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"Outrage" director on NPR, censorship and outing politicians

Outrage I spoke to Outrage director Kirby Dick yesterday for a piece running in Sunday's paper and asked him about the decision by National Public Radio editors to censor Nathan Lee's review of the film, which led to Lee removing his byline from the story. Here's what Dick said:

"It is ironic that the very subject matter of the film [the mainstream media's lack of reporting on allegedly gay politicians] - the very thing we are critiquing - is repeated by NPR in a story covering the movie.

"Some news organizations have calculated that their main readership is primarily straight and they're afraid that reporting on gay sexuality will offend them. Other outlets are owned by corporations that have a lot of business on Capitol Hill, and they don't want to offend a powerful senator or representative with what might be an embarrassing story.

Kirby "But it's the responsibility and obligation of a journalistic outlet to report on these things. If there was a straight politician who was trying to pass a law on adultery while having an affair himself, no one would have a problem reporting that.

"I don't know why NPR made this decision, but I think they should be called upon to explain it. Especially since in the past, they have reported on the sexual orientation of celebrities based solely on rumors. It seems to me that it's more relevant for a news organization to report on the sexual orientation of powerful elected officials than celebrities. They have their priorities mixed up."

NPR's executive director of Digital defended the decision to indiewire.com by saying “NPR has a long-held policy of trying to respect the privacy of public figures and of not airing or publishing rumors, allegations and reports about their private lives unless there is a compelling reason to do so.”

Apparently, though, NPR's policy does not apply to American Idol contestants

Outrage opens in South Florida tomorrow, but only at the Gateway in Fort Lauderdale. No Miami engagement is currently planned. You can read my review here.

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