Journalist Refuses to Cover Pride Event at Fort Leonard Wood, "Comes Out" as Anti-LGBT

Categories: LGBT

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CAGuard via Flickr
A gay pride event for soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood launched an anti-LGBT tirade from a local journalist.
For the first time ever, Fort Leonard Wood, a military base in Missouri's Ozarks region, is hosting an LGBTQ Pride event -- something that would have been unthinkable (and illegal) in the days of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

But you won't hear about it from the Pulaski County Daily, the small-town paper that covers the base.

Why? Three reasons:

Because owner and reporter Darrell Maurina doesn't approve of homosexuality. Because Maurina refuses to anger his mostly conservative readership with a story they don't want to read anyway.

But also -- and this is downright scary -- because after years of closely covering the base, he strongly believes the military will punish any soldiers who come out in the media as gay.

See also: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Is Dead. How Did Our Congresspeople Vote?

"I will tell you straight up, in the real world, anybody who is perceived for whatever reason as not with the picture, not a team player, not just with sexuality but with many things, any time somebody is viewed as being out of step with the mission -- you run the risk of a sergeant or a commander who may not look on you as favorably as he should," Maurina tells Daily RFT.

"There are so many things you can do to harm people's careers without officially stating the reason. No matter what the regulation says, sometimes if they're looking for a reason not to like you, they can find a reason even if the official reason is not allowed.... A commander in the army has so much more power than a boss has in the business world."

Maurina's allegation that military brass punish gay soldiers in a post-Don't Ask, Don't Tell world is worrying, especially because the commander in chief of the U.S. Army has done so much to advance gay rights that the media has taken to calling him America's first gay president. But it's particularly terrifying from Fort Leonard Wood, which kicked more gay soldiers out of the military in 2006 than any other base, according to the Associated Press.

Maurina insists that even in 2014, coming out as gay can damage a soldier's career -- especially in the county formerly represented by Ike Skelton, the U.S. Representative who helped craft Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"I don't see a reason to take a small event that probably most people would never have paid much attention to and turn it into an event that will get far more attention than it would have gotten before I show up," Maurina continues. "How does that help people who want to see more lesbians in the military? What it does do is, it hurts people and prevents them from being able to publicly advocate their viewpoints."

Why did Maurina even make his feelings about gay people public? And why is he so against homosexuality? Find out on page two.

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33 comments
Steven Torlina
Steven Torlina

still messed up that leonard wood is having an event for the gays what has my army become

Michelle Accardi
Michelle Accardi

What he isnt saying is the real reason for not doing the story, fear of lost sales. Remember he is the owner. The 2nd reason is simple, he said he doesnt agree with the 'lifestyle choice those have made".

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Freedom of the Press is also the freedom to not cover stories. How many stories has the RFT not covered? That is what editors and publishers decide - which stories to cover and which ones to forget about.

Michele Volkman
Michele Volkman

I've worked hand in hand with Darrell at a sister paper down the highway. He is a (probably unhealthily) dedicated reporter, but certainly has biases as much of that areas small town media does. I laughed out loud when I read this though. I'm not surprised.

pba_aclaar
pba_aclaar

To be honest about it, Darrel isnt doing anything that has already been established as common practice by most news outlets. Its hard to feign outrage with something being censored when you're ok with it as long as it mirrors your viewpoints. I dont know of any news source that remains completely nuetral and unbiased. So untill you hold everyone to that standard, you cant really pick and choose who you jump on, because if you do, you are as guilty as they are. Just a thought 

Snowbeam Wiggleton
Snowbeam Wiggleton

People who think this is a free speech issue are so easy to dismiss as idiots. Because they are.

Freddy Doss Man-Ossy
Freddy Doss Man-Ossy

Also, not covering an event because you don't agree with it doesn't make you a journalist, in fact it makes you the exact opposite of a journalist.

Freddy Doss Man-Ossy
Freddy Doss Man-Ossy

This guy should be ashamed of himself. This is the real world, and this is the 21st century and you're the one not being a team player. We have an obligation to stand behind the men and women that serve our country regardless of who they love.

