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  • « Happy half-century, old man! | Main | Moving forward fairly »

    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.

    Charliecrist_1 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.

    Jasonwetherington 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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    1. Pop the question. And report the answer. from aTypical Joe: A gay New Yorker living in the rural south. on Nov 25, 2006 3:27:31 PM

      Early in October I wrote a post that I thought framed Outing in an original way. In it I explained that to accept that being called 'gay' is defamatory necessarily carries with it the assumption that there is some legally... [Read More]

    Comments

    1. jackson on Oct 29, 2006 11:08:08 AM:

      Are you ever going to get off this topic? Only people who don't know your own history with Rogers will take you seriously. If you want to write a self defense of your handling of the Mehlman business after Rogers outed your obstruction of the story, then do it. If you want to continue defending your hiring of Jeff Gannon, after your successor fired him, then do it.

      But, PLEASE, stop pretending this isn't a personal issue.

    1. Citizen Crain on Oct 29, 2006 6:07:56 PM:

      I have no personal baggage whatsoever with Mike Rogers, and never have. He and John Aravosis, who was an acquaintance friend of mine, both became very angry when I assigned a feature story to profile them during the height of their outing campaign two years ago. Rogers has come around, at different times, when he agreed with something I'd written or the Blade reported. But it was never personal, at least not for me.

      As much as Mike or others wished, I have never been privy to Ken Mehlman's sexual orientation, as I laid out in an editorial:
      http://washingtonblade.com/2005/3-25/view/editorial/edit.cfm

      Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists out there.

      As for Gannon, though he's off-point here, I've also done my best to explain why I published his freelance columns:
      http://washingtonblade.com/2005/9-23/view/editorial/gannon.cfm

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