Saturday, April 5, 2008


PHILLY MAG In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, it’s been looking as if Philadelphia’s LGBT community would be pretty much thrilled with either candidate currently barnstorming Pennsylvania. Then Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal unleashed a bombshell this morning: a glaring blank spot on the front of this week’s edition, meant as a huge rebuke to Barack Obama for refusing the paper’s recent interview request - and for refusing to speak with any members of the local gay press nationwide for more than four years.

So, we saw the front page. Tell us about what’s been going on.

PGN, since 1976, has always asked the presidential candidates, editorial candidates, mayors, what have you, for an interview when they’re campaigning in Pennsylvania. We feel that it’s very important for the LGBT community to be apprised of the issues that are a concern to us. On election day, 3 percent of all votes in Pennsylvania are LGBT votes - and in this election, that percentage is going to be very important. We thought it was extremely important to reach out to both campaigns.

We had great success with the Clinton campaign. They were very open to us and inviting from day one. The surprise to us was the Obama campaign. When we realized we weren’t getting very far with them, we decided to enlist other people - who are supporting Senator Obama - to assist us. These people happen to be some of his superdelegates and his strongest political supporter in the state: [U.S. Senator] Robert Casey and congressman Pat Murphy. All of whom advised him this was an interview he should do. We were told there had been scheduling problems. We’ve been told this now for weeks.

So how did you come up with leaving the front page blank? That’s a pretty bold statement.

Although, no publisher wants a blank space in their paper! Or as we call it, you know, creative white space! [laughs] We wanted to make it clear from the very start that we had done our research. And I think what is shocking is that the campaign has not been able to refute our facts. It has been 1,522 days since he’s spoken to local gay press.

Wow. That goes back to 2004.

That’s not acceptable. I am the former president of the National Gay Newspaper Guild, and last week, during a break in the meeting, former publishers and editors were sitting around the table, and half of them were Obama supporters. And we all started discussing the fact that practically every one of them has gone after Obama for an interview - and they’ve all gotten the runaround!

I’ve been doing this for 31 years. There is nobody in the gay press that has been doing it as long as I have. And PGN has a reputation for doing interviews with politicians - including people like Frank Rizzo! We’ve interviewed everyone, with the exception of the one who refused: Senator Santorum. Which I find kind of comical. Because I don’t want to put Senator Obama on the same level as Santorum! I find that offensive.


At April 7, 2008 10:56 AM, Anonymous robbie said...

Paper's editor apparently a long-time Hillary supporter. I wonder how hard he tried to get that Obama interview?

At April 7, 2008 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't speak for that particular periodical, but nationally the gay media have not been able to have a chat with Obama either. He's obviously trying to mae a public statement in support gay rights in order to avoid losing some of the neanderthal vote.


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