This paper dedicated a large portion of its front page feeding the allegation by Frank VanderSloot that he is a victim of an alleged smear campaign backed by President Obama. The May 18 article, Idaho businessman VanderSloot says Obama is smearing him, by Sean Cockerham, lacked balance and aided VanderSloots whitewashing of his indisputable anti-gay record.
Cockerham wrote, VanderSloot was featured in an April 20 post on the Obama Truth Team website describing VanderSloot as litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.
VanderSloot was not featured on the post that Fox News has been branding as an enemies list. The two-sentence paragraph at the pages bottom says nothing new and has been reported several times before (Statesman Oct. 21, 2011).
VanderSloots PR team is feeding a narrative to media that VanderSloot is an innocent private citizen under attack by Obama because he donated $1 million to Romanys PAC.
VanderSloot is not a private citizen; he forfeited that standing by placing himself in the public arena as Romneys finance co-chair in 2008 and again in 2012. VanderSloot is fair game, like it or not.
Cockerham reported, VanderSloot helped pay for statewide billboards, protesting Idaho Public Televisions airing of Its Elementary but omitted the provocative message, Should public television promote the homosexual lifestyle? Think about it! Cockerham failed to put the issue in proper context.
The Idaho Falls Post-Register reported in August 1999 that VanderSloot didnt help but actually spearheaded the billboard campaign. The Idaho Statesmen reported Oct. 12, 2011, VanderSloot bought 25 billboards. Despite VanderSloots earlier claims others contributed, he never revealed them or their contributions.
VanderSloot told Cockerham he was mischaracterized by his critics, yet the reporter neglected to include the viewpoint of any gay Idahoan.
As one of those very Idahoans active on LGBT issues, I can emphatically report LGBTA citizens still consider VanderSloots billboards as despicable, blatantly homophobic and hurtful.
VanderSloot said hes not anti-gay: Ive got several gay friends traveled the world with gay people I respect them. They respect and love me. For some I have great admiration for their work ethic.
Juxtaposed to his actions, VanderSloots remarks are as insulting as they are hollow.
Rachel Maddow reported May 15 that VanderSloot discussed Its Elementary on The OReilly Factor Aug. 11, 1999. VanderSloot told OReilly the film was propaganda and described homosexuality as contrary to the moral standards of our community and nation.
VanderSloot still dances around his companys paid Post-Register ad outing reporter Peter Zuckerman, putting his safety in jeopardy and causing his partner to be fired.
Cockerham failed to include VanderSloots Proposition 8 support. VanderSloot used his Melaleuca call center to urge Californians to vote for Prop 8 (Boise Weekly Oct. 22, 2008). His wife, Belinda, also donated $100,000 to the effort.
VanderSloot cannot erase his record or the damage done to the LGBTA community in Idaho and beyond.
VanderSloot claims his troubles began when the Obama campaign put him on an enemies list on April 20; that is false.
It was Glenn Greenwalds Feb. 17 Salon.com piece going viral and landing on Maddows show Feb. 21, not the April 20 paragraph as VanderSloot claims.
VanderSloot has only himself to blame for his anti-gay record escaping beyond Idaho where his legal team is no longer able to control his image by threatening journalists who publish unflattering commentary about his actions.
The point here is that this would not have made it to Salon.com or the Rachel Maddow Show if VanderSloots attorneys didnt send me and other Idaho bloggers letters demanding we pull our stories. In my view, it is VanderSloot that made his anti-gay record into a national story, not the Obama campaign.
For Mr. VanderSloot and his public relations campaign to paint him as a victim is laughable.
Jody May-Chang is an independent journalist who lives in Boise. She blogs on As I See It on may-chang.com