News Clips— Poor judgment?

MICHAEL MORGAN JUST can’t get no satisfaction.

Since last September, Morgan has been protesting over a Seattle Gay News article that said his campaign against Superior Court Judge Mary Yu was part of a “nefarious homophobic plot against Gay judicial candidates.” Now the Washington News Council (WNC), a three-year-old group that referees disputes between the media and the public, has cancelled its hearing on Morgan’s complaint.

In the September 1, 2000 issue of the Gay News, associate editor Tom Flint wrote that Morgan was part of a “reputed anti-gay effort” and “is attempting to make sexual orientation an issue in a backhanded way by. . .denying he is homophobic.” The article has only two sources for its claims: Mike Andrews of SEAMEC, a gay group that rates candidates, and an anonymous SEAMEC member.

“I was really furious,” says Morgan. Since September, he has vehemently denied being anti-gay or that he is running against Yu because she is a lesbian. He even talked to a lawyer about suing the Gay News over the article. Not only does Morgan claim the article is inaccurate, he finds it personally offensive since he has a close relationship with his out gay brother, Seattle lawyer Steve Morgan.

This year, Morgan took his fight to the WNC. After an initial investigation, the organization took on the case, says WNC’s John Hamer. When the Gay News did not respond, Hamer says, the WNC scheduled a public hearing on the complaint. About a week before the hearing, Hamer continues, he discovered that “Seattle Gay News did run a follow-up story [on September 8] which addressed most of Morgan’s concerns.” The WNC cancelled its hearing.

While Morgan is pleased the WNC brought the follow-up article to his attention— and admits it addresses some of his concerns—he is unhappy about the hearing’s cancellation. He says the September 8 article contained many new inaccuracies and was not the “retraction” he was looking for. “Why not have the hearing?” he asks rhetorically. “I think [the WNC] was afraid the issue was a little too hot to handle.”