Lance Holdforth
Lance Holdforth

This is editorializing. As journalists we are observers and bound by ethics to remain neutral and unbiased, regardless of our personal beliefs. We report the news and events for whatever community to read and learn about. As a reporter I'm disappointed in this. Politics should never decree what is news and definitely should never influence it's publication.

Mandy Matney
Mandy Matney

Also "buddy" being used as loosely the word "newspaper" in this article.

John Randles
John Randles

For those of us that have had the misfortune of living on Pulaski County MO, are the first to say that Darrell Todd is an idiot. I wasn't aware he ran a real news publication. I thought he posted "news" on a Facebook page.

John Randles
John Randles

Mandy Matney your buddy hitting the big time.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper topcommenter

Very sad.  Its time for these people to grow up.  It should not matter what makes someone happy, instead they would rather see them suffer in silence and punished for whom they find comfort in.

It just does not matter, start worrying about what is happening in YOUR life before you tell someone else how to live theirs.

Graham Collins
Graham Collins

"They won". As if equal rights is a zero sum game. And Nicole Oberto, "god" doesn't fucking exist. I'm glad the America you love is crumbling before your eyes. And as far as "choice" goes, if your parents brainwashed you with fairy tale bullshit, you never stood a chance. It takes intelligence to resist indoctrination and to be able to apply critical thinking. I guess you're assed-out.

Nicole Marie Oberto
Nicole Marie Oberto

We aren't talking professionally. We are talking personally. Obviously, no one can handle another persons opinion if it differs from theirs. Hate to break it to everyone, but whether I agree with people or not, it's their right to feel what they want. That's why it's called freedom of speech. I understand most of us have forgotten that there's a constitution, but it's in there.

Stanford Griffith
Stanford Griffith

Actually, he's bound by the code of ethics of his chosen profession. If he chooses not to follow them, which is what he's doing, then he deserves to be judged professionally. You can't hang out your shingle and not abide by the set rules.

Nicole Marie Oberto
Nicole Marie Oberto

Can people make their own free choices in this country ie whether or not to cover a news story without people judging them, too!? It's his CHOICE. GOD BLESS AMERICA. What's left of it.

Erin Armknecht
Erin Armknecht

When I worked as a reporter for a tiny rural newspaper, I covered the county fair poultry show. Does this make me a chicken?

Rachel Webb
Rachel Webb

If careers would be in such danger by his covering the Pride event, then why did the official Fort Leonard Wood newspaper publish a profile of the Pride Month speaker and the warm welcome she and her wife have received there? And then why did the official Army website publish that same article? By the looks of this article, the Pride speaker's career is going to be just fine: http://www.army.mil/article/127863/Pride_Month_speaker_shares_life_experience/

That_Photo
That_Photo

Can we talk about that photo? 

https://www.facebook.com/darrellmaurina?fref=nf 

http://imgur.com/s4lUtqn.jpg


Those glasses, that beat-up laptop, that tiniest of mustaches lit up by the fluorescent light, reflecting off that particle-wood desk, that confident yet slightly disconcerted look that shows he's uncomfortable with having his photo taken -- for fear it might end up on one of those websites run by the Gay Agenda -- Darrel Maurina may have his index finger curled above the keyboard as if to convey he's about to hit "publish" on the day's breaking story, but he's really about to hit "send" on a love letter to the people of Pulaski County. 

Jessi Foust
Jessi Foust

Hate to break to him, and his readers who would revolt, but wether or not it gets covered by any media, it's still happening. Good luck finding something else to fill your pages!

Stanford Griffith
Stanford Griffith

Well, can a journalist cover a murder without readers thinking he's pro-murder? If a newspaper is to be a paper of record for the area, it must be unbiased in what it covers, regardless of the journalist's, publisher's, or owner's opinions. Anything else is a violation of journalistic ethics. There's a huge difference between reporting and promoting.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

It is fair to not report on a story. No news organization can report on every event int eh world, or even their own backyard. 


So much for understanding how the world works.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

No newspaper can cover all the stories in their area. You have to pick and choose. this is especially so for a small town paper with limited staff. You may not like their reasoning, but they are a free and independent press. To "force" them to cover a particular story would not be wise.


Then consider how biased of reporting the Post Dispatch has in their news stories. Every newspaper does this to some degree. Imagine how bias this article would be in that paper. Not a good situation even if they do cover the event. 



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