This is basic Journalism 101 stuff.
A news story should give all the relevant parties an opportunity to speak and — if accused of wrongdoing — a chance to defend themselves.
So what happened when The Wichita Eagle reported on a pastor who reported death threats against her for performing same-sex marriages?
Of course, the Kansas newspaper quoted the pastor:
A Wichita minister says she has received death threats for performing same-sex weddings after the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down by a federal judge last month.
The Rev. Jackie Carter, pastor of the First Metropolitan Community Church, said the church has been getting at least one phone call a day threatening to kill her or to perform acts of violence against her congregation. The church belongs to a denomination that embraces the gay and lesbian community.
Carter said she had received threats before the ruling, but they have escalated since she performed a wedding ceremony for 15 same-sex couples on the steps of the Sedgwick County Courthouse on Nov. 17.
“Monday was probably the most scary time for me,” Carter said. “The phone rang and I went to answer the phone and it was just somebody heavy breathing on it. Then somebody rang the door bell and then somebody started throwing rocks at the windows.”
The Eagle also contacted the police (who declined to comment) as well as Wichita's mayor.
But what about opponents of same-sex marriage? Don't they deserve a voice in the story since — ostensibly — their side is being accused of a crime?
Yes, they do.
Kudos to the Wichita newspaper for recognizing that:
Carter said that most the calls are of a religious nature.
Terry Fox, a conservative Wichita pastor who has led activism against same-sex marriage, called the threats against Carter despicable.
“Anybody who does something like that, there’s nothing Christian about threatening someone bodily damage or something like that. In fact it’s about as unchristian as anything can be,” Fox said. “And it helps no one’s cause. If anything, it hurts that cause. It breaks my heart to hear that anyone would have to endure those kinds of threats from the right or anywhere else.”
Fox said that he has also received death threats in the past because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.
I wish the story had more fully identified Fox by including his specific congregation and denominational affiliation.
But give the Eagle an A for not forgetting the lessons learned in Journalism 101.