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“Out” Magazine writes about Gay Republicans without talking to Gay Republicans

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:23 pm - April 22, 2008.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Media,Media Bias

Imagine, if you will, a piece on gay activists where the writer interviewed only Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Paul Cameron, Lou Sheldon and their associated social conservative ilk. Perhaps, such a thing has already been done. If it were, the mainstream media would have dismissed it (as well they should).

This week, through Log Cabin, we learned of a similar piece in Out magazine where the author contacts those opposed to the subject of his piece and one openly gay journalist. Let us hope the mainstream media treat this as they would a piece on gays featuring such anti-gay activists. For “reporter” Charles Kaiser is little different from a social conservative cheerleader for such divisive figures as Dobson, Sheldon and Cameron choosing only to interview figures antagonistic toward his subject.

Having read the piece, I am amazed at little its author actually knows about gay Republicans (kind of like Dobson and gay people). He devotes a good chunk of his article to Terry Dolan, the one-time head of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC) by day and supposedly notorious leather queen by night. Dolan died over two decades ago, just over six years before Log Cabin set up its national office in Washington and years before Republican Congressmen Jim Kolbe continued to win reelection in Arizona even after coming out as gay.

Given the fact that Dolan died when Reagan was president, you’d think he’d hold less interest to a reporter covering gay Republicans in 2008 than an openly gay Republican Congressman who chaired a House subcommittee in the current Bush Administration. But, Kolbe gets nary a mention in this article while Kaiser quotes a “Democratic political consultant” for an anecdote about Dolan.

That consultant wasn’t the only Democrat Kaiser contacted for his piece on gay Republicans. He also quotes openly gay Democratic Congressman Barney Frank.

To be sure, Kaiser doesn’t limit himself to talking to Democrats. He devotes the last quarter of his piece to comments from an interview with Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas, “a 27-year-old native of the Bay Area who came out in high school at 17.” Vargas told Kaiser “If you come out on the Hill and you’re a Republican, you lose power.” Yet, he fails to provide a single example.

Robert L. Traynham, Communications Director for then-Republican Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, kept his job when he was “outed” as gay. That’s just one of many examples of GOP staffers keeping their jobs even when their conservative bosses learn of their sexuality. Yes, there are a few examples of gay GOP staffers losing their jobs because of their sexuality, but they’re far more of such staffers keeping them in similar circumstances.

The real question is: why didn’t Kaiser talk to them? Why didn’t he track down the dismissed staffers? Or ask the gay GOP staffers about their situation? Or talk to any gay Republicans. Log Cabin even has a staffer,Communications Director Scott Tucker, whose job includes handling such queries. That writer could have just checked their website. Or done a google search to find gay Republicans, say “gay Republicans” blog.

So many ways today to find gay Republicans and talk to them, especially today with this thing they call the Internet. Or maybe Kaiser still focusing on the politics of the 1980s doesn’t know of modern means of information gathering.

It seems, however, he’s not really interested in learning what gay Republicans have to say. It might upset his current view of people like us. You see, literary gays don’t deign talk to Republicans, least of all gay ones. Even when they write about them. What else explains the portrayal of the gay Republican in The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green?

Or the character in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. When I read Kushner’s plays, I found the gay Republican unlike any human being I had actually met–and I’ve met a lot of gay Republicans, even a few I’d classify as hypocrites. Had Kushner bothered to talk to actual gay Republicans as he researched his “fantasia”? For fantasia it was in having a fantastic and inaccurate view of gay Republicans.

If these gay scribes were interested in an accurate portrayal of gay Republicans, they would talk to actual gay Republicans before writing about them. The best that Kaiser does is talk to a gay reporter who himself wrote about and even dated gay Republicans.

For these leftist scribes, their narrative is more important than the facts. The very opening blurb of Kaiser’s piece tips us off to their narrative on gay Republicans: “exposing an ancient hypocrisy at the heart of the GOP.” So fascinated are they by some ancient legend, they neglect present-day reality.

Alas that for all too many members of our community, the gay media narrative passes for actual reporting. No wonder so many gay people have such a negative view of gay Republicans. Kudos to Log Cabin and Chris Crain for challenging that.

- B. Daniel Blatt

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13 Comments

  1. I wrote the author of the piece the following email. The full extent of his response was to quibble with my reading of the 2006 exit polls:

    I was appalled to read the one-dimensional and shopworn portrayal of gay Republicans in your story “Washington’s Gay War,” which I learned about via Chris Crain’s blog. The stereotypes you have perpetuated with this damaging piece are better suited to 1908 than they are to 2008.

