Follow up on the tragic case of Rev. Brent Dugan

by David Blakeslee

In November, 2006, Presbyterian minister Brent Dugan was about to be outed and took his own life in a Mercer, PA hotel room. I wrote about that tragic event here and was prompted to look into aftermath of the situation by a recent comment left on that post from a person who knew Rev. Dugan.

On July 1, 2010 I called the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania and spoke with their executive director, Rev. Dr. Donald B. Green about the FCC complaint which was asserted by others to be filed against KDKA for its sensationalistic and provocative reporting on Pastor Dugan’s personal behavior.

Reverend Green was very generous to answer questions by phone from a person he did not know.  According to Reverend Green CASP is an association of pastors and bishops which need to reach consensus in legal matters before filing formal complaints to government bodies like the FCC.  Reverend Green stated that unfortunately, such a consensus could not be reached among participants in this association.  Instead they reached a consensus about facilitating a formal meeting with KDKA on the ethical issues involved in reporting Pastor Dugan’s private behavior in such a sensationalistic way.  The results of that meeting can be found here.

We also discussed the reporter involved in the Dugan journalistic “investigation.”  Marty Griffin apparently had a sensationalistic “journalistic” style prior to his targeting of Pastor Dugan.  This style cost his previous employer 2.2 million to settle the defamation suit that followed:

In 1997, Griffin’s then-employer, Dallas station KXAS-TV Channel 5, paid a reported $2.2 million to settle a defamation suit arising from a story Griffin aired about Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin. In that story, a topless dancer accused Irvin of participating in a rape with two other men — accusations she later recanted, and which resulted in perjury charges against her. Griffin also conducted a hidden-camera investigation of Irvin’s purported drug-buying activities, a story for which KXAS paid an informant $6,000. The station admitted no wrongdoing in the 1997 settlement, which Griffin opposed. In fact, Griffin’s online bio on the KDKA Web site boasts of winning awards for his reporting on Irvin, and adds, “That’s right — Michael Irvin doesn’t like Marty Griffin very much.”

Reverend Green reports that Mr. Griffin currently has a talk radio show which takes advantage of his sensationalistic and emotional style.

I would encourage readers to review the article above which thoughtfully addresses the chronology of events, the important considerations that journalists should consider when judging religious leaders who are in violation of their vows and the brand of journalists who may be ratings driven, rather than ethically driven in their pursuits.


Reflections on what we share in common

(This post from occasional contributor, clinical psychologist David Blakeslee, covers some similar territory as conservative gay blogger, GayPatriot on the Kevin Jennings controversy.) 

I have been a bit agitated lately, it is probably my own problem, but instead of being internally ruminative about such sensations I decided to find some object to focus these feelings on.  It didn’t take long, all I had to do was visit Warren’s blog .  There I could find a few outlandish assumptions, hypocritical comments and distortions of fact to justify ventilation.  Apparently that was not satisfactory enough, so I am writing this posting after a couple of years of absence (Warren, I don’t know how you do this day in and day out, your energy and integrity are deeply appreciated). 

Rationalization, minimization, and justification are not scientific arguments; they are psychological defenses to ward off anxiety.  Sometimes they are so effective that we feel quite calm when a grave injustice, which we should agonize about, has occurred.  Instead of tossing and turning at night, struggling with headaches and pacing the floor, we sleep quite soundly.  Sometimes they are so effective that the weak and the vulnerable are left without an outraged and strong protector; instead they get a philosopher, who through his mental games ends up functionally being a passive collaborator with a predator. 

Are gay teens vulnerable? Absolutely.

And just to whom are they vulnerable? Continue reading “Reflections on what we share in common”