A few months ago, I wrote that Lou Chibbaro Jr is “quite possibly the best reporter writing for the gay press.” Today, in “THE WASHINGTON BLADE,” he once again shows his sterling journalistic qualities, writing a piece on the debate over the newsworthiness of the sex life of gay journalists.
In a previous post, I made clear my opposition to reporters (or bloggers for that matter) invading the “private lives of individuals in the public eye.” My blog-league has made that point of numerous occasions, most recently here. On this one at least, we agree with Andrew Sullivan. (I tend to find Andrew at his strongest when he stands up against such invasions of privacy.)
In Lou’s piece today, he covers both sides of the debate, even quoting his own editor acknowledging that their paper erred: “in retrospect, our reporting went considerably further than necessary to raise the hypocrisy issue for readers.”
Lou gets it right when he reports:
Had the Guckert story remained focused on whether he had been operating as a conservative shill to promote the presidents agenda, it most likely would have died a quiet death, most media commentators have said.
He quotes Gannon:
[W]e seem to have established a new standard for journalists in this country, he told Cooper. If someone disagrees with you, then your personal life, your private life, and anything you have ever done in the past is going to be brought up for public inspection.
Lou also quotes a journalism scholar:
Kelly McBride, a faculty member at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based school for career journalists, criticized news organizations for disclosing Guckerts sexual orientation and alleged involvement in sexually oriented Web sites without providing a sufficient reason for doing so.
She said she was not persuaded by claims from bloggers like Aravosis that outing Guckert was justified because he was a hypocrite for working for a conservative news organization that was hostile to gay civil rights causes. McBride asked if Guckert could have been a conservative gay Republican who opposes gay marriage but supports gay rights in general?
The transgression here is painting with a broad brush something that should be painted with a very detailed brush, she said. The underlying message people might read into this is there is something wrong with being gay or that a gay reporter cant be trusted, she said.
My friend David Boaz, Cato Institute Executive Vice President, however, says it best: “What you have in the Guckert case is left-wing people using homophobia to destroy a Republican operative. . . . Even Republicans are entitled to be gay.
Good reporting, Lou. And the rest of you, well, just read the whole thing!
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com