First off, full-disclosure. I have worked with the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention program in various ways since 2007. I fully support the program, and think the best work they’ve done is passing the Clean Indoor Air Act in Montana. I know and respect everyone working in this program, at the state, but I don’t know many of the program workers in the various counties around our state. More on this below, because I don’t want to spoil it too much for you.
I should secondly point out that I actually like many of the people that work for the Helena IR, and this not an indictment of them at all. In fact, when it comes to the work done by most of the staff at the IR, it’s good work. Newspapers are dying, and Lee Industries inability to figure out a new business model has me worried enough for these fine folks, and then the paper goes and prints this shitty article and I feel like I need to just walk over to their building and start yelling.
It’s my one super-power, so why not use it for good?
Anyway, now that you know my professional connection to this, and that I’m not out to shut down the IR, let’s take a look at their latest, egregiously bad article. This one is making it really hard to keep my stance of “they are actually pretty great people, and the news isn’t always bad”. Really hard.
Go ahead and read the story. It’s infuriating in the extreme. Oh wait, just read the opening paragraph, which I’ll post here because I like shoveling shit:
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) community are more susceptible to tobacco companies’ marketing ploys because they may feel stressed or may have a strong desire to feel like they fit in, according to Lyndsay Stover of Tobacco Free Ravalli, a nonprofit organization in Hamilton.
Want to know what Lyndsay actually said? If you notice, that’s not a quote, just an impression that Lyndsay said that, and that she’s a bigot and an idiot as well. It was written by David Erickson, and is a summation that says so much more about him than it does about Lyndsay, and you know how I know this? BECAUSE I READ THE REST OF THE FUCKING ARTICLE.
If you had just read the next paragraph you’d see the quotes:
“Tobacco companies use forceful marketing tactics, offer corporate sponsorship, and develop media campaigns that operate off the social stress of living in a world that has historically ostracized gay people,” she said. “These killer corporations advertise topics that are important to the LGBT community, including individualism, freedom, independence, social success, inclusion and acceptance. The advertisements give gay people the impression that the tobacco industry whole-heartedly supports the legitimization and approval of the LGBT community.”
Um, that doesn’t sound anything near as bigoted or ignorant as the opening paragraph. And those are quotes from Lyndsay. I have to say, she has her shit together, and again, the Bigot David Erickson is dealing with some of his own issues right here in his article.
But wait, there’s more from Lyndsay about the LGBTQ community in the eighth paragraph:
“It shows how they target minorities, African Americans, youth, women, Asian Americans, any kind of a minority,” Stover said. “They develop a scheme to target or entice new users.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake, once again Lyndsay is quoted as saying something that’s true and not bigoted in any way. So how did she get presented as a bigot in the opening paragraph? Oh, because she was paraphrased by the Bigot David Erickson.
It seems that this post on Facebook was using the shitty paraphrased opening paragraph from the article, which kinda means that the IR staff didn’t take the time to read the article, because they would have stopped the bullshit if they had. So that’s their bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as you’d think once you dive a bit into it.
I don’t know Lyndsay Stover, the interviewee of this piece, at all, but I did send a quick note off to my contact at MTUPP, asking if she’d seen the article. She had, and while she can’t comment on it, she assures me that Lyndsay is not a bigot.
And while that’s all I need to know about Lyndsay, someone is a bigot in this, and if you’ve gotten this far, you know who I think it is. Now, I can’t find proof, but given that the Horrible Bigot Dallas Erickson, of from Stevensville, which is just 20 miles down the road from Hamilton, one might guess that the Bigot David Erickson is somehow related. This would not be a shock at all, although I do ask that David provide some proof that he’s not a bigot if he’s not related to Dallas.
At least this time some of the stupid in the Helena IR is explained by having a sister organization in Hamilton that employs a bigot.
Still, the Helena IR, and all of the Lee papers, should be apologizing to Lyndsay Stover immediately for this hatchet job.