When hating on Chick-fil-A, try to hide it better (UPDATED)

The Facebook page of Mark Krzos is like many others. He’s married to a beautiful woman. He really likes the band Ween. He posted an awesome Wilco performance from Jimmy Fallon the other night. He lets friends know that he’s incredulous that one congressman views an HHS mandate as a serious problem. He hopes that Gore Vidal rests in peace. There’s some hockey stuff. He really doesn’t like Mitt Romney. Like, really doesn’t like him. He is a huge fan of President Barack Obama. He’s got a post with the note “We are a PROUD city” showing the letter Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sent Chick-fil-A telling them that their CEO’s religious views meant that there was “no place” in Boston for Chick-fil-A. There’s some other anti-Chick-fil-A stuff. Some mockery of creationists. The usual.

Why am I mentioning all this? Because of another part of his Facebook page that an alarmed reader sent me. Turns out he’s a journalist. A staff writer for the News-Press, a Gannett newspaper in Fort Myers, Florida.

Now before I get to the note, let me share something personal. Like many other Americans, I ate at Chick-fil-A yesterday. We went early for dinner. The location — Crystal City, Virginia — was crowded. We sat down next to a striking woman who came in to eat on the way to a class she’s teaching. But then she told me she was there because she believes in freedom of speech. Her sister in Baltimore had called her and told her that lines had been out the door there and that many people were coming into the store to support the company against the boycott and threats facing the company.

Soon the line was going out the door. It was almost like a party atmosphere. Lots of families. Lots of mothers. I saw a friend and his son and I joked that the food tasted like freedom and the whole line kind of laughed. It was obvious that people were there for a reason.

As we talked with people (my oldest daughter will talk to anyone and this gets us in lots of conversations), we learned that people were there for a number of reasons. Some hate government attacks on free speech or religion. Some wanted to support traditional values. Some wanted to support a fellow Christian. And, yes, I’m sure some just wanted a perfectly fried chicken sandwich. Maybe all of the above. I heard a lot — a lot — about frustration with the media. But I sat there and thought, “If only a reporter would come and sit down and talk to these people, they might get a better understanding of how people outside their newsrooms think.”

I wondered how the media would cover the story. Would they really “get” what happened across the country in this massive, somewhat odd, chicken sandwich protest? Would they understand what this diverse group of people were trying to say? Or would they just paint it as, sigh, another example of bigoted people who should be shunned? Who don’t deserve fair media treatment? Who should be painted in the worst possible light? Would they fail to even mention the day in a story, as a friend tells me the Washington Post did? He said the only thing he could find in the paper was a photo on page A11 (there’s this video on the web site today).

So with all that said, let me share with you staff writer Mark Krzos’ note:

RE: Chik-fil-A controversy
I have never felt so alien in my own country as I did today while covering the restaurant’s supporters. The level of hatred, unfounded fear and misinformed people was astoundingly sad. I can’t even print some of the things people said.

The first comment comes from another journalist named Joseph Anthony. He lists his job as “Anchor/Reporter at WBBH NBC2/ WZVN ABC7.” His comment is “agreed.” A lively comment thread ensues. Krzos claims that the people he met were talking mean about “immigrants.” When someone says something about bigots, he responds “It was like broken records of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and a recitation of half-truths and outright lies.” There’s some negativity about Fox and then Krzos says:

Such a brave stand … eating a goddamn sandwich.

Various people “like” these comments, including some more reporters. His friends beg him to print the goods and he says he couldn’t because it was just too vile and, well, the people wouldn’t give him their names. People suggest he just refer to the rampant “racist and homophobic slurs” and another friend writes “I’ll be on the side with scientists, hippies, NORMAL white people, fellow black folk, mexicans (and street gangs), gays , and technology vs. Jim Bob and Bobby Sue and all the toothless rednecks that REALLY hate America.” Mark Krzos “likes” that comment.

When someone with a Jerry Garcia profile photo suggests he should have thrown waffle fries at the customers — or challenged them to a game of “gay chicken” — he responds “John… too bad there wasn’t another reporter around to go with me and film it. I really wanted to do the interviews on camera while eating out of a bucket of KFC.”

