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Step Down And The Press Steps Up

(AP Photo)
Let's say you're, oh, I don't know, an evangelical preacher who has been accused of having a three-year sexual relationship with a male prostitute while using crystal meth. Media outlets aren't sure how to play the story, since no evidence, other than the word of the escort, has surfaced. What do you do?

One hint: Don't step aside. When Mike Jones told a Denver radio station about his alleged relationship with Rev. Ted Haggard, who opposes gay rights (and presumably meth use, though I'd have to confirm that), many media outlets reacted cautiously. The Denver Post ran a small story. The national media waited to see how it would play out. But when Haggard stepped down, the kind of action that offers a solid news peg, he gave the press a green light to have at the story.

In fairness, it looks like Haggard had little choice – according to the acting senior pastor at Haggard's church, "there is an admission of some guilt" from Haggard. Wrote the acting senior pastor in an e-mail to Church members: "It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true."

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