May 29, 2011

"The excuse that you're not breaking new gossip you're just helping to spread gossip seems like a pretty lame excuse."

Jack Craver — the Isthmus writer who did that hit piece on me — takes some heat for writing "Oh, and Herb Kohl is long-rumored to be gay." That came in the context of talking about whether Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin — who is openly gay — could run successfully for Herb Kohl's Senate seat.

If the question is what counts as outing? then it's not outing to report the existence of well-known rumors. How well-known are the rumors about Herb Kohl?

But the question isn't really how to define the term "outing." It's whether it's whether a journalist should bring up the subject of rumors in a particular context. Here, the context is whether an openly gay candidate will be successful running for an political position now held by a rumored-to-be-gay person. Another context where it might seem justified is reporting the rumored-to-be-gay person's vote on the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act or Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I think the mainstream norm is to avoid mentioning the rumor and to wait until the person identifies himself as gay — even in those special contexts. Perhaps it depends on how obvious the rumors have been balanced against how gay-related the context is. And the thumb on the scales is: How edgy/mainstream do you want to be?

Isthmus is our "alternative newspaper." We could talk about what that term means. And Craver's on-line writing self-identifies as a "blog," whatever the hell that is.

20 comments:

Doug Wright said...

Ah, but what is the Commissars ruling on this article and your subject? Lastly, what's Justice Sumi's rulings on this topic and is that a preliminary ruling or a final judgmental decree?

Lincolntf said...

I find that "alternative newspaper" is usually a synonym for "sophomoric lefty political pamphlet with lots of Personal ads and local music reviews".

F said...

I'll have to second Licolntf's definition. Good one.

ddh said...

Lincolntf nailed it.

TMink said...

Outing is when I share someone else's orientation. It is a private matter and not my business.

Trey

Jay Retread said...

"hit piece"?

Boy, Althouse remains thin skinned.

Jay Retread said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
clint said...

Don't be silly. The media norm is to show that Level of discretion for Democrats. For Republicans, the slightest innuendo of adultery or homosexuality is fair game. Apparently, it has something to do with the religious right, and hypocrisy.

Phil 3:14 said...

Yawn.

Aren't we beyond the "Coming out is brave" or "Closeted gays hurt the cause" era?

Didn't Warhol say:
"In the future, everyone will be gay for 15 minutes."

Phil 3:14 said...

PS Agree with Lincoln.

And that means that at some point in the future we'll see a bill before Congress to subsidize alternative newspapers.

Penny said...

This guy can call himself a writer, but a big thinker he is NOT.

The gist here is something like...sexuality is BIG in American politics...but it shouldn't be. It is though! Because of all those homophobes out there...except in Wisconsin.

So tell us again, Craver, why the rumor mongering in the great state of Wisconsin, where all those homophobes got past what YOU cannot?

chickenlittle said...

Baldwin has no chance outside of the Madison bubble. Herb Kohl partially ran on his family's name, known statewide since I can remember. It's positives like that win elections.

What has Tammy Baldwin done for a clear majority of Wisconsinites? Her Wiki bio reads like a whole lot of negatives--she did this or that against them. Here it is link.

Sure, she might win Dane County...but outside of that bubble what has she done? Anybody?

realwest said...

Well I have to say that a person's sexual preferences are their own. I don't give a damn one way or the other.
And on issues such as Defense of Marriage, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I think the issue itself is the story, not the sexual preferences of those who are for or against it - even elected politicians. It assumes that Gays, for example, will ALWAYS vote for laws that "help" gays and I find THAT particular thought demeaning to Gays.........and to Straights.

edutcher said...

Interesting that, if the Lefties want to destroy someone, they have no problem using homosexuality to do it.

They're supposed to love them and want to advance their cause, right?

William said...

If people should be free to choose their sexual identities, why can't they choose the identity of closeted gay. I'm sure that there are lots of wife swappers, foot fetishists, autoerotic asphyxiation freaks, etc, who feel that it would be easier to negotiate life without advertising their sexual preferences.....I remember seeing the HBO version of Angels in America. Roy Cohn was the villian. He was a closeted gay. Ethel Rosenberg was the heroine. She was a communist. The underllying moral: it is far worse to be a closeted gay man than to be a closeted Soviet spy.

enicar333 said...

Herb Kohl was known, secretely, as the "Dairy Queen. I know this because I know some who were on his security detail. And YES, his Basketball players know this also. It was often sniggered about, and some of his players felt uncomfortable about Herbie and his sexual identity. It is fitting that his team is named "BUCKS" with lots of BBC.

To his credit, at least the Dairy Queen was much more discrete than Bawny Fwank.

enicar333 said...

I'm trying to remember how long ago I had heard this and knew it - it was LONG ago. So, the information has been floating around seemingly forever. Since Herb never made a big deal of it - it stayed quiet and people respected it. When I heard it - I can't remember, but a bunch of policemen were sniggering about it. That's how Herb was known in private circles as "The Dairy Queen". I never went around shouting it - because there was no reason to do so - but it is NO mere rumor. I came back from Overseas in 1989 - so it had to be shortly afterwards - given my various moves - it would have been around early 1990's - but like I said - it was sniggered about my LE in the know.

David said...

The rumors about Herb are very old news.

The truth about Herb is that he is a private, thoughtful, decent, public spirited and kind person. I don't agree with most of his politics, but he is one of the most NORMAL people you will ever meet who has been elected to high public office.

Thank you Herb for your many years of public service and for your immense private generosity over the years, both personal and financial.

So shut up all you small minded selfish people, starting with Mr. Isthmus whateverhisnameis.

Trooper York said...

Hey somebody was trying to tell me that Titus is gay?

Some people will believe anything. Jeeez Louise.

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