In today's bleak media market, news organizations generally are quick to tap every revenue source available.
But not San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, also known as SDGLN.com. The news site is rejecting any and all advertising dollars that would support Rep. Bob Filner's run for mayor.
The site's publisher is Johnathan Hale, the partner of Filner's opponent, San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio. But the decision to boycott the Filner campaign is more complicated than simple romantic bias.
When San Diego Democrats for Equality attempted to purchase web advertisements for its supported candidates, including Filner, an unidentified representative from SDGLN responded:
SDGLN has made a business decision to not accept advertisements for Bob Filner's mayoral campaign or its supporters, due to the fact that Mr. Filner has falsely accused our company, its employees and our Publisher Johnathan Hale of committing a crime this summer. It is unfortunate that he has yet to offer any apology for making false accusations. Should he decide to do the right thing, we would be happy to work with him or his supporters on placing advertisements with our publication.
The false accusation refers back to an incident in mid-August when a water-gun fight in Balboa Park spiraled out of control, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of damage to the park's treasured lily pond. Filner jumped on tenuous links between the event's organizers and SDGLN. In a statement, Filner leveled some pretty sensational (not to mention un-proofread) accusations against Hale.
"This is felony vandalism of the Crown Jewel of San Diego. Carl deMaio's [sic] partner reportedly helped to organize it. I call on Carl to condemn Jonathan Hale's [sic] criminal actions," Filner wrote, then repeated the claims in several other media appearances.
To date, no credible evidence has emerged that Hale was in any way involved in the water fight. As far as we know, Filner never apologized.
In an email to CityBeat, SDGLN editor Ken Williams elaborated on the decision to bar Filner's ads:
Williams says SDGLN does not accept advertising directly from DeMaio's campaign, but the website is currently running a banner ad attacking Filner's early support for the Defense of Marriage Act. The ad is attributed to the independent committee "Gay Friends Supporting Carl DeMaio for Mayor 2012," which was formed on Oct. 10 and has yet to file a disclosure of its donors.
Filner blatantly lied to San Diego voters in a highly suspect political ploy to somehow tie his opponent Carl DeMaio to Lilygate because Johnathan Hale is his partner.
Unfortunately Filner's lie has harmed our business, hurt our brand, damaged our reputation in the community, subjected SDGLN to homophobic outbursts, and torn apart the LGBT community based on falsehoods. SDGLN has spent countless hours reassuring advertisers and readers that we were not involved with the Lily Pond incident, costing us money and time that should have been spent on publishing the news, advertising and marketing.