I’m leaving out a ton of stuff on the thread. The slurs against “Bible-based haters.” The discussion of how to physically attack Chick-fil-As. The messages were shared by reporters, including someone from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel who says it was “something to consider” and a FoxNews.com reporter who says in response to someone that “we know that’s not the case” that the customers are standing up for free speech,

So obviously the first thing I wanted to do was find out how Krzos’ story turned out. I mean, I have worked with some seriously political journalists who can just turn off their political views and just do a great job reporting when called upon. But I was curious. Would this level of bigotry against Christians, this level of interpretation about the average Chick-fil-A customer be able to managed?

I mean, to be clear, while Krzos’ account is dramatically different from literally everything I’ve heard from friends and family members across the country, maybe he did happen to come across a place that was magically different. Maybe he did. Maybe his previous strenuous bias against the company had nothing to do with what he reported on. I don’t know. But I am curious how his story turned out. Unfortunately I can’t find it.

The weird thing is that the News-Press has a story on the local deluge of customers. It’s just not written by Krzos. And it’s good — seems to capture the mood I and my friends and families experienced while also giving background on the story and a voice to those who oppose Chick-fil-A. But it’s written by someone else. The lede is “They came for free speech, they came for traditional values and they came for waffle fries.”

Do let us know if you see any good or bad coverage. I thought this Los Angeles Times story was fine but had a stupid headline and overplayed some incidents from spectators and protesters. The LA Times also, of course, ran a bigoted, error-prone and hate-filled screed (from what I hear is its business writer) against Christians the day before the day Chick-fil-A had record sales under the headline “Chick-fil-A gets a lesson on corporate outspokenness.” That’s not just a problem of bad timing. The Huntsville Times had a pretty good angle for its coverage.

UPDATE: There are many interesting comments in the thread below, but I wanted to highlight this one from Patrick Heavey:

I emailed the higher-ups at the News-Press about Mr. Krozs’s posts, and got an almost immediate response:

“This was not authorized and was done without knowledge of The News-Press. It has been taken down and we are dealing with the reporter for his personal note. We regret this happened. This is not what we stand for and we will not tolerate it. Our front page coverage this morning was balanced and reflected on what was happening.

Terry Eberle
Executive Editor/Vice President of Content”

The paper did the right thing, and should be commended for it.

Photo of a hater via Shutterstock.

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  • Hussein

    Krzos is an agenda-driven ideologue who, unable to find anything that would meet his agenda on his C-f-A visit, completely fabricated this screed.

    [ed.: I am editing out a comment in response to a comment that has been deleted for being hateful and off-topic]

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Friends, keep comments focused on journalism issues. There should be plenty to discuss about how the mainstream media handled this story and its religion angles.

  • Hussein

    Thanks Mollie!

  • sari

    How many here have visited Fart (as pronounced by the natives) Myers? Due to the massive influx of retirees, it’s not Bible Belt (though it was when I was growing up), but the demographics skew white, Christian, and conservative. Krzos, from up north, is clearly out of his native element.

    A couple of other tidbits gleaned from his FB page: he graduated from St. Joseph’s Collegiate, a Catholic H.S. for young men in Buffalo, NY, and attended college in New Haven, CT., interned at Rolling Stone magazine, and then worked at a small local newspaper in SW Florida before moving up to his current employer. If he’s like many of the younger hires, he hopes this will be a stepping stone to a more prominent Florida paper (e.g., the Miami Herald, P.B. Post, or the Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel), to freelance, or to a bigger paper out of town. Iow, he’s unlikely to invest any time assimilating into the native population or investing time in really getting to know the locals. Or, he loves the climate and is willing to live among people he actively dislikes. Have seen both happen down there.

    Meanwhile, the paper ran a pretty appropriate article, interviewed a number of customers, and obtained multiple perspectives. Obviously the powers that be know their customer(s).

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The Boston Globe (The NY Times owned little New England sister) did run a story on the crowds at Chick-fil-A–a very small story in the B section at the bottom of the third page of that section. On the front page of that section just below the fold was their virtually daily, prominent Gay “news” puff story.

