Not in the D-News | Buzz Blog
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Not in the D-News

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Suicide memorial for gay Mormons runs into the Deseret News sensitivity wall.---

An ad for a memorial service for gay Mormons who committed suicide was rejected by the Deseret News Wednesday, after the newspaper decided it was critical of their owner, the LDS Church. The group then pulled the ad from the The Salt Lake Tribune because, according to the above-linked Trib article, they were not getting a discount for advertising in both papers.

What the group did get, however, was a story in the Tribune, which generated far more attention in the blogosphere than the ad would have. And it didn't cost them a penny.

The easy cry, at this moment, is censorship, and that is exactly what many of the comments on the Trib story reflects. While that is accurate, it is a tired argument.

The fact is, the D-News has long censored their advertising well beyond what most papers do. They do not take escort ads, strip club ads, coffee house ads, or ads critical of the LDS Church. They don't print the Vegas betting spreads, which although not advertising, falls close to those lines. Until only a few years ago, they did not take ads from private clubs, and it was only in the last year or so that Brewvies ads started showing up in the paper. (Although, to be fair, I honestly don't know if that was a Brewvies decision or D-News, but it doesn't seem logical that Brewvies would not advertise in the D-News, considering the discount for both papers).

Should you be outraged? Sure, but if the censorship of ads makes you mad, it should have made you mad a long time ago. Personally, I'm going to be checking the Monday newspapers to compare coverage of the event, which is coinciding with LDS General Conference. If the Deseret News also ignores the event in their news pages, then that is what I would consider legitimate, egregious censorship.

Finally, by way of disclosure, remember that I worked at the D-News as a reporter and an editor until about two months ago. Their censorship of ads never bothered me as much as some others, because it was a business decision, not an editorial decision. Their lack of a Brewvies ad always annoyed me, however.

Now, if you're interested, here's a link to the group sponsoring the service.