    I’ve been living in D.C. and active in both political and gay-community circles since 1995, and the Washington you describe is not the Washington I know. The Washington I know is one in which voters and political operatives of all stripes live in various states of “out-ness” or “closeted-ness.”

    I am laboring under no delusions about which party is generally more friendly to “gay issues,” at least insofar as they are defined by liberals, but by the same token, the Democrats’ actual legislative track record on these issues belies the lip service they have given the gay community for decades, while greedily grabbing our dollars. Your casual black-hat-and-white-hat treatment of the subject is devoid of any nuance and serves no discernible purpose beyond stoking the divisiveness that is already endemic within gay ranks.

    Like virtually every other mainstream media outlet, you parrot partisan bloggers who don’t bother to give a moment’s thought to the potential negative consequences of outing gay Republican staffers. I have seen firsthand how the voting records and policies of social conservatives can be nudged, even if only slightly, in the direction of greater dignity and equality for gay people. But again, that level of nuance seems to evade your capacity: It’s far easier to drive a tired meme into the ground than it is to inject new and original thought into the public discourse.

    It is also amazing how you are able to lay all of the peccadilloes of gay politicians at the feet of Republicans while ignoring past scandals involving Democrats like your beloved Barney Frank, Gerry Studds and others. Statements like “everyone agrees that the Foley scandal was a key element in the Democrats’ success in retaking both houses of Congress” in 2006 are just so much partisan hackery and shoddy journalism. Everyone? Really? Most exit polls I am aware of place the blame for the 2006 GOP implosion on voter dissatisfaction with progress in the Iraq war and the fact that Republicans had “gone native,” spending like drunken sailors and cozying up to corrupt lobbyists. The Mark Foley issue was barely a sideshow in that broader context. (Before you fob off my criticism as armchair quarterbacking, I got my journalism degree with honors at Northwestern University. Where did you get yours?)

    Maybe your most delicious editorial decision of all was to quote a gay reporter whose entire frame of reference appears to have been gained in two of the most liberal cities in the universe. Many of my gay friends in “flyover country” (I grew up in Minnesota and Wyoming) are insulted by this special brand of naked elitism on the part of the “egalitarian” Democrats. If a reporter were expressing similarly biased but conservative views at a major daily newspaper, I would expect for him to be fired immediately.

    Perhaps if you had deigned to speak to an actual gay Republican for your article rather than ignoring us or rehashing the work of other reporters, you might have learned why some of us choose to vote the way we do, even in spite of the panoply of supposed offenses you cite. If your next article requires a relatively prominent, successful and proud gay man who votes mostly for Republicans and who is not “cowering” anywhere, my personal cell number is 202-XXX-XXXX.

    I almost wish that I still subscribed to your pathetic rag, just so I could cancel my subscription.

    Comment by Matt — April 22, 2008 @ 11:38 pm - April 22, 2008

  2. Talk about wandering in vain of a cogent thought. This piece is all over the place. And what’s with the textual rim job of that Mr. Vargas. He ranked, at best, a few sentences but wound up with half of the last page about him and his prejudices.

    And I thought this comment from Art in SF was freaking hilarious:

    You should only get the same rights that your political party would give you.

    Sweet Jesus! How ignorant can you get? The “rights” that liberals give us is what they piss and moan about the most. Gotta dump more money and votes on ‘em though, ’cause they use their tongues purtier than a $20 whore.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 22, 2008 @ 11:41 pm - April 22, 2008

  3. Again, I do not understand why ANYONE with at least a brain cell can be a Democrat, let alone a liberal-socialist. I blame the so-called public education system for this breakdown. One thing that they do not teach is logic. For if they did, it would get in the way of the socialist agenda. I also think that to those in the left-wing and gay/lesbian lefties, there can not really be conservative and -horrors-GAY/LESBIAN Republicans! I kid you not. But, this blog and people like Al Rantel on KABC radio in Los Angeles prove that there are conservative, gay/lesbian Republicans. And, I for one, welcome that and want more. Even when we do not agree on an issue, we can do so in a rational, civilized manner. To bad the other side can not do the same.

    Comment by Mark J. Goluskin — April 23, 2008 @ 12:17 am - April 23, 2008

  4. GPW,

    Did you write to “reporter” Charles Kaiser or to the editors of Out Magazine to voice your complaints?

