Interesting. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Assistant Executive Director Ron Schlittler denies saying to the Washington Times that his "beliefs are superior" to those of the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays. According to the reporter George Archibald, the interview was taped and so the quote was verbatim.
All of this relates to the story broken by the Washington Times regarding the PTA's preference for PFLAG over PFOX as an exhibtor at their upcoming national convention in Columbus, OH. Read this article for background. In the article, Assistant Executive Director Ron Schlittler is quoted as saying "Our beliefs are superior" in comparison with those of PFOX.
Subsequently, Mr. Schlittler told PFLAG supporters in a weekly alert that he was misquoted. He was quoted on a blog called Ex-Gay Watch that he never said anything about his or PFLAG's beliefs being superior.
Mr. Archibald then posted this entry on the blog:
May I respond to comments made about me as a reporter for The Washington Times and The Times itself: We are not a “right-wing” newspaper, as some of your bloggers have incorrectly stated, mixing up opinions on the newspaper's editorial pages with what appears daily in our news pages. The Washington Times from its beginning has published the accurate, reported factual news every day, as best we reporters and our editors can find it, not “lies” as your slander-mongers have stated. Having worked as a reporter for The Washington Times for 23 years -- breaking the Geraldine Ferraro story in 1984, the Michael Deaver story in 1985, the Barney Frank story (with partner Paul Rodriguez) in 1989, and the bulk of the Christian Coalition racial prejudice story in 2001-02, our track-record shows we are “equal opportunity” when it comes to reporting hypocrisy and scandal from left, right, or nowhere on the ideological spectrum. The Times’ news pages let the chips fall where they may every time without political or ideological favor. In our newsroom of 200-plus reporters and editors, we have everything in society – heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, married, single, young, old, pro-family, libertarians with and without morality, whites, blacks, Asians, even a pro-Mao Communist apologist on our foreign desk, one of the best reporters/editors one could ever find, who was at The Washington Star and has been with us from the beginning. With that history, let me also say as a reporter on the “scandal beat” for more years than I want to remember, I and the paper have faced and survived four lawsuits for alleged slander and libel lodged against stories I reported and wrote. We never paid a cent after costly litigation and depositions – none came to trial -- because those stories were accurate and seamless, we had all the documentation, and the lawsuits were frivolous acts by embarrassed story subjects. Even an editor of The Washington Times sued me and The Times because he used a company credit card to procure gay sex, and we found and reported it in the very first story of the 1989 “call boy” scandal series. That ex-editor dropped his lawsuit and even paid The Times a symbolic $1 court-ordered payment to acknowledge our story was accurate and his lawsuit was without merit. So as to Ron Schlittler of PFLAG’s claim that he was misquoted in a story published by The Washington Times – he is dead wrong, and the fully-taped interview shows he said all that he was quoted as saying. Here’s the full quote in the story and link so you can read it for yourself:
"The whole reparative-therapy industry is selling snake oil," PFLAG's executive director said. "From my point of view, the PTA has no business providing a forum that presents as of equal merit that position. It's unethical, frankly, [as if] you can force a left-handed person to behave as a right-handed person. Our beliefs are superior."
The Washington Times, Tues., May 10, 2005, Page A4
PTA conference disallows equal access for ex-gays
The National PTA conference is in Columbus, Ohio, June 23-26. Please let me know how I might cover it fully and fairly from your perspective. I'm a reporter who values all people, all views, but everything must check out factually, and documentation to verify is much appreciated and what we reporters must have.
I think this exchange is fascinating in that it gives a glimpse of a journalist's eye view of this story. And it provides a bit of depth to what is emerging as an important story involving an organization that many people should not be involved in social advocacy - the PTA.
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