However, your response tends to underscore what I wrote: you tend to jump to conclusions and fail to recognize and deal with all the facts relevant to a story. Read my comment again, this time with some careful thought.
First, you say, "Thus I part with your assertion that Derek told me that he and his partners (sic) were innocent victims." But that’s exactly what you wrote in "Der Plaza". There, it states, "Matt pulled Derek towards him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Derek says that particular public display of affection (PDA) was spontaneous and nothing more." My point is that, now that the LDS Church has issued its own version about what happened, and if that version is true, your employee is not the innocent victim he claims to be.
Second, the LDS Church's statement says a lot more happened that night than just one man pulling another towards him and giving him a peck on the cheek. By doing so, it calls into serious question your employee’s version of the story. As I mentioned in my comment, the fact that there is another side of the story that is so different from your employee's version, only serves to emphasize your willingness to jump to one side of a story before you hear both sides.
Third, you ask, "I'd like to know how you know Derek is lying to me or anyone else." If you re-read my comment, you will see that I wrote, "I don’t know who is right and who is wrong"; then my comment states that "if those ‘jackboots’ are right, he (your employee) lied to you." Thus, you again jump to criticism without first recognizing and dealing with "all the facts relevant to a story"; or in this case, a reader’s comments. Did you skim over your employee's version of the story in the same way that you skimmed over my comment? That is, jumping to conclusions without much analysis or reflection?
Fourth, and last, I am not impressed with your claim to the higher ground: "our siding with victims or oppressed is neither political or (sic) religious in basis. We side with the wronged, period." If that were the case -- note, again, the word "if" -- you wouldn’t be so quick to take sides. But you ARE quick to take sides; too quick. With your clever headline, "Der Plaza", and your labeling of others as "jackboots" and "hoodlums", you invoke Nazi Party imagery, imagery that thoughtful adults would only characterize as thoughtless exaggeration. In other words, it doesn’t help anyone’s cause, especially the cause of your oppressed and victimized employee.
And no, I won’t buy you a beer -- or make you promise to buy me one. Although buying a bottle of your favorite brand would likely set me back no more than a dollar, I prefer to keep my association with your paper, and those who associate with it, to the internet minimum. But thank you anyway.
In your "Der Plaza" article, you write that your employee Mr. Jones -- Derek, as you call him -- told you he and his friend are innocent victims, and you believe him because, as you say, Derek "had no reason to lie."
According to Derek, the incident on Main Street Plaza was nothing more than this: "Matt pulled Derek towards him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Derek says that particular public display of affection (PDA) was spontaneous and nothing more."
So you write your article defending Derek’s side of the story, painting him and his friend as innocent victims of LDS "jackboots" and "hoodlums", and you publish the story in your paper. Why is their little "peck on the cheek" any different from that of other couples on the plaza?, you ask.
Now, those "jackboots" claim in a statement issued on Friday that Derek and his friend were asked "to stop engaging in behavior deemed inappropriate for any couple on the plaza"; that their behavior was "more involved than a simple kiss." In fact, the statement says Derek and his friend "engaged in passionate kissing, groping, profane and lewd language" and "became belligerent" when asked to leave. In short, Derek and his friend engaged in behavior unfit for public as well as private property.
I don’t know who is right and who is wrong, but this little incident merits three observations:
1. Your employee, Derek, may not be as honest as you think. After all, if those "jackboots" are right, he lied to you. But not only did he lie to you, he lied to you knowing you would write an article in his defense and publish it in your paper -- the paper that provides your livelihood--, thereby putting your own credibility on the line.
2. If the "hoodlums" are right, you’re not just a loyal employer; you are one gullible guy.
3. Your response to the incident serves to reinforce what many say about your paper: it jumps to conclusions, fails to recognize and deal with all the facts relevant to a story, and always blindly sides with anyone who is critical of the LDS Church and other Utah institutions.
It will be of great interest to follow this tale and see where it ends. I understand a hearing is set for next week. Will you attend and report -- truthfully -- on the evidence presented and the outcome?
PERCEPTION: this paper is full of insight; it's a breath of fresh air for people looking to find something new and different in the local press; and a golden opportunity for its owner to offer creative and thought-provoking writing to his readers. REALITY: Articles like this one reveal the staff's lack of creativity, limited experience with life outside their home state, and a habit of confusing lethargic sarcasm and insightful prose.
Helen, after reading your letter, I think it's easy to do a psychological profile for you. Here goes; let me know if I'm right. (1) you live alone; (2) you have a job that most people would consider dull and boring; (3) you have few, if any, close friends; (4) one or both of the following things characterize your life: (a) you have joined at least two organized churches in your life, or (b) you have emigrated from one country to another at some time in your life; and (5) you suffer from at least a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), in which your obsessions cause you to spend excessive amounts of time and energy on projects that most people would consider a waste of time, but which you feel driven to do, especially when you receive notoriety, whether it be favorable or unfavorable. In your estimation, how well does the above profile fit?
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