NPR, WaPo Refuse to Report That Outrage Is About Crist

Categories: Media Watch, News
You've probably already heard about Outrage, the new documentary that aims to out closeted politicians who hypocritically vote for anti-gay legislation.

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Since you live in Florida, you've probably also heard that the film prominently features our own tanned gubernatorial whiz-kid and maybe gay guy Charlie Crist. In part through some fine reporting by New Times' own Bob Norman, the film offers no proof that Florida's guv loves dudes... "just a lot of compelling evidence," in Norman's words.

But you won't be hearing Crist's name in many national reviews of the film, apparently. In their reviews this week, both the Washington Post and NPR declined to name Crist as one of the pols targeted by the film.

The decision has kicked up a shitstorm at NPR, where critic Nathan Lee demanded his byline be pulled from his review after editors removed all references to Crist and former Idaho Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig from the story without telling Lee.

How exactly do you review a film about outing major national politicians without, you know, talking about the politicians at the heart of the film? Read NPR and the Washington Post's yellow-bellied responses after the jump.

This passage comes from Dan Zak's review in today's Washington Post:

The long, sordid saga of former Idaho senator Larry Craig is the axis on which the movie spins, but "Outrage" comes down hardest on another prominent politician whose name we won't print here. Why? He has denied repeatedly that he is gay, and there has been no substantiated reports in mainstream media about any homosexual relationships or transgressions. (Director Kirby Dick would hate this last sentence, since his movie also targets the media for their laziness and bias.) Dick has structured "Outrage" around this particular politician, gathering compelling evidence and interviews to support his case and suggesting that this man's hypocrisy is all the more dangerous because he may be bound for a 2012 presidential run.

And here's NPR's even more vague statement:

Given the nature of this film's media critique and the NPR editorial policy mentioned above, the writer has asked that his byline be removed from this review.

Read all about critic Nathan Lee's clash with NPR at our sister paper, the Village Voice, where Lee used to work. Lee attempted to leave a comment after the story, explaining why his byline wasn't used, and then NPR also removed the comment. We'll post his reponse here as well:

"I asked that my name be removed in protest of NPR's policy of not 'naming names' of closeted or rumored-about politicians -- even those who actively suppress gay rights, and thus whose sexual identities are of significant importance to the press. I personally disagree with NPR's policy -- there is no other area of 'privacy' that elicits such extreme tact, and also feel that it is a professional affront to my responsibility as a critic to discuss the content of a work of art, and an impingememnt of my First Amendment right to free speech and the press."

 

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