Shooting the Messenger: Larry Craig and Merv Griffin Couldn't Be More Different, but the Response to Media Coverage of Their Sexuality Was the Same: How Dare You? Christopher Lisotta Talks to the Journalists Who Became the Controversy

By Lisotta, Christopher | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), October 9, 2007 | Go to article overview

Shooting the Messenger: Larry Craig and Merv Griffin Couldn't Be More Different, but the Response to Media Coverage of Their Sexuality Was the Same: How Dare You? Christopher Lisotta Talks to the Journalists Who Became the Controversy


Lisotta, Christopher, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A "WITCH HUNT." That's what Idaho senator Larry Craig called the months-long investigation by his hometown paper into rumors of his sexual encounters with men, published August 28 when news broke that the Republican pleaded guilty in connection with an airport sex sting. Eleven days earlier, allies of entertainment legend Merv Griffin were leveling similar charges at The Hollywood Reporter for running a piece that dared to say the talk-show host and Jeopardy! creator, who died August 12, was gay. But in both cases, the journalists behind the controversial stories say they were just doing their jobs.

"I think we were measured, fair, cautious," Dan Popkey, the Idaho Statesman reporter on the Craig story, said on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews. "We didn't go with this story, like you guys did, in October"--when allegations about the senator's sexuality first surfaced on a blog--"so for him to, you know, accuse us of conducting a witch hunt, that hurts a little, I suppose, but I think we got it right."

Instead of going with the story last fall, Popkey spent months reporting it, researching and interviewing numerous sources to find out if the rumors were true. The story was in a holding pattern until the Washington, D.C., Capitol Hill paper Roll Call broke the news of Craig's arrest and plea, which gave Popkey and his editors the final piece of evidence needed to go forward.

The veteran reporter became the center of intense media attention that he "could not have anticipated," he tells The Advocate, since he started out writing a story he assumed would be of mainly local interest. Scrutiny from the likes of CNN and MSNBC was not a scenario Popkey had envisioned, especially when national news organizations asked him to defend his reporting. "It was my first glimpse at how national media operates with your little state and your little story," Popkey says.

In the case of Griffin, the furor was sparked by well-regarded columnist Ray Richmond's August 17 piece in the entertainment trade publication The Hollywood Reporter, which opened with the words, "Merv Griffin was gay. Why should that be so uncomfortable to read?" Richmond went on to write that he worked for Griffin in the 1980s, when he learned that the entertainer's sexuality was an open secret, and he referenced two palimony suits brought by men--facts that some obituaries ignored. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Shooting the Messenger: Larry Craig and Merv Griffin Couldn't Be More Different, but the Response to Media Coverage of Their Sexuality Was the Same: How Dare You? Christopher Lisotta Talks to the Journalists Who Became the Controversy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.