WashPost Celebrates End of DADT with 34-paragraph Story Largely Devoid of Dissent

September 21st, 2011 10:26 AM

For the second day in a row, the Washington Post celebrated the end of the 18-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, this time with a front-page center-column story that opened with the tale of a soldier who videotaped and posted to YouTube the phone call in which he announced to his father that he was gay:

Shortly after midnight Tuesday in his bedroom at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Randy Phillips set up his Web camera, dialed his cellphone and called his father in Alabama.

“Can I tell you something?” Phillips, 21, asked, with the camera rolling. “Will you love me, serious? Like, you’ve always loved me, as long as I live?”

“Yes,” his father said.

His voice dropping, Phillips told him: “Dad, I’m gay.”

“Yikes,” his father replied.

“I still love you, and I will always love you, and I will always be proud of you,” his father said later.

This is what the end of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy brought — hundreds, if not thousands, of quiet, personal exchanges with family, friends, and supportive colleagues who had long suspected they knew. Some gay service members took to podiums on Capitol Hill or attended parties and “coming out” ceremonies.

Post staffer Ed O'Keefe quickly added that "several issues remain unresolved, including the granting of equal benefits to same-sex partners," hinting to readers that the end of DADT is just the beginning in a series of battles over sexuality in the military.

"Tuesday, though, was about relief and recognition," O'Keefe quickly added, filling out the rest of his 34-paragraph story with just one dissenting voice, Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness.

O'Keefe buried Donnelly's objections in paragraphs 28 and 29 and failed to note that she heads a think tank devoted to military preparedness issues. She was tagged simply as "a vocal opponent of allowing gays in uniform."

At no point in today's A1 story nor in yesterday's Metro section front-pager did O'Keefe explore the question of what the military will do to ensure chaplains can stay true to their religious faith's teachings on homosexuality as they minister to servicemen who include those who are openly gay.