  • Bill Crawford

    Question from a journalism ignoramus: Do editors or others in management, if they become aware of a reporter’s screed/viewpoints in social media, allow that to affect their giving said reporter certain assignments?

    It seems that Mr. Krzos unsupported statements contradict his employer’s article to such an extent that management should be concerned.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Bill,
    That’s what I’m wondering here. Did an editor get wind of the anti-Chick-fil-A sentiments and tell him to not even bother trying to write the copy? I mean, obviously he says he was covering the story and yet it doesn’t carry his byline or a contributor byline. Was that the work of an editor?
    Fact is that we all have some difficulties when covering things. If the reporter is good, an editor can help him avoid areas where he’s just too emotionally involved.

  • Patrick Heavey

    I emailed the higher-ups at the News-Press about Mr. Krozs’s posts, and got an almost immediate response:

    “This was not authorized and was done without knowledge of The News-Press. It has been taken down and we are dealing with the reporter for his personal note. We regret this happened. This is not what we stand for and we will not tolerate it. Our front page coverage this morning was balanced and reflected on what was happening.

    Terry Eberle
    Executive Editor/Vice President of Content”

    The paper did the right thing, and should be commended for it.

  • http://cause-of-our-joy.blogspot.com Leticia Velasquez

    In the Burlington Mall near Boston, the security guards were told to ban reporters. Nevertheless, my 19 year old daughter Gabriela spoke with a reporter from the Boston Herald and I was interviewed on a local talk radio station. Our comments were the same as the people you met in VA, we support religious freedom, freedom of speech and traditional values, without malice toward anyone.
    Two lesbians with anti ‘chick fil A homophobia’ t shirts faced down 200 people on line at the food court, and nary an epithet or a waffle fry was hurled.

  • Brian Sullivan

    I’ve seen many status updates on Facebook saying that Chick-fil-A donated to the Family Research Council which, in turn, lobbied Congress to not condemn Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. So we get “Hate legislation supported by Chick-fil-A”

    Any background on this?Daily Kos

  • Mike Rebholz

    A great example of a reporter who set aside his own personal beliefs on the Chick-Fil-A story is Steve Osunsami in Atlanta for ABC news. I grew up with Steve (who is very open about his homosexuality) and I was impressed with his professionalism in covering the story without injecting his personal beliefs. http://abcn.ws/QiMV0n

  • Bill Crawford

    Brian,

    From a pro-gay website (sorry I do not have a link) they reported that out of over $1,000,000 in donations in either 2009 or 2010, CFA donated $1,000 to the FRC and $1,000 to Exodus International (an organization that, until recently, sought to help gays change).

    The vast majority of the money reported donated was to organizations that have much broader agendas than working against SSM.

    Until Mr Johnson’s post above, the maximum I’ve heard of CFA’s donations was $3 million. I wonder if the donation number is becoming as inflated in the media as is the lop-sided characterization that it’s to specifically anti-gay organizations.

  • http://!)! Passing By

    The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had this story online. It’s pretty standard fare, seems to me. Hope this collection of pics links properly.

    My own experience was to run by and get a couple of chicken biscuits for breakfast. The drive through line was wrapped around, so I went inside, which was busy, not croweded. The manager, who appeared to be Middle Eastern or from India, greeted me and the lady at the counter (also not white American) get my food quickly. With my taste for irony, I started to my coffee at the Starbucks next door but I don’t really like Starbucks coffee, so went to my preferred Seven-Eleven for the house blend.

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    Mollie, that article you called a “a bigoted, error-prone and hate-filled screed… against Christians” certainly says some unflattering things about Cathy, but I didn’t find language that was “against Christians” – as in plural, the category.

    I’ll note he accurately quoted what Cathy said in which interview, and he pointed out that the officials of various cities who postured against Chick-fil-a had no legal basis for their pronouncements.

  • http://getreligion.org Bobby Ross Jr.

    Two lessons for reporters:

    1. Set your privacy settings on Facebook.

    2. Assume that all your Facebook posts are public regardless of your privacy settings.

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    Bobby – Isn’t that a lesson about journalists, or at least journalism, these days? :)

  • Martha

    If I understand correctly, there is going to be a same-sex kiss-in protest at Chick-fil-A restaurants – I don’t know if this is national or at selected ones.

