As promised this morning, we had another chat with J. Jennings Moss, the reporter whose Foley piece was unceremoniously yanked from the ABC website. Due to some technical complications, we emailed him a few questions. In our previous exchange, Moss kept his lips sealed over why ABC pulled the piece, and when asked if he’d given it any further thought, he told us to call ABC News ourselves. So, we did just that. We left a message and, as of yet, no one’s gotten back to us. Bastards.
Considering Foley’s explicit chats with minors, we asked Moss whether or not he thought Foley should go to jail, to which Moss – who guards his journalistic integrity like a pro – replied:
Foley certainly has opened himself up to being the subject of a criminal investigation and possible prosecution. Given the politial climate, I’m sure whoever prosecutes this case will go after him in very public and forceful way. There’s a good chance Foley will see jail time. Foley certainly has opened himself up to being the subject of a criminal investigation and possible prosecution. There’s a good chance Foley will see jail time.
There’s no doubt in our minds that the potential prosecution will play out in all forms of media, but we can’t help but wonder whether or not his taste for young men will help bolster right-wing myths linking homosexuality and pedophilia. On this, Moss reflects our thinking, writing, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see strict social conservatives try to make that link in this context.”
It seems to us, however, that if said conservatives were to make such an argument, they’d be shooting themselves in the foot not once, but twice. First there’s the matter of Foley’s alleged molestation at the hands of clergyman: a touchy subject for conservatives who call rightist religious congregations their power base. Then there’s also the issue that, no matter what Bill O’Reilly wants you to believe, Foley’s a registered Republican. Sure, he was more moderate than right leaning, but he still worked for the party to which most social conservatives belong. Sticky doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Airing Foley’s dirty laundry also raises the issue of outing public figures. We asked Moss to elaborate on his thoughts on whether public figures have a right to privacy. Echoing a sentiment that’s raged since even before the great marriage debate, Moss says:
Politicians and people in the public spotlight do have a right to a degree of privacy about their lives. But when lawmakers start getting into the business of defining marriage and family, then their own personal definition family is fair game.
While some homo-journos took aim at Foley for his stance on gay marriage, it seems now that people will never be able to speak of him again without referencing his homosexuality. (God know we won’t.) We asked Moss to expand on last night’s comments regarding the media and homosexuality, to which he replied:
When it comes right down to it, a lot of people don’t like to talk about homosexuality. You see it all the time, from the family member who won’t ask you who you’re dating because they know you’re gay and really don’t want to be made uncomfortable by the answer.
While we agree that a lot of people don’t want to talk about homosexuality, we’re not exactly sure if one can equate a closeted individual to the mainstream media. We tend to lean more toward Moss’ previous reply, “â€¦reporters think that when you talk about homosexuality you talk about sexâ€¦” And, you know, when people think about gay men, they think about how they have butt sex, and when they think of butt sex, they think of poop, and then they think, “Gross, people put their dicks in their? Let’s not talk about it.”
If ABC ever gets back to us, we’ll let you know. But, we’re not holding our breath.
Related: ABC.com Pulls Foley Story