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Double Standards in Reporting on the ‘Open Secrets’ of Sexual Orientation

August 10, 2010

A must-read Huffington Post article by Michelangelo Signorile highlighting the hypocrisy of the media speculating on Judge Walker’s sexual orientation, but shunning any other reports of the “open secrets” of closeted politicians.  You know, like the fact that it took inappropriate IMs from former Rep. Mark Foley for the open secret of his sexuality to be reported.  From Signorile’s post:

The way that the sexual orientation of Judge Vaughn Walker — the federal judge who overturned Proposition 8 last week — has been targeted and exploited by proponents of Prop 8 is not only an example of the ugly smear tactics of the theocratic thugs who call themselves Christians; it’s a testament to how easily the media is manipulated by the right into doing things about which editors and reporters claim to be staunchly opposed…

…Most [mainstream media] quoted the San Francisco Chronicle as the source, and often in the context of reporting on the attacks on Walker coming from the right-wing extremists who now claim his sexual orientation biased his decision.

So what exactly did the Chronicle say on the matter back in February? That it was an “open secret” that Walker was gay.

That’s it, folks. No sourcing of any kind — no witnesses, no former or current boyfriend, no person who Walker confided in, no comment from Walker. Just an “open secret.” Gee, there are many Hollywood celebrities and Washington politicians — Senator Lindsay Graham and Senator Mitch McConnell come to mind — about whom we’ve always heard about an “open secret,” but I don’t see the New York Times reporting on them ever.

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