Try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again.
British writer and editor W.E. Hickson popularized this quotation in the 1870s, and I’m dusting it off today for our friends at The Dallas Morning News. Why, you ask? I’m guessing they haven’t thought of applying the concept to sourcing stories, particularly ones that demand a balanced treatment.
On the heels of a federal judge’s ruling striking down Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage, I looked to the Lone Star State’s outstanding collection of newspapers for what I expected to be top-notch coverage. Instead, I came across this news/feature piece, which fell flat on its one-sided backside.
After 53 years, Jack Evans will finally get hitched to his life partner George Harris on Saturday, believed to be the first public same-sex wedding in Dallas officiated by a United Methodist minister.
The union has qualified religious acceptance. There’s open debate in the United Methodist Church, which officially views homosexuality as ”incompatible with Christian teaching.”
But the well-known minister celebrating the wedding — the 85-year-old Rev. Bill McElvaney — says “love over law” matters most.
“The Methodist church is on the wrong side of the Gospel on this — and history,” McElvaney said.
In the next paragraph, we expect a quote from someone speaking on behalf of the United Methodist Church. The rules of good journalism would suggest this person be allowed to speak to the denomination’s stance on same-sex marriage, perhaps offer a comment on the news peg of the Texas ruling and what it might mean for the people in Texas pews.
Here’s what we have instead, buried deep in the heart of Texas — er, this story:
The UMC bishop for this region, Bishop Michael McKee, didn’t return messages seeking comment.