October 28, 2006
The sex police on the Left
Posted by: Chris
Most of America was indignant and, even more so, turned off when Ken Starr issued his moralistic, sex-drenched report on Bill Clinton's philanderings with Monica Lewinsky. It represented for many the Puritan-yet-prurient streak that runs through the right-wing of the Republican Party, obsessed that someone somewhere might actually be having fun.
The last few years have reminded us, however, that the sex police on the Left can be even more intrusive and personally destructive, from the boundary-free outing campaigns of gay activist Michael Rogers to the self-appointed hypocrisy cops like John Aravosis at AmericaBlog, who for months on end gleefully begged readers to view every naked photograph and fetish description from Jeff Gannon's old escort ad.
Add to that Hall of Infamy the judgment-free "journalism" of Bob Norman at the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, who has made a name for himself delving into the sex lives of Florida Republicans. In his latest salvo, Norman devotes 2,000 words to blow the lid off of anonymously-sourced party gossip that Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist had sex with a young gay Republican activist. Any editor worth his salt would have recognized Norman's article for what it is, a reporter's notebook full of unconfirmed (in fact, denied) allegations dumped into a story.
Unlike even Rogers, Norman has no direct facts to support his basic assertion. Crist (pictured) denies it, as does the young GOP activist, Jason Wetherington (also pictured). The "evidence" consists of unnamed sources who claim that 21-year-old Wetherington bragged of having sex with Crist at two private parties.
So this is what passes for journalism these days? Norman can invade the sexual privacy of not only Crist, who is at least a public figure, but a 21-year-old staffer, only because two sources unwilling to have their names used claim the youngster made a sexual boast at a couple of parties?
And it doesn't stop there. Norman went on to print claims by the unnamed sources that Crist supposedly has a long-term romantic relationship with a man with a criminal record for embezzlement. Again, Crist and the man, Bruce Carlton Jordan, both deny it, as does Jordan's family. But the party gossip is enough for Norman (and his editors) to go to press.
Some inquiry behind perpetual bachelor Crist's claim to heterosexuality is justified, as I've written before, because he favors a constitutional amendment banning gays from marrying and Florida's uniquely cruel ban on gay adults adopting children. But bedside reporting from the Left is every bit as disgusting and destructive as bedside prosecution from the Right.
And as I've noted before, it discourages honest reporting about the sexual orientation of public figures, by associated fair questions about who a politician is with unfair questions about what he does in his bedroom.
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