Here’s a lesson in bloggers and journalists completely spicing sh*t up and misquoting people in interviews.
Yesterday my mate sent me a message saying that boxer Manny Pacquiao said ‘gay men should be put to death’ and all those backing him should rethink their support. I was rather disappointed in Pacquiao and a statement like that is certain to make fans think twice. Pacquiao was slated in the press and was even banned from a Hollywood mall he was due to appear at later that day and a petition for his sponsor Nike to drop him gained over 4000 signatures. Now here’s the thing.
Manny Pacquiao never ever said ‘gay men should be put to death’.
The reporter interviewing him added a quote from the Bible and soon after that a blogger from the Village Voice wrote a post entitled “The Bible Via-Manny Pacquiao: Gays Shouldn’t Get Married, They Should Be ‘Put To Death’.” From then on it was picked up by mainstream media as the original article.
Here’s Pacquiao’s response to the media reports.
“I’m not against the gay people,” Pacquiao said. “I’m not condemning them. … I have a cousin (who is) gay. I have relatives (who are) gay. I have a lot of friends (who are) gay, so I’m not condemning gays. What I said is I’m not in favor of same-sex marriage. That’s the one thing I said to the guy.”I told (the reporter) I’m against same-sex marriage,” Pacquiao added. “He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘It’s the law of God.’ That’s all I said.” [ESPN]
And here’s the timeline of how the story got taken out of context.
“• Examiner writer Granville Ampong interviewed Pacquiao over the weekend, spawning a piece called “Pacquiao rejects Obama’s new twist on the Scriptures.” In it, Ampong included the Leviticus passage “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
• Ampong’s placement of that quote was so misleading that early Tuesday morning, when USA Today reporter Tom Weir picked up the story, he wrote that “Pacquiao also invoked Old Testament” and “recited Leviticus.”
• After that, around 12:30 p.m. EST, Village Voice news blogger James King spotted the better headline within. His followup blog post was titled “The Bible Via-Manny Pacquiao: Gays Shouldn’t Get Married, They Should Be ‘Put To Death’.”
• At which point LA Weekly news blogger Dennis Romero jumped on the train, seeing as Pacquiao lives and boxes here in L.A., a center of the gay-rights movement. His headline read “Manny Pacquiao Says Gay Men Should Be ‘Put to Death’.”
I reckon some apologies are in order.