    What will be instructive is to compare the coverage of this and the ‘day of eating chicken sandwiches’ yesterday. Will the national media decide this is newsworthy? What will the relative numbers look like? If twenty people show up for tomorrow, will that garner as much or more, or more prominent/more detailed, coverage than Chick-fil-A restaurant running out of chicken due to the increased demand?

  • http://www.post-gazette.com Ann Rodgers

    I thought that one of our college interns at the Post-Gazette did a fine job on the story — though I’m sure someone will object to the “scare quotes” in the lede.
    As a former religion writer (1983-1988) for The News-Press in Fort MYERS (please fix the spelling in the post) I must say that I was appalled by the level of open, unabashed racism I sometimes encountered. Furthermore, I once heard — and quoted — a visiting preacher endorse the idea of killing of gay men. The congregation laughed. Although a generation has passed since then, I don’t doubt that the reporter might have heard some very disturbing things. One or two really ugly remarks can drown out everything else.
    As a reporter it’s a bad idea to express your views on controversial issues publicly, although I wouldn’t strictly forbid it because I do believe in freedom of speech. What crossed the line here was that he trashed the general public with a very broad brush.

  • Deacon Michael D. Harmon

    Surely you are aware of the technique: Go to a gathering of conservatives; search until you find one person with an outrageous view; print that’s person’s comments as typical of the gathering.

    It has an allied technique: Go to a gathering of leftists; ignore all the extreme viewpoints; print the most unobjectionable comment as typical of the group.

    For real-world examples, compare the coverage of Tea Party and Occupy gatherings.

  • http://kingslynn.blogspot.com C. Wingate

    An interesting set of reactions in the Balto. Sun, about which I must caveat that I don’t know how these showed up in print.

    The Harford County supplement/website has two articles, one about yesterday’s eat-in and the other about the opening of a new franchise in the county. Both of these are extremely neutrally written. In the paper itself there’s an unsigned editorial, which from what I can tell probably ran on the main editorial page on Tuesday, lambasting the boycott/ban movement. The day before they ran this article which contains a useful survey on the history of boycotts and is much more focused on the business impacts than on who’s right. It also accurately reports Cathy’s original remarks. Finally, there’s a supplemental story on the role of social media in organizing these sorts of actions. I know that in the past we’ve hammered on the Sun here, but these are largely balanced, accurate, commendable reports.

  • Bill Crawford

    I wonder if any articles about the “kiss-in” will refect on whether the kiss-in is intended to be innocent or provocative in the sense of “let’s see if we can provoke some CFA staff member to behave badly so that can be reported.” Or is that too cynical?

  • Dan Crawford

    I visited Chik Fil ‘A yesterday. I heard mothers and fathers talking about their families, about the hot summer, about the efficient manner the staff handled the crowds, just about everything except immigrants,Rush Limbaugh, and hate of any variety. Having read the meadow muffins produced by the “reporters” you reference, I’m wondering how such obviously intelligent people can get it so wrong. But then the LA Times couldn’t even spell “marriage” right in its headline.

  • Sarah M

    I went to a Chick-fil-a outside my city yesterday. There were folks of every racial and ethnic background present; there were hipsters, teenagers, families, the elderly, people with special needs, dads with kids, moms with tattoos, dog owners, people in nice new convertibles and others in rusty old cars. Who was shown on our local news? 4 older white ladies, that was all.

    The liberal media claims to celebrate diversity, yet never gets around to showing the diverse composition of such events (same thing happens with every pro-life rally). A person has to be awfully sheltered to believe that “toothless redneck” strawman often set up in place of actual American conservatism.

  • Bill

    The established media no longer reports the truth. It fabricates out of selfish emotional bias. They make the news,often out of bitterness,and often for the sake of sensationalistic effect. Makes them money. It’s manipulative and destructive. Ever been covered by media? I’ve never seen them get it quite right on such occasions. Vonnegut was right about reporters: their emotional biases often have lead to great harm in human history. The only hate I note is from Krzos. Pray for him.

  • Dixie Sanger

    Does anyone know what the “vice president for content” meant by “dealing with” Mr. Krosz?