    I doubt it would do much good; after all you did mention that traitor to all things homosexual, Robert L. Traynham. The folks at Out probably think you deserve to be struck by lightening just for using his name! Still they deserve a piece of your mind and you might enjoy giving it to them. :)

    So many ways today to find gay Republicans and talk to them, especially today with this thing they call the Internet. Or maybe Kaiser still focusing on the politics of the 1980s doesn’t know of modern means of information gathering.

    Given the obvious stupidity of his piece, I’d be surprised to learn the man knows how to type.

    It seems, however, he’s not really interested in learning what gay Republicans have to say.

    Which simply means he’s a typical gay Democrat.

    For these leftist scribes, their narrative is more important than the facts.

    This is true of all leftists regardless of their profession.

    Matt wrote to Mr. Kaiser:

    I got my journalism degree with honors at Northwestern University. Where did you get yours?

    Hmmm. A box of Cracker Jacks?

    Comment by David — April 23, 2008 @ 2:24 am - April 23, 2008

  5. #4
    I tried to write them, but the contact us page kept coming up blank.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 23, 2008 @ 4:48 am - April 23, 2008

  6. Great post, and excellent letter Matt.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 23, 2008 @ 7:52 am - April 23, 2008

  7. Dan, Dan, Dan…how many times do I have to tell you. You aren’t going to get real news coverage from the glossy rags. Just not going to happen. You really do have to start reading better news sources on gay issues than the Advocate or Out. Those are upscale lifestyle magazines aimed at gays that advertisers want to sell expensive products to (which, if you don’t know but you should, is what media content with advertising exists for anyway…it’s just a marketing platform. If there’s actually anything you didn’t already know in there it’s just incidental. It’s mostly fluff to make you feel good and entertain you while you flip past the ads that pay for the damn thing.)

    I haven’t read Out in years. I thumb through a copy every now and then and remember why I don’t bother. The same for the Advocate.

    But yes, it is shoddy to write an article on a subject without talking to anyone with up-to-date first hand knowledge. But what else is new. this is the lazy media. The same ones who can’t figure out anything until it lands in their laps (and even then it helps if it was already written in press release form).

    Basically any time I read a story or article about a subject I know in great detail I’m appalled. This sucks but this is the modern media. Lazy, overpaid and dumbed down.

    Comment by Houndentenor — April 23, 2008 @ 1:32 pm - April 23, 2008

  8. A thoughtful response to the unthinking, Matt.

    Comment by Tom — April 23, 2008 @ 10:21 pm - April 23, 2008

  9. I hate to underscore this, but I’m completely baffled how ANY media publication would allow an article that directly interviewed and quoted sources favorable to the author’s position — all liberal Democrats — and yet, the paltry quotes he did use from people like Patrick Sammon were LIFTED from other media sources.

    If the FCC can license broadcast stations and pull their licenses on a whim, I don’t see why the same shouldn’t happen for such journalistic malpractice in print form.

    If I ran a publication, even if it was overtly right- or left-leaning, I would feel ashamed as a journalist to publish such a piece as news rather than editorial/commentary.

    I guess that’s why the Newseum devotes less than one-third of the space to journalistic ethics as it does to its gift shop.

    Comment by Matt — April 24, 2008 @ 1:54 pm - April 24, 2008

  10. [...] working on a piece expanding on this post for Pajamas, I chanced upon Charles Kaiser’s response to a raft of e-mails faulting him for [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » “Out” Author Remains Clueless About Gay Republicans — April 29, 2008 @ 3:24 am - April 29, 2008

  11. [...] Bob Ney. This would be fine if he were offering commentary (as one of my readers noted in commenting to my original Gay Patriot piece on the [...]

    Pingback by Pajamas Media » Washington’s One-Sided Gay War — July 2, 2008 @ 2:35 am - July 2, 2008

  12. We are under attack. I am fed up. The left wing is so vile and then they wonder why intelligent gays/lesbians do not support them.

    Please go to this site and defend Gay republicans. Because they are getting away with atrocities.

    http://www.pnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?plckForumPage=ForumCategories&category=PluckForum#

    Comment by Kim — July 3, 2008 @ 5:26 pm - July 3, 2008

  13. You should out the gays at GOPAC. There ain’t a married guy in the bunch!!

    Comment by John Carr — December 2, 2008 @ 1:31 am - December 2, 2008

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