Article Title:Herald editor defends antigay columnist
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:7th November 2003 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2096
Text:The editor-in-chief of the New Zealand Herald has dismissed suggestions of a conflict of interest in having one of its regular columnists as editor of readers' letters. An article in this week's Listener revealed that Garth George, a man who has in his columns linked homosexual law reform to an increase in murders and once likened the “homosexual lobby” to rust (because it “never sleeps”), is the man in charge of vetting reader feedback on the newspaper's content. Editor-in-chief Gavin Ellis told that like all parts of the newspaper's editorial operations, letters were subject to a series of checks and balances and that Mr George was only one part of that process. "Mr George's personal opinions are confined to his column and do not intrude into other areas," he said, adding that letters to the editor are actually seen by the editor. Mr George earlier this year refused to publish an open letter organised by Auckland University professors Michael Neill and Albert Wendt demanding Paul Holmes' resignation over the "cheeky darkie" affair, until Wendt bypassed him and got directly in touch with Mr Ellis. "You are seriously cluttering up our email system with your nonsense, not one word of which will be published," said Mr George in an emailed reply to the professors. Mr George had written a Herald column sharply criticising Holmes detractors less than a week previously, saying their attitude was "repressive" and that they "sickened" him.    
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