A Fair Analysis About the City Weekly Article on Gays at BYU

I sent this email 7 days ago after hearing about this on Romulus’ blog, I have yet to get a response

Dear Mr. Campbell,

I read your article about the City Weekly’s story on Gay Mormons at BYU and I was disappointed that there wasn’t a place for me to comment but your email was attached so I figured I would send this your way. In the interest of full disclosure I am a former BYU Student, Gay, Active LDS member serving in my ward in Washington D.C. If you visit my website you can find out more about me and my point of view. Personally I try and find the middle ground in most topics and this topic is certainly no exception.

I agreed with many of your points regarding the bias in the City Weekly article, that being said I would like to take a moment of your time to address the points I disagree with you on. Namely the issue of double standards.

You state “BYU’s standard is very clear, no sex outside of a heterosexual marriage”. I agree that that is a very clear stance and that it does foster a positive learning environment However that is not what the BYU Honor Code states. If it was understood as such then there would be nothing wrong with two female BYU students holding hands and kissing on the grass outside the WILK. I think it is safe for me to assume that you disagree that two women kissing is on the same plane as a heterosexual couple kissing in the same manner in the same location. That is a personal decision and I don’t mean to belittle that value that you hold. But if the Honor Code has such a clear line that there shall be “no sex outside of a heterosexual marriage”. Then either the Honor Code or your statement is a double standard which I think was one of the main points the City Weekly article was trying to address.

The other point I wanted to bring up was the manner in which you call the City Weekly an “alternative tabloid” and then criticize them for not following the SPJ Code of Ethics. Either they are professional journalists who fail at ethics or they are tabloid writers. But in reading a majority of the SPJ I find that they followed most all of the items listed minus the ones you pointed out.

While your column is opinion and not news I would hope that you also held yourself to the same standards as put forth in the SPJ but was again disappointed to see that you also had “a few violations of the journalistic canon”

SBJ: Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
DB: The City Weekly article was an opportunity for a discussion and a dialogue and rather than support an exchange of ideas you belittle them as a tabloid and unethical. Certainly you are able to support that

SBJ: Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage
DB: You may have taken into account the many BYU Students who are gay and struggling to stave off suicide but I don’t see that in your words that make it appear that there are only 3 people who have been effected by the Honor Code office’s ambiguous stance.

SBJ: Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct
DB: I hope that you will clarify this news coverage if I have misunderstood your views and I invite us to have a dialogue over this issue but if not then you (Mormon Times more than you) would be failing to uphold the SBJ Code of Ethics.

SBJ: Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media
DB: Wait, you did get that one.

I don’t know if you will read this or respond but I am an extreme centrist. I believe that humanity can come together and do amazing things but only when we are able to find common ground. Sure the City Weekly article wasn’t that great, but by attacking it so vehemently I feel that you only drove the wedge further. While you may take some of the things I said as offensive I assure you that they are not coming from a place of personal attack. I don’t believe that that is ever the right thing to do. Please look at this email as an attempt to reach out and begin a dialogue of understanding between you and I.

Sincerely,

David Baker