The Arizona Republic is really cashing in these days on its connection to Vice President Dan Quayle, but the newspaper's not exactly tooting its own horn about it.
Twice this month, the Republic, which is owned and operated by Quayle's Pulliam relatives, has been savaged by national magazines Newsweek and Columbia Journalism Review for allegedly cozying up to Dan Quayle and homosexuals. Talk about playing both ends.
The prestigious journalism magazine known as CJR, which flings "darts" and "laurels" each issue, stuck a dart into William P. Cheshire, editorial-page editor of the Republic, for ingratiating himself with his boss, Eugene S. Pulliam, president of the company that owns the Republic and the Phoenix Gazette.
Cheshire got the dart "for giving new journalistic meaning to the concept of 'family values,'" when he argued in a March 8 column that Quayle "outshines" George Bush in both "rhetoric and credibility."
"Although Cheshire didn't say so," the CJR noted in its September-October issue, "his rhetoric no doubt made a great deal of sense in shining up his credibility with his own boss." The magazine pointed out that Eugene S. Pulliam is Dan Quayle's uncle.
"They're entitled to believe that our editorial policies are determined by the ownership of the newspaper," Cheshire tells New Times. "That isn't true. In fact, we were very critical of Dan Quayle's nomination and selection. [In 1988] we termed the choice of Dan Quayle 'perplexing.'" Cheshire says the column was intended to be "more critical of George Bush than in praise of Dan Quayle."
You be the judge. After writing in his column, "Flip the ticket. Put Dan Quayle on top," Cheshire praised Quayle for "the kind of straight talk that catapulted Ronald Reagan into the White House." Cheshire also wrote:
". . . I was skeptical when Mr. Quayle went on the ticket in 1988. As friends keep reminding me, it was I who said he seemed to have the specific gravity of helium gas.
"But it was also I who told these same comforters shortly after the election that Dan Quayle would end up being the strong man on the ticket, and I was right."
In an interview, Cheshire says: "I don't expect the Columbia Journalism Review to understand the inner workings of my office and how our policies are arrived at, or even to be familiar with the record of the Republic's editorials critical of the choice of Quayle four years ago."
The family values of the Republic also were the theme of an item in the September 7 issue of Newsweek. Noting the hypocrisy of Quayle, the news magazine's "Periscope" pointed out that while the vice president has said he was raised to believe the gay lifestyle is "wrong," his family's newspaper in Phoenix, the Republic, "gladly sells classified ads for love-seeking gays and lesbians."
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Newsweek's blurb further points out most large metropolitan daily newspapers refuse to carry gay personals. (The Republic's advertising policy has been criticized by conservative groups such as the Arizona Chapter of Concerned Women for America.)
It does appear, however, that Quayle has not personally benefited from the gay-sex ads. A Quayle spokesman told the magazine that although the vice president does own "some stock" in Central Newspapers Inc., the company that owns the Republic and the Gazette, he is "unaware" of the ads.
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