In an interview published on May 12th on Examiner.com, boxer Manny Pacquiao appeared to suggest through a scripture passage that not only is he against same-sex marriage, but people who are in one should be put to death as well. Several media outlets jumped on the story, and a firestorm of subsequent articles were written condemning Pacquiao’s comments, ultimately leading to the cancellation of his scheduled appearance on the celebrity news show “Extra." The show is filmed on location at the outdoor Los Angeles mall The Grove, which issued a statement on Tuesday evening that Pacquiao would no longer be allowed at the mall and that his remarks were antithetical to its mission of tolerance.
Since then, however, Pacquiao was interviewed by “Extra” at his home in Los Angeles and clarified his statement, saying that he did not quote scripture and that even though he is against gay marriage he is not condemning gays. The author of the original story on Examiner.com has also backed up Pacquiao’s account and apologized for the confusion caused by his article.
How much blame if any should the media take for furor over Pacquiao’s comments? With how easy it is to publish on the web, do we need to tighten the reins on what makes it out to the public? Is sensational news journalism ever going to be held accountable?
Shelly Holmes, Crisis Management Expert and Senior Partner at Rogers Finn Partners based in Los Angeles, which represents public and private sector clients.