H. Lukas Green and Jody May-ChangÂ©
May 3, 2008 PrideDEPOT.com
The actions of a lesbian couple and their supporters caused an avalanche of religious fervor, fear and bigotry in the small southern towns of Casar and Shelby, North Carolina.
All of this played out on the front page of The Star, the largest daily newspaper in Shelby, NC. The big news was about a lesbian couple trying to establishing an LGBT-friendly campground called, “Camp Lickalotta.”
Christian conservatives quickly piled on the women and their supporters condemning them as sinners and a threat to families.
The Star reportedly learned of the camp from locals who read about it on the internet and posted comments on the newspaper’s website. The Star plastered news about the camp on its front page under a bold doomsday headline. The newspaper even included a warning that the news might be considered offensive to readers.
Soon a campaign was launched to intimidate the gay community. The Star assisted in that effort by repeating the phrase “controversial camp” in each story. The newspaper embraced a reporting style favoring religious conservatives who were enraged that the so-called “homosexual lifestyle” was invading their community.
The biased reporting almost seemed to invite many of off-color comments about lesbians building “Camp Lickalotta” that were freely posted on The Star’s website. If there was any hint of journalistic integrity, The Star managed shred it by publishing a font page verbatim letter written by O. Max Gardner III, a prominent attorney representing the couple who evicted the lesbians from the Golden Valley Campground where “Camp Lickalotta” was proposed to be built.
There is no denying that news about lesbians building a place called “Camp Lickalotta” is in itself attention-grabbing, but that was the marketing idea by its founders Nancy Leedy and Joanie Beasley. They wanted to create a place that would to grab the attention and imagination of people – well, it apparently worked.