Before I had even read this blog, my current blog-league was already writing about privacy. In his “Opening Salvo (the very first post on this blog), he wrote that he was motivated to enter the blogosphere, in part, “to stop the anti-gay, invasion of privacy campaign against gay Americans.” He expanded upon this in his subsequent post, Mission Statement:
The act of invading someone’s privacy and workplace in order to divulge salacious details of their personal lives reeks of McCarthy-ism at its worst.. . .
Because the leftist gay radicals are so blinded by their rage and hatred, they are now systematically destroying the lives of individual gay Americans themselves! How ironic. So it isn’t John Ashcroft and the FBI peeking in your bedroom, and going through your trash. Nope, it is Michael Rogers and his silent spies who may be stalking you everywhere you go — out to eat, at parties, outside your own home.
And now we have someone offering money to find out the private details of the life of a conservative reporter whose nude pictures have already appeared on various left-wing web-sites.
While those who advocate the publishing of such information may dress up their scandalmongering with fancy rhetoric and noble-sounding ideas, they are little more than the left-wing gay equivalent of a supermarket tabloid. They have anointed themselves as judges of conservative hypocrisy and are willing to expose the private lives of at least two gay conservatives to make their case.
It’s not enough for them to “out” gay staffers who work for Republican politicians, they have also taken it upon themselves to “out” gay family members of Republicans while publishing the private contact ad of a prominent openly gay writer.
As I have already noted one blogger justified publishing dirt on this man because of “the hypocrisy angle.” And yet, liberal journalist/blogger David Corn (author of “THE LIES OF GEORGE W. BUSH“) looked through Gannon’s writings and found no evidence they were anti-gay. At worst, one comment “was clumsy but not homophobic.” (For a level-headed, intelligent liberal perspective on the “Gannongate,” I recommend Corn’s piece referenced above and his piece from “THE NATION.”)
Since even this extremely liberal writer could find no evidence of anti-gay bias in Gannon’s writings, it seems that some left-wing bloggers have defined hypocrisy to mean being gay and conservative.
As I began this post, I had thought that I would outline certain standards for respecting the privacy of public officials. But, as I looked at my notes and pondered my conclusions, I wondered who would police them. Who would be in charge of determining whether or not someone were guilty of hypocrisy? It’s one thing to argue that a public figure is a hypocrite by contrasting his public actions to his words. Or to say a writer is a hypocrite by contrasting his arguments on one subject to those on another. But, to seek out information of his private sexual (and romantic) relationships is well beyond the pale.
I have come to the conclusion that we should set very strict standards for publishing details about the private lives of individuals who someone find themselves in the public eye, especially those like Mr. Gannon who were on the periphery of the public eye. In other words, we should avoid publishing such details altogether — unless there is clear and convincing evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
I have said before — and I repeat because I believe this point bears repetition — there is a distinction between what someone says on a blog (or other news information page) and what he posts in an on-line contact ad. I believe the former is a public forum while the latter a private one. Let’s respect that distinction.
Now, with this DC socialite offering money for the most personal details of one man’s life, we see that the interest of those on the left is no longer just “outing” someone as a gay man. They also want as many salacious details as they can find about this conservative’s private life, seeking out information that he hasn’t even put on the web. This isn’t exposing hypocrisy. This is gossip, pure and simple.
As my blog-league wrote in his second post, “tactics like this are un-American and do nothing to advance a healthy debate of the gay marriage issue or any other gay rights issues.” He’s right. Let’s put the kibosh on such tactics and get on with that debate.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com