Outing Gays: It’s Wrong When Republicans Or Democrats Do It.
One of the downsides to the internet age is that sometimes things that are better left private, end up splashed all over the blogosphere and the Drudge Report. Just to give you one example, the mainstream media may guard the name of any women involved in a high profile rape case, but these days their names almost always end up being ferreted out on the internet and can usually be found after doing minimal research. Some people may think that’s appropriate since the name of the accused rapist is never shielded by the press, but good or bad, it’s the reality we have to live with.
Another reality is that you have scumbags, like David Corn, out there spreading rumors about gay Republicans up on Capitol Hill. Corn did this in a particularly underhanded manner. He said that there was a list of gay Republican staffers on the Hill, said he wasn’t going to reveal who they were, and then pointed out what offices some of the staffers worked in. In other words, Corn is trying to generate enough buzz to guarantee that the list goes public while simultaneously trying to pretend that his hands are clean.
Just exactly what is the relevance of revealing that “nine chiefs of staffs, two press secretaries, and two directors of communications,” are supposedly gay, especially if they don’t want people to know? It’s nothing but a sleazy and malevolent attempt to personally go after people for the “crime” of being gay Republicans.
You’d think that at some point, people like Corn would realize that the behind the scenes sexual exploits of some press secretary or chief of staff is exactly as relevant as say, the behind the scenes sexual exploits of David Corn, Markos Zúniga, or John Aravosis. In other words, if the sex lives of mere Republican staffers and people like Jeff Gannon are going to be treated as fair game, why shouldn’t the sex lives of liberal staffers, bloggers, and reporters be just as open to investigation?
That’s not something I approve of, but it’s the sort of vicious environment that people like Corn and these other liberal bloggers are creating…and we’re already starting to see it happen.
There’s a conservative blog out there called Passionate America that has revealed the identity of the page Foley had an explicit instant messenger session with.
While Passionate America deserves credit for doing some original research and for revealing that the page was 18 years old when the now infamous explicit conversation happened, they also have the kid’s real name, his picture, and his AIM handle up. That is just totally irresponsible and a violation of the ex-page’s privacy.
Bloggers should really start to think long and hard about the ramifications of outing people, posting their AIM handles, investigating the sex lives of non-politicians, and for that matter, posting people’s home addresses online. The precedents that are being set today may turn into common practices in a few years and I can tell you, that is not something that anyone, especially members of the media, should want to see happen.
PS #1: It was hard to decide whether to link Corn and Passionate America, but since they’re both linked in so many other places at this point, I think the cat is already out of the bag.
PS #2: While it is significant that Foley’s most infamous perverse IM exchange with the page occurred after he was 18, don’t forget that Foley seduced the kid when he was younger. Moreover, it’s simply not appropriate for a 51 year old Congressman to be hitting on a page, male or female, under any circumstances.