Thursday, May 21, 2009

OK to "out" allegedly homosexual politicians?

There seems to be a bit of a furore about an NPR review of a TV "documentary" which aims to expose various GOP politicians as secretly homosexual. NPR cut out of the review all mention of the more weakly substantiated claims in the film and that has provoked much criticism from the Left -- who claim it as a breach of free speech etc. See a summary of the matter by computer industry groupie Robert X Cringely.

I don't see that the Left have any reasonable cause for complaint, however. What Cringely and his ilk seem not to see is that NPR was obviously just protecting itself against lawsuits. Any politician identified as a homosexual who turned out not to be one could obviously sue for a very large sum in damages over the defamation. I don't think any court (except perhaps the 9th Circus) could have failed to find that a false allegation of homosexuality would be very damaging to a conservative politician.

The movie maker probably has too few assets to be worth suing but NPR is a different proposition. As we know, it seems these days that you don't sue the guy who actually did the harm but rather someone who is somehow connected to him. And NPR just didn't want to get involved.

Posted by John Ray.

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