  • Julia

    The local Belleville News Democrat had an interesting story with the double headline “A Busy Day at Chick-Fil-A; Sandwiches go political in Fairview Heights”. The reporter, Wally Spears, often does think pieces on local matters, but he seemed to be wearing his reporter hat for this one. I couldn’t tell one way or the other what he thinks about the Chick-fil-a situation.

    Like commenter Wingate’s region, our area had a new franchise opening as well as the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day event at the mall’s food court only blocks away. The reporter noted that folks turning out to support the new restaurant might have been there despite or because of the controversy. A cross section of people were interviewed at each location.

    The new franchise opening drew people from as far away as Atlanta camped out to get a chance at being one of the first 100 customers who will get a free weekly meal for a year. The lucky winners had to stay in line all night to get their coupons for the free meals at the opening – so there was a carnival atmosphere. Several say they have been to these camp-outs around the Mid-West and always have a good time.

    Covering both locations in the same neutral manner gave the sense that people were mainly just out having a good time, although mentions of the ex-presidential candidates who suggested the eat-in, Mr Cathy’s comments quoted correctly, and the expected “kiss-in” were not omitted.

    I loved this ending paragraph that moderated the sense of goody-two-shoes, “amazingly patient” people in line for hours at both places.

    [A Chick-fil-a spokeswoman]said the people that participate in these [camp-outs] are a great bunch and honest, but still they had occasional roll calls to make sure everyone with a number was still there.

    http://www.bnd.com/2012/08/01/2266379/restaurant-opening-already-drawing.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

  • Charles

    Did these socially-liberal reporters and politicians even know that KFC is hardly comparable to Chick-fil-A?

  • Julia

    Forgot to say the BND article was on the front page with two large color photos – one of the mall food court Appreciation Day event and the other of the amazing number of tents at the new CFA restaurant camp-out. Half of the food court photo was above the fold. Lots of additional photos in a gallery were posted on-line.

    http://www.bnd.com/2012/08/01/2266704/chick-fil-a-opening.html#wgt=rcntgal

  • Slats

    Here in Chicago the focus of the stories included comments by 2 politicians – Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has said that the sandwich shop doesn’t have “Chicago values” and so will be a failure in the city and shouldn’t bother coming here, and an Alderman who is trying to forbid the restaurant from opening a restaurant in “his” ward because of Cathay’s statements and donations.

    Cardinal George entered the controversy with this blog post: “Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the ‘values’ that must be held by citizens of Chicago,” George wrote on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s blog Sunday. “I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city?”

    He wondered if the city was going to set up a Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities.

    Then the Alderman said the Church has no legitimacy in speaking on moral questions because of the pedophilia controversy. (zing!)

    And so it goes, in Chicago, home of random “youth” violence, gang wars with innocents killed in the crossfire, rampant corruption, a failed school system, mob attacks on stores, and city finances on the brink of collapse. A sandwich shop lacks our values and so must be kept out of our morally pure city.

    The press here is eating it up. I think they want to keep the battle between the Cardinal and the politicians going, since it’s high drama and less depressing than reporting on body counts in the city’s neighborhoods.

  • R.C.

    It’s pretty straightforward.

    The reporter saw a sight which challenged his insular worldview, and confronted with the anguish of tearing down that worldview and developing a new one, he chickened out (no pun intended) and opted to stick with his fantasy.

    What was that sight? Easy: A lot of normal people in a good easy-going mood who’re cheerfully asserting their dismissal of — not so much their anger at, but their dismissal of — the left-progressive opinions (and censorious tactics) of Chicago politicians and newsrooms.

    The Chicago pols are the quasi-fascisti in this story; the folk who want freedom are friendly folk. This shatters the worldview of this reporter, and he couldn’t take it, so he lied.

    I simply and straightforwardly doubt that he heard anything objectionable. It’s drastically out-of-character with reports from the rest of the country, which are amazingly uniform. I think he made it up.

    I think he isn’t willing to give any specifics which could be contradicted, because he doesn’t have any to report.

    So, I think he is lying.

