For over a year I’ve been on a personal media boycott against the Washington Blade, DC’s largest gay news weekly. Why? Because of executive editor Chris Crain’s continued, pigheaded printing of editorial commentator Jeff Gannon. Gannon, a former gay-escort-service-boy-turned-right-wing-political-sockpuppet has been spewing vitriolic, self-loathing, gay-baiting garbage all over the editorial pages of the Blade for over a year. His columns were so foul that I would always walk away from them with anger written all over me.
There were dozens of other reasons to hate the Blade, repeated transphobic comments among them. To me, however, seeing Jeff Gannon’s bald head in the paper made me want to vomit all over it and shove it back in the box. I couldn’t believe that a gay newspaper would print something so wrong, by someone so virulently opposed to the gay rights movements that he would actively work against it. It was like having Roy Cohn as a guest writer.
Hundreds of people complained, and complained regularly. But for whatever reason (maybe Crain liked hate mail?) Gannon continued to be printed. The letters to the editor would pour in and Crain would say that they just couldn’t get anyone better. In one editorial he even went so far to say that if he could sign on an ex-gay writer to the staff he would do so in a heartbeat. It was more than gross irresponsibility, it was a full on assault upon the readers of the paper.
However, all of that is changing. Last Friday, September 15th, Chris Crain announced his departure from his executive editor position at the Blade. He seems to be moving on to the greener pastures of Rio de Janeiro with his partner. Good for him, and good for the Blade. Kevin Naff, formerly managing editor, will take his place. In an article published today on Media Bistro Kevin says that his first action will be to drop Jeff Gannon. Even better!
So for me, the boycott is over, and as of this week I’ll be picking up the Blade once more. Let’s hope that Kevin does more work to turn the paper around and up the quality of the editorial page.