The WaPo Responds

More

It was Len Downie who kept the sexual orientation of a fallen American military hero quiet, despite many in the WaPo newsroom who opposed the well-meant if still homophobic decision. Why homophobic? Because it perpetuates the notion that there is something shameful about being gay. There is no privacy concern here because a dead person cannot have his privacy invaded any more than he can be "libeled." But the very context of the analogy to libel reveals the mindset behind Downie's sadly retrograde "sensitivity". Yes,
Ombudsman Deborah Howell rightly noted:

The Post story would have made any soldier proud. It quoted his commanding officer: "As God would have it . . . he shielded two men who probably would have been killed if Alan had not been there." Rogers was "an exceptional, brilliant person -- just well-spoken and instantly could relate to anyone."

More critical evidence of the insanity and bigotry of the military's policy, a policy that Rogers was an activist in overturning. His relatives' views are immaterial - many relatives of gay people want to keep their loved ones closeted. But the job of a newspaper is not to perpetuate a family's closet. Howell ultimately agreed:

The Post was right to be cautious, but there was enough evidence -- particularly of Rogers's feelings about "don't ask, don't tell" -- to warrant quoting his friends and adding that dimension to the story of his life. The story would have been richer for it.

And it would have been true, rather than a lie. How many dead heterosexuals have their oprientation concealed to protect their "privacy"? Please. Good for Howell.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down