A New York Times article portrayed Donald Trump as possibly a bit pro-gay, or at least not as antigay as other GOP candidates, and the HuffPo’s Michelangelo Signorile is frothing mad.
It all started with veteran reporter Maggie Haberman’s piece “Donald Trump’s More Accepting Views on Gay Issues Set Him Apart in G.O.P.,” an article that is, quite frankly, full of more anecdotal evidence of Trump’s alleged gay-friendliness than any kind of real facts about the matter.
Hey, he appeared in a skit featuring Rudy Giuliani in drag! He wants Caitlyn Jenner to use any Trump Tower bathroom she pleases!
The reporter’s audacity to suggest that Trump is anything but the most virulent homophobe to ever run for office rubbed Huffpost Queer Voices Editor-at-Large Signorile the wrong way:
Trump articulates that gay and lesbian people should be treated as second class citizens with regard to their relationships, and has made a pact with our vilest long-time enemies, getting the backing of Jerry Falwell, Jr. There really is no other way to put it: We are not equal to Donald Trump.
I would hope that in 1968, a year after the Supreme Court ruled that states couldn’t ban interracial marriage, that a New York Times reporter would have objectively described a politician opposed to the ruling as a racist, or at the very least wouldn’t write an entire article telling us why that politician is “far more accepting” of blacks than other politicians because said politician happens to have had a a lot of black friends. After all, with both of them opposed to marriage equality, saying that Donald Trump is “far more accepting” on gay issues than Ted Cruz is like telling us that Barry Goldwater was far more accepting of blacks than Strom Thurmond.
Yes, that is the sound of a white gay guy comparing (apparently all white) gays to blacks in his first few paragraphs to make a lazy point, a point which is based on nothing but pure speculation, by the way. Sigh.
And so the indignation continues:
Gay commentators and pundits weren’t having it either, with veteran journalist Kerry Eleveld rightly criticizing Haberman’s piece at Daily Kos, as did J. Brian Lowder at Slate. More telling was the silence from gay pundits and reporters who inhabit — or aspire to inhabit — the New York/Washington media in-crowd that Haberman inhabits. I didn’t even notice any of them tweet her piece.
Haberman is a seasoned, smart journalist with a stellar reputation, and that makes her story — and her “he’s complicated” rationale for writing it — all the more baffling. One could write the same story about Trump on any issue, after all, because he’s been all over the place on everything, and one could choose positions and statements to selectively highlight while downplaying or omitting other positions or statements.
Well, as long as other gay commentators and pundits weren’t having it, either. You can find the rest of Signorile’s piece here, but to us, it seems like reporter-policing gone mad. The assumption that readers (of the New York Times, no less) aren’t intelligent enough to fill in the holes of a fairly interesting article is an unfair one. (Queerty actually ran a similar but better nuanced post on Trump: Five Times You Totally Hated Yourself For Agreeing With The Awful Donald Trump.)
With all the media sources out there, we could use more thoughtful analysis and less shrill nagging. For the former, read the Times piece here.
For the latter…well you can just about guess where we’ll send you.