Last night, I had planned a followup post on the Sheriff Babeu hullabaloo quite different from the one I am about to write. I changed my mind when most of the stories I tracked down boiled down to “he said/he said” versions of events; I did not want to delve into the man’s private life.
So, instead, I’ll wonder at the media coverage of the matter.
To that end, I was greatly helped by reader Peter Hughes who e-mailed me a link to this post critiquing Don Lemon’s commentary on the matter. Despite his political angle, the late-coming out CNN anchor got a few things right in his attempt to use the story against the GOP. He, for example, pointed out that the Sheriff “has never denied being gay, or to our knowledge has he ever pushed for anti-gay measures.”
And, to be fair, he reminds us that “there are Democrats like Jim McGreevey who were pushed out of the closet.”
McGreevey, as you will recall, stayed on as Governor of New Jersey even after acknowledging using his position to promote a young man he was interested in romancing. Not long thereafter, he emerged on the cover of the Advocate, a new hero to our friends in the gay media. He received a largely sympathetic treatment, with many worrying about the struggles a gay politico has to face.
It’s too bad Lemon only referenced McGreevey in an aside; he could have performed a real service by comparing the media treatment of McGreevey to that of Babeu. The men are in similar situations–though the evidence of the Democrat’s wrongdoing was far more clear cut.
Our friends in the media did give the Democrat a benefit of the doubt — a benefit they don’t seem to be offering to Sheriff Babeu.
ADDENDUM: There is an error in the article linked. Colorado Congressman Jared Polis is a Democrat, not a Republican. And they left one openly gay Democratic Congressman, Rhode Island’s David Ciciline.