News Squint

September 5, 2007


All the news coverage about Senator Craig of Idaho and his alleged bathroom habits demonstrated very well how news coverage can be slanted to prove things that aren't so.

Just about any news story these days that gets universal media play demonstrates some political agenda point. The recent coverage of Senator Craig and his arrest in Minneapolis is no exception. Interestingly, what you get from the media coverage is not a clear message about the failings and foibles of the powerful, but rather the clear supposition that gay = lewd.

This absurd generalization is no more correct than the stipulation that all Republicans are stupid. The subtext is that all gay people, especially gay men, are perverted individuals who prey on the innocent by engaging in bizarre, dangerous, icky behaviors, therefore being gay is necessarily as disgusting as rape or pedophilia.

Most gay people meet and date their partners much as heterosexual people do. They don't typically engage in any peculiar or harmful behavior. That some do so is an irrelevant detail; some heterosexuals do, too. Just because most pedophiles are heterosexuals does not translate into a conclusion that all heterosexuals are dangerous predators.

It is interesting that, when charged with a crime that most people feel pretty squeamish about, the Senator made an absurd, impassioned speech about how he is not, nor has he every been gay. He probably isn't a Buddhist either. Why does no one in the media comment about the fact that this man is clouding the issue by denying something that isn't a crime, while remaining silent about what he did that is a crime? This plays like a Carl Rove. His usual tactic, when faced with something awful that was done, is to spin it into an irrelevant but seemingly related area, which coincidentally gets across some Republican party message they do want in the media. From Senator commits crime <SPIN> Gay is bad.

The right has always done this. Paying too much taxes? Unwed welfare mothers cheat to get more benefits than they're entitled to. Economy forcing more and more people into poverty? Police are catching and jailing more and more criminals. The government perpetrating illegal surveillance on innocent citizens? Homeland Security is keeping us safe. The same old shell game. The same old lies.

Even if being gay were a bad thing, it is irrelevant to whether this Senator committed a crime, his not being gay would not exonerate him, nor would it be pertinent to his guilt or innocence in commission of a criminal act. What is more pertinent is the Senator expecting that his business card, identifying him as a US Senator, would act as a "get out of jail free" card. It sounds as if hubris has claimed another victim.

Valid XHTML 1.0 TransitionalCreative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.