What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 9, 2006

More on Marty Griffin

I don't know if you noticed this piece in the P-G yesterday. Lynn Cullen was all over it on WPTT.
During an emotional meeting yesterday, members of Pittsburgh Presbytery prayed about how they might handle property disputes if some of their congregations leave the denomination and heard a final letter written to them by a pastor who committed suicide after KDKA-TV ran promos for an expose on his sex life.
Here's more.
In it, Mr. Dugan, pastor of the Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon, apologized for the shame he believed he had brought on the presbytery. He said he had struggled with his sexuality all his adult life, hoping to fall in love with a woman, but concluding he was to devote his life only to his congregation.

He said he did so until four years ago, when he became close friends with a man who claimed to love him, and with whom he had occasional sexual encounters. That man cajoled him into leaving specific kinds of sexual fantasies on his answering machine, and then betrayed him by setting up a meeting at an adult bookstore, where KDKA-TV recorded him, Mr. Dugan wrote.
I want to take a look at how KDKA was describing in the piece. From Rob Owen on 11/6/06:
KDKA general manager Chris Pike said the station would have no comment beyond a statement released Friday night that expressed condolences to Dugan's family and friends and explained that KDKA had "conducted a monthlong investigation into reports of public and illegal sexual behavior by Pastor Dugan. The results of that investigation were scheduled to air [Thursday] evening. ... That evening the station received information from someone close to Pastor Dugan that indicated that he was considering doing harm to himself. As a result, the station made the decision not to air the story."[emphasis added]
Now take a look at what Dugan said.
That man cajoled him into leaving specific kinds of sexual fantasies on his answering machine, and then betrayed him by setting up a meeting at an adult bookstore...
There's obviously a disconnect here because there's a big gap between gay phone sex, meeting in adult bookstore and illegal sexual behavior.

Did Marty Griffin have anything to back up his charge of illegal behavior? As posted here before, Rob Owen didn't think so:
During the 11 p.m. news Thursday, Griffin said his investigation "uncovered illicit, possibly illegal, activity by a local minister, activities which, at the very least, violated the rules of his denomination."

It's the use of key words -- possibly illegal, at the very least -- that call into question whether the report was worth doing in the first place. If the best Griffin could dig up was a trip to an adult bookstore (not illegal) and violation of church rules, then there's not much in it to serve the public interest. It comes off looking like another "gotcha"-style story designed for no benefit except the TV station's ratings.
Does KDKA have any other defense? Becuase if they don't it looks an awful lot like they set up a lonely closeted gay pastor for a ratings bonanza.

I hope the news division and Marty Griffin are very happy with themselves.


Anonymous said...

KDKA can't fire Marty 'The Killer' Griffin because to do so would be an admission of their part in this mess. KDKA and their lawyers will protect themselves and maybe even Mr. Griffin for a while. But eventually they will throw him under the bus just like they did with Steve Hansen.

Can't we have a little bit of decency and integity back in news reporting? After all this is Pittsburgh - not New York or DC.

The old 'if it bleeds it leads' reality will not go away no matter how much we complain to the news stations. But the KDKA news department's penchant for 'possible' lewd - immoral or sex related news has got to go.

Fact based news might be nice for a change - I dare KDKA News to try that for awhile.

I for one will only listen to McIntire's show on KDKA radio. The rest of their crap radio and TV news can look for an audience elsewhere.

Anon #2

Anonymous said...

Griffin's an ass. He was run out of Dallas for similar behavior. I wonder who it was that Dugan was having a relationship with? I also wonder if KDKA-tv paid that person for the information/setup at a bookstore. Pathetic journalism at its finest.

Anonymous said...

Griffin has no decency. He would do anything to chase down a story. Even if it isn't there.

Darren7160 said...

Though I live in Wisc. I saw this article and went to the station's website to comment on how I had always hoped that the press would responsibly use the freedom they have through the constitution. That they chose to ruin a man's life for no particular reason makes me physically sick. I really do believe that his death is on their hands... they can rationalize all they want about how it was ultimately his "choice" you are responsible once you intrude into the life of another. Just like pointing a loaded gun.

Richmond K. Turner said...

Thanks for providing more detail on this mess. I got fed up with TV news several years ago; so fed up, in fact, that I no longer have a television in my home. So while I noticed this story as it unfolded, I never really looked into very much. Your post provides all of the relevant details in a very coherent and succinct fashion, and I thank you for writing it.

The entire news department at KDKA should be disgusted with themselves. Your post completely confirms my decision to excise television news (and television generally) from my day-to-day life.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Last week Marty G's radio show had plenty of ranting about the new Megan's Law web site established by the Commonwealth of PA.

Schmuck Shitrock said...

In a previous life, I worked for that company (then Group W, now CBS) and saw how they operate.
A Fortune-500 corporation, they could not possibly care less about journalism, much less morality, much less the welfare of their employees, much less the welfare of their victims.
It's not that they are immoral, they are amoral. They care about moolah. The reason they hold back in propagating slander has to do with fear of lawsuits, not ethics or morals.

Izzy said...

Marty is a blowhole. He has been raising hell on his talk show about the South Butler teachers' strike. Whether you are against the issues or not, all I ask is report the facts and report both sides of the story. He cut off or hung up anyone supporting the educators and distorts/twists the facts for sensationalism. A true unprofessional at its finest!