    But I think he feels good about making up lies about the crowd’s mood and attitude, because from his point-of-view it’s okay to like about yokels as long as the lie is “truthy” and matches his preconceived notions of them. Perhaps he thinks of himself as a bit like the folks who digitally altered the image of the pyramids on that famous National Geographic cover many years back? …but better, because he’s doing it for a good cause and his heart is in the right place.

  • R.C.

    Sorry, I meant to say, “lie about yokels” rather than “like about yokels.

  • MJBubba

    The Memphis Commercial Appeal covered Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. They feature a couple of good photos, quotes from happy customers, the two-week-old quote from Dan Cathy, a quote from the director of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, and closes with tit-for-tat quotes from local ministers from two churches on opposite sides of the SSM issue. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/aug/01/crowds-flock-to-memphis-area-chick-fil-a/
    They also have a sidebar with a brief note about a letter of support to Dan Cathy signed by two local congressional representatives.

  • MJBubba

    Charles (#27), Kentucky Fried Chicken is like most of the fast-food franchises in that their quality varies from location to location. We have some very good KFC locations around our area, and also a couple that we avoid. Chick-fil-A stands out in that their quality is consistently good at all their locations in my area.

  • James

    When will people learn that Facebook is public, that what you say there is in the public arena, and that it *will*, not might, reflect either well or poorly on your professionalism?

    Perhaps he’s at least begun to learn this lesson, as well as others he clearly needs to learn to excel in his chosen craft.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Well, part of the problem is bad Facebook skills. But I’d argue it’s more than that. More than anything, reporters should not demonize others. Everyone has their own views. Which is great. But we should be open-minded enough to listen to what other people have to say. We should even seek to retain in our circles those people with political, religious or philosophical views that differ from ours. If we do that, we gain from discourse with them and we find it much harder to demonize those with differing views or creeds. It also helps us remember the humanity of those we cover and those who read or watch us. Having friends outside our political circles keeps us from ranting about “the other” in public or in private.

  • DocAmazing

    Goodness! I’m deleted! Well, I can hardly claim to e surprised; that’s your interpretation of freedom of speech, isn’t it?

  • Mark Baddeley

    Re: ‘DocAmazing’, heh, – comments are supposed to be on journalistic issues. The posters give some leeway, but if you rant for against the religious or moral issue in question and don’t have anything of substance to say about journalism, then they’ll probably have mercy on the rest of us and delete your post.

    But they’ll respect your right to say what you want to say in some other forum that is not about journalism. They won’t threaten to illegally try and drive you out of Chicago or the like, you know. Along with free speech there’s also freedom of association. And posting on GetReligion is a free association of people willing to keep to the fairly minimal ground rules of association that governs comments in the thread. Appeals that such a rule is against ‘free speech’ seems to be a confusion of categories.

  • sari

    Mollie,
    To your comments I would add that journalists, as all people, should be careful not to portray people with whom they agree as saints or to whitewash or ignore bad behavior. Bobby’s post on the African-American couple forced to change wedding venue because of their color speaks to the entrenched racism that remains in the South. It’s important to recognize and acknowledge that at least some of what Krozs railed against is true, rather than to romanticize a way of life that doesn’t really exist.

    It was only two years ago that a friend’s babysitter (early twenties) in Kansas City, KS asked why my friend’s son lacked horns and a tail. She had looked and looked and couldn’t find them or evidence that they’d been removed. It was less than ten years ago that my husband’s and son’s kippot and tzitzit drew the attention of security at Ft. Myer’s airport; we were followed, searched, followed some more, and asked, quite impolitely, about our religious beliefs. I am a Florida native who has lived all over the state and who visits periodically (shopped in Ft. Myers last month on my way in and out of Sanibel); Ann’s comments were spot on.

  • Mary M Sales

    I don’t know what sort of crowd that Mark Krzos saw at Chick-fil-A, but I believe he has the right to express that opinion on his personal Facebook page. And as to the press coverage of the crowds at Chik-fil-A, I have seen a large amount of “neutral” coverage from the national press–I’m not sure why people are saying it hasn’t been covered–it has been a big story in online news. While many here are indignant that anyone could see people’s support for Chik-Fil-A as anything but supportive of traditional values and free speech, you have to realize that to many, these crowds at Chick-fil-A represent something else.


