LGBT alliance to KTSM, Re: That report by Swann: Boo!
From the NPT Inbox:
El Paso, Tex.— A coalition of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and
allied groups, expresses its deep disappointment in the management of El Paso
television station KTSM Channel 9, an NBC affiliate, for its failure to provide
balanced coverage following the El Paso City Council’s decision to extend
benefits to the domestic partners of municipal employees.
Specifically, following the Council’s 7-to-1 favorable vote on August 25,
2009, KTSM anchor/reporter Ben Swann conducted an exclusive interview with
Pastor Tom Brown of El Paso’s Word of Life Church and Mr. Barry Martin, both
opponents of City Council’s decision. No mention was made of citizens who
support the benefits. Instead, two short clips of a pre-taped interview with
city Representative Steve Ortega were shown. In the interview, Pastor Brown and
Mr. Martin issued opinions regarding the budget provision and making references
to the LGBT community, without a direct representative of the latter to
respond. This interview aired on KTSM the evening of August
When contacted by members of the LGBT community the day following the
interview, KTSM News Director Kim Bridger refused to grant equal and balanced
coverage of the story by interviewing citizens who support the domestic-partner
benefits decision made by City Council. KTSM General Manager Gary
Sotir did not reply to telephone calls nor email messages from RGA.
City Council’s decision, made after three weeks of public commentary, places
El Paso among progressive cities across the country that have made similar
decisions. In Texas, El Paso now joins Dallas, Austin, and Travis
County in extending municipal domestic-partner benefits; other such cities in
the region include Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Tucson, Tempe, and Phoenix.
This week, Reno, Nevada, also joined the increasing number of cities
across the United States that choose to recognize that city employees’ domestic
partners deserve fair and equal treatment.
Our organizations applaud and stand by El Paso City Council’s crucial
decision to advance equal treatment for all city employees.
Further, we believe we deserve fair and equal coverage by El Paso’s
various media outlets, including KTSM Channel 9. Freedom of the
press is a constitutional guarantee; however, biased, unbalanced journalism has
no place in civilized society. In our eyes, this is a form of
discrimination that undermines the freedom of all the citizens of El Paso.
On behalf of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community in the greater
El Paso-Cuidad Juàrez-Las Cruces borderland and our allies, our community
organizations would like to have at least one representative interviewed by KTSM
Channel 9 and/or other local television stations to express our views regarding
City Council’s decision, preferably in a format similar to that afforded Pastor
Brown and Mr. Martin. Should this not be granted, we request a
formal on-air apology from KTSM for its slight toward our community, including
its reasons for refusing to grant us an interview.
Representing the coalition of El Paso GLBT organizations:
Alex Guzman, Political
Rio Grande Adelante
English, Board Member
Metropolitan Community Church
University of Texas at El Paso
Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity
Sam Aguilera, Co-Founder
View United Church of Christ
El Paso LULAC
310 N. Mesa, Suite
El Paso, TX 79901
Stonewall Democratic Caucus
Keny Michael Apodaca
State Democratic Executive Committeeman