By Michael C. Bradley
On May 16, the Philadelphia Gay News released its endorsements for the upcoming elections. Editor and owner Mark Segal prefaced his endorsements by stating that PGN does “not endorse based solely on sexual orientation.” This is commendable. Because we are starved for quality representation in this city, we should judge each candidate on an in-depth and holistic look at their character and positions. In an about-face, Segal then went on to blast another organization for not endorsing candidates aligned with their goals: “How can Reclaim Philadelphia, an organization claiming to be progressive, not support at least one of (two qualified trans candidates)?” In one final, inexplicable act of hypocrisy, the news outlet claiming “to focus on and promote businesses and populations within our (LGBT) community to engender mutual success” then went on to exclude at least one LGBT Council candidate entirely, and severely downplay another.
PGN erroneously reported that “there is only one district Council race where an LGBT candidate or issue is on the ballot,” completely omitting gay Republican Duke Orisino, who is on the ballot in the 1st District – geographically representing the Gayborhood, the symbolic heart of this city’s LGBT community. PGN does mention, in passing, 2nd District Democratic LGBT candidate Lauren Vidas as “our newcomer Lauren Vidas,” but the way they mention her – almost as an afterthought – waters down for the reader that she is a part of the community, and fails to do any justice to her pro-LGBT bona fides.
This is a gross disservice to the community PGN claims to represent. Being an endorsement, they are under no obligation to embellish candidates that they don’t support. But it is unconscionable to claim to be the information hub for a particular community, and then not even acknowledge races in which candidates from their community are running.
It’s negligent and unethical when outlets omit information or use clever wordplay to inject opinion into vital information, and it’s downright tragic when a community-based outlet does it. This isn’t the first time that PGN and other news outlets have played political games with information that citizens count on to make informed decisions at the polls.
After being ignored in his race for the 2nd Congressional District in 2018, Republican David Torres had to protest outside of Al Dia’s headquarters just to be acknowledged. One would think that David’s accomplishment of being the “first-ever Latino to run for U.S. Congress in Philadelphia” would have gotten at least a mention sooner than one month before Election Day.
I will be on the ballot for the 2nd District and could very well face Lauren in the election if she wins the primary on Tuesday. But more importantly than running against a particular person, I am running against the corruption and mismanagement of City Hall. Too many media outlets have – either by opinion or omission – been slipping their biases into the information voters depend on to make informed decisions. Once a news outlet endorses the likes of Jewell Williams with a straight face, it may be time to cancel your subscription and do your own research before stepping into the voting booth.
Michael Bradley lives in Grays Ferry, and is running as a Republican for the 2nd Councilmanic District in South Philadelphia.