    [Editor: off-topic comments removed]

  • Mark Baddeley

    Mollie’s post points out that if you use social media to indicate that you’re strongly on one side of those feelings, it will be interesting to see if you’re able to then get the distance on those feelings to report fairly. Most of us would find that pretty hard.

  • Mary M Sales

    Yes, reporting of the news should be unbiased. And certainly most journalists agree, and strive to follow this ideal. But what Mark Krzos wrote on his personal facebook page was just that: a personal opinion. He didn’t report on this event professionally. If he had turned around and wrote a negative article about Chick-fil-A published in The News-Press, then I’d say that that was unprofessional. Are you saying that journalists should not be allowed to express their personal views publicly? I’m sure journalists have strong viewpoints regarding many stories they cover–I don’t think that by expressing personal viewpoints they automatically negate their ability to report the news.

    For example, I’m sure that many journalists reporting on the civil rights struggles in the 60′s were repulsed by the bigotry and ignorance blacks faced. Even though it was clear that the racists were on the wrong side of history, I’m sure most journalists tried to be unbiased in reporting those stories.

  • Mark Baddeley

    Re: Mary M Sales

    I have no interest in stopping anyone exercising their free speech. But journalists have a privileged position where their reporting is considerd to be, in some sense, an extra estate in a democratic country. Their job is to report. To speak publicly your private opinion as though one side is ‘the other’ and contemptible is to undercut the journalist profession.

    That’s Mr Krozs’s bosses’ view as well, so it’s hardly idiosyncratic. There’s a conflict of interest issue here, much the same as can exist in many areas of professional life. A judge should recuse themselves for uttering an opinion about a case that they then receive, for example.

  • sari

    Mark,
    Since Mr. Krozs did not write or was not allowed to publish an article on the Chick-fil-A phenomenon, the question of his professional impartiality will always be that: a question. He has been tried and convicted without ever committing the actual crime.

  • Lamaur

    Digitus, if you’re unaware of the timeline, Krzos’ post went up Wednesday and was shared by almost 100 people and re-posted on the Romenesko blog, widely read in journalism circles. That’s all before Mollie posted her entry Thursday. In other words, this would have reached Krzos’ managers in Fort Myers regardless of a GetReligion post.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Whoa. There are about a dozen comments that are probably inappropriate for a discussion on media coverage that I just put into moderation.

    When I have time later today, I will go through them and see if anything is salvageable.

    In the meantime, I understand that this week has been emotional for a wide variety of people, but civility is required on this thread. Please do not call people names or pollute the thread with off-topic comments.

    There are a gazillion places on the internet where you can go advocate for or against a given cause. Here we try to work on civility in part by having a pretty narrow focus.

    Enjoy expressing your political views elsewhere. Here, we just want to talk about media issues.

    And we really do love hearing your thoughts about those issues.

    When discussing, try to imagine that you are sitting face to face with others, in your house or theirs — and work to moderate your speech accordingly. Or if you have a house where slurs fly, try to imagine you’re someplace where that would not be appropriate.

    Thank you!

  • Julia

    Re: embarrassing Facebook entries

    Illinois just passed a law banning employers from requiring prospective employees to divulge their Facebook passwords.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-20/business/chi-more-job-applicants-asked-for-facebook-passwords-20120320_1_privacy-settings-job-hunters-facebook-access

  • Tlaloc

    “maybe he did happen to come across a place that was magically different. ”

    Or maybe you’re viewing things according to your own biases and overlooking those things he talked about happening under your nose. It’s always easy to call others out on their lack of perspective, but given the Norman Rockwell version you gave it’s a bit hard to believe you actually saw events for what they were. Really you saw nobody hating on “the gays” out of a huge line of customers?

    Pull the other one.

    Is his view biased? Almost surely. Is yours? Hell yes. Anyone who spends anytime on righty websites or watching righty media will find at least a small minority of unabashed racists and homophobes who loudly scream out their bigotry for others to hear (and, yes, on lefty sites you similarly have small minorities of bigots- just about different issues).

    The idea that you could be in a large crowd of emotionally charged people and not see one bit of evidence of it mean you weren’t looking for it and most likely actively ignored it when it happened (or wouldn’t know it when it did, that’s the other possibility of course).

