problem? Glenn never commented on the story publically, and he admitted he actually hadn’t even read TheBlaze report on the topic.
“When I read on the Huffington Post about my opposition to the mayor's decision, it was the first I had heard about the story. I didn't even know the story. It was unbelievable. I'm reading this and I'm like, ‘Wow. I said that?’ I had never said a word,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “In fact… I wrote to Stu. I wrote to Tiffany. I wrote to Dan. I wrote to Pat. ‘Anybody heard of this story?’ All of them never even heard of this story. That didn't stop Reuters from printing a news story claiming that I had.”
While the Huffington Post and Reuters took Driscoll’s claims at face value, Esquire at least dug a little deeper into where the so-called Glenn Beck connection in this story came from – aside from the fact that he is the founder and chairman of TheBlaze.
“Beck’s website, The Blaze, ran a story about the mayor’s decision to terminate its contract with Gordon,” Esquire’s Ban Collins writes. “Somebody posted the phone number to Driscoll’s office in the comments section. Driscoll’s office started receiving dozens of phone calls.”
While Glenn has grown accustomed to reading media reports about him that are less than truthful, he found it difficult to understand how any purported news source could use an un-attributed Facebook post as the basis of a report without so much as a fact-check.
“They got this from a Facebook post as a source. That's not a typo. You didn't hear that in error. Reuters wrote a story about a Facebook post. They didn't call us for comment. They didn't search to see if I had ever said anything about the story,” Glenn explained. “Because of this, dozens of outlets ran with my supposed opposition to something I don't even know about. That's how bad our media is today… They are using Facebook posts as legitimate sources without calling for any secondary source.”
Reuters has since issued correction clarifying TheBlaze article referenced was not authored by Glenn himself. But that doesn’t really get at the heart of the problem. Glenn decided it would be best if he commented on the story – for the first time – so at least other news organizations would have a real, quotable opinion to reference.
“I'm in the awkward position of realizing that while my opinion about a story is apparently vitally important, nobody has asked me about my opinion about it,” Glenn said. “So let me give you my unsolicited opinion – and I mean completely unsolicited. Reuters, Huff-Po, nobody has asked me my opinion. But in case it matters to some journalists, here it is:”
I don't have anything bad to say about Salem or the mayor. Nothing. They can do business with whomever they choose. That's it. Even the college admits that the city had executed a valid clause in their contract. That's what the college says. It's a valid clause. They can opt out. Okay. Here's the thing. People of Salem, you choose whether that was a good decision or a bad decision the next time the mayor is up for election. And my guess is you're going to think it's a good choice. You're going to think it was fine.
You know what may be unpopular in Salem, or at least inside the mayor's office, is the constitutionally protected speech of the students and a faculty at a private religious college. That may be unpopular. But that's what the First Amendment protects. Unpopular speech. Things that other people don't like. Gordon College has a right to stand for their religious belief. And there's every indication that they will. And I applaud them.
I also applaud Salem for standing up for what you believe. You had a contract. That's what it said… You're just cancelling it. The town has a right to decide based on the First Amendment. The college has a right to stand its ground based on the First Amendment. When it comes to religion, we have to protect the things that we don't like, which you would think out of all the cities in America, Salem would understand… We don't have to agree on everything. But we do have to love and respect everybody…
I will continue to give people like the mayor the benefit of the doubt and just say I'm sure she's a fine human being. I'm sure she's really motivated by what she believes. I just dislike her actions, and it's wrong to lie. I strongly encourage politicians to stop lying. But I still believe that she's my sister through God. We're brothers and sisters…
I can't personally vouch for the North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Youth. That's the charity that she says [she’s] going to give $5 to. Everybody that calls, [she’ll] give them $5. They describe themselves as a safe place for LBGT youth to come together. And here's the great thing. Here's the bonus for you: They meet in a church. So I applaud the mayor's reliance on private charity and a church instead of government to advance the important issues affecting her community socially.
I don't know the mayor personally. I don't know whether she was sincere or not in her vow to donate $5 for each and every call that comes in. But based on her signed promise… she would donate to this service.
Now I'm tempted, because I'm giving you my unsolicited opinion, to encourage every single one of my listeners to call the mayor's office of Salem and issue a respectful complaint saying, ‘I love you as a sister… You're great. But I have to respectfully issue a complaint’ – because whether it's honest or not, she'd be forced to part with more money than she's ever earned somehow or another.
But that's the old me. (laughs) So I'm not encouraging that. And I'd be very disappointed if anybody ever did that. But I'm a work in progress.