This once venerable newspaper has become a shadow of its former self.
May 30, 2023
The first sentence of a recent Hartford Courant front page article blares “Once confined to QAnon and now weaponized by conservatives across the country, a fringe theory purporting Democratic support for pedophilia has become embedded in the debate over an update to Connecticut’s anti-discrimination law.”
Written by Hartford Courant reporter, Ms. Alison Cross, this article makes a mockery of journalistic objectivity and accuracy.
The controversy began when the Connecticut legislature decided to update laws against discrimination with bill HB6638. This sailed through the Assembly by a 132-17 vote and was posed to sail through the Senate. That was until it was read by the CatholicVote.org, the Connecticut Republican Assembly and the FIC (Family Institute of Connecticut) led by the redoubtable Peter and Leslie Wolfgang.
These groups believe that this legislation allows “Minor Attracted Persons” (the politically correct term for pedophiles) to work with children in jobs such as teaching and daycare, as long as they have never acted on their tendencies. And then the excrement hit the fan.
The Senate balked on voting for HB6638 and at the time of this writing, the language of the bill is being discussed, meaning that even in liberal Connecticut, this is not seen as being a “fringe theory” as Ms. Cross posits.
She also explains QAnon as “… born from the notorious “Pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory alleging the existence of a child sex-trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton and Democratic elites in a Washington D.C., pizzeria.”
But she does not provide a scintilla of evidence that Connecticut’s social conservatives fighting this proposed law have anything to do with this movement.
The article presents the political views of both Republicans and Democrats on the issue but fails to interview social conservatives even though the article intimates that they are encouraging violence against the LGBTQ community. But no evidence is given that there is increased violence against the LGBTQ community in Connecticut nor is there a quote from social conservatives that incites violence.
Ms. Cross interviews Dawn Ennis, a transgender journalism professor at the University of Hartford, and quotes her as saying “And there’s such propaganda being spread by the Family Institute (of Connecticut) by Mr. Wolfgang and others that who think that people who are either gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer are either trying to attract children or convert them, to force them to become something they’re not or that they’re interested in having sex with children.”
This is powerful allegation against Mr. Wolfgang that borders on slanderous, but Ms. Cross never even bothered to contact Mr. Wolfgang for a response.
The Hartford Courant, the oldest continuous newspaper in the United States, has been buffeted by changes beyond its control. The internet has destroyed many mid-city sized papers as readers can find news for free causing advertising revenue to plummet. The Courant no longer has enough personnel to cover local news in detail and does not even have an office! But there is no excuse for printing this article that hurls objective journalistic standards out the window.
Almost thirty years ago, I ran for the U.S. Senate and was interviewed by Hartford Courant reporters Matt Daley, Chris Keating, Michele Jacklyn, Hilary Waldman and columnist Don Noel. From their body language, I could deduce that these journalists disagreed with me more than they agreed and tilted politically to the left. But the articles they wrote about me always quoted me with meticulous accuracy. In fact, the articles were so fair that when I read them, I felt they subconsciously tilted them in my favor to prevent accusations of liberal bias. But this generation of responsible journalism is fading into the sunset.
In all likelihood, Ms. Cross will be lionized for this article and may even win a journalism award along with LGBTQ awards for writing it. After all, the New York Times received two Pulitzer Prizes for articles on President Trump’s involvement with Russia that later proved to be a hoax.
But the fact that the Hartford Courant printed such a one-sided article illustrates how its journalistic standards have declined. It is so sad to watch.