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Friends,
    I closed comments yesterday because things were getting a bit off-topic. I intended that to be only for a couple of hours while I was at the gym but when I arrived home, I found a completely ransacked and robbed house.

    So I only got everything turned back on just now.

    I imagine we’re not going to cover too much new territory here but if you do have some ingenious thought related to media coverage (and not, I remind you again, your personal feelings about marriage or marriage law or people who have opinions on marriage law, etc.), by all means weigh in.

    Best,

    Mollie

  • MJBubba

    Mollie, I am very sorry that the thieves hit your house. I hope you didn’t lose anything especially meaningful.

  • sari

    Mollie,
    So sorry about your house. How scary for you, your husband, and, especially, your daughter. I hope your most precious things remained undisturbed.

  • Charles

    MJBubba,
    I wasn’t referring to the quality of food. The menus are substantively different. KFC specializes in pieces of chicken on the bone. Chick-fil-A offers boneless chicken sandwiches and tenders. There is no bucket at Chick-fil-A and KFC didn’t have sandwiches until the late 90s. I doubt those journalists and politicians who cite KFC as an alternative have even been in either store.

  • Passing By

    Mollie,

    Sorry to hear about your house. I’ve been robbed before and it was disturbing beyond the actually material loss.

    Ken

  • Victor

    Mollie, as an outsider Canadian looking in, the way I see it after what I’ve read is that most came to support free speech and some also came to quietly enforce the traditional values that the sacrament of marriage should only be between a man and a woman but odds are and I’m almost sure that the mojority came for the great food and exitement that a Chick-Fil-A day might provide!?

    I hear ya Mollie! If only we had a few of our Canadian cousin journalists out to report the story then we would know the whole truth and nothing but the truth! Right Victor? :)

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/travel/Hundreds+march+Nepalese+town+samesex+marriage+ending+discrimination/7036210/story.html

    Peace

  • len

    “It’s only a goddamed chicken sandwich.” Yeah… and it was only a goddamned compress bale of tea thrown overboard into Boston harbor, wasn’t it?

  • Robin Grace

    To the author and commenters,

    I live in Estro, FL , 15 min. from the Ft Myers Chick Fil A. The article that Mark Kroz wrote was fiction. None of that happened. That is the main reason it went viral in the first place. I went by there that day nothing like that was going on. I also live 5 minutes from one in Estero..and it was just a steady stream of business. Nothing else..

    Just wanted to let you know, I have the opportunity to talk to Mr. Eberle in person from time to time, and I thanked him for all of us.

    Robin Grace

  • John Abbott

    @Brian Sullivan

    You quoted a Daily Kos article, which is your first mistake. Keep in mind that the Daily Kos’ is the National Enquirer of the blogosphere.
    It’s all based on another blog called “Joe.My.God.”, an obvious activist website. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being an activist. But you need to treat activist websites with the correct skepticism.

    Just to set it up, Joe.My.God. wrote that the FRC (Family Research Council) spent $25,000 lobbying the US congress. The blog argues that the $25,000 was spent to stop congress from passing a resolution that would economically spank Uganda, because Uganda was contemplating a bill that would literally kill gay people.

    Here’s what CBS wrote about the controversy:

    The Tony Perkins-led FRC said it did lobby on the bill, but not to kill it – rather to change the language it contained and “to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.”

    “FRC did not lobby against or oppose passage of the congressional resolution,” the group said. “FRC’s efforts, at the request of Congressional offices, were limited to seeking changes in the language of proposed drafts of the resolution, in order to make it more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill.”

    It gets worse then that. Not only did FRC -NOT- try to stop congress from passing the resolution, but the $25k in lobbying fees was not restricted to the Uganda resolution. The fee was for a number of lobbying efforts. JoeMyGod deliberately left out the other things that the FRC was lobbying for with that $25k to make it look like they were only spending 25k on the Uganda bill.
    Which makes JoeMyGod really. Really. Dishonest.

  • John Abbott
  • http://carljohnveraja.wordpress.com/ Carl-John X Veraja

    Way to defend fascism.


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