WWW Opinion Times

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Editorial Writers Claim Religious Discriminiation

The Indianapolis Star, a Gannett Co. newspaper, has been charged with religious discrimination in a lawsuit brought by two former editorial writers, James Patterson and Lisa Coffey.
INDIANAPOLIS: "[Patterson and Coffey have charged in court that] top newsroom managers 'consistently and repeatedly demonstrated ... a negative hostility toward Christianity.'"

The two are asking to be reinstated at the paper, and be compensated for lost income, benefits, emotional distress and unspecified punitive damages.

"Lisa and I aren't the only employees that have been driven away from this company and we thought it was time for someone to say, 'Goodness gracious. This isn't right,'" Patterson said.
This is consistent with the changes which have taken place at the Star since Gannett purchased Central Newspapers, the former parent company of the Star and the Arizona Republic. The editorial bent has turned decidedly more liberal and news reports have become much less local and more liberally oriented with editorial decisions following the precedent of Gannett's mega paper, USAToday.

In fairness, the editorial staff maintains two decidedly Christian writers, Russ Pulliam and Lori Borgman. Pulliam is the scion of the paper's founding family, but his role on the editorial staff has been greatly reduced to general legislative and community commentary. Borgman writes a stay-at-home-mother oriented humor column which is in the Erma Bombeck tradition which sometimes espouses decidedly Christian ethical advice and insight.

The Indianapolis Star (history) was founded in 1903 and was brought to prominence after it was purchased in 1944 by Eugene C. Pulliam. The Pulliam family was a highly influential and conservative voice in the midwest for many years until Pulliam's son, Eugene S. Pulliam, died in 1999. Shortly thereafter, it was sold to Gannett Co.