Why Did Huffington Post Kill Its “Rick Perry Is Gay” Story?

Remember how we told you Glen Maxey—the first openly gay member of the Texas Legislature—wrote a book asserting that Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is a big homo? And how Maxey was working with a reporter from a  “national news oulet” to drag all of Perry’s assorted skeletons out of the closet?

Well, Politico says that the outlet was none other than the Huffington Post, and that the reporter, Jason Cherkis, was pulled off the story, leaving Maxey to complete the piece himself and self-publish it on Amazon.

HuffPo honcho Arianna Huffington said she ended up axing the story because “there was no there there.” She also said that her decision to kill the story had nothing to do with the fact that the Perry campaign had hired high-powered attack-dog lawyer Lin Wood to yell at news outlets who threatened to run unfavorable stories.

“We looked at what we had; we realized that it was not a publishable story, and it was over,” she said. “The story was already killed before we got the letter from Lin Wood. I never even read the letter.” She added: “If we feel good about a story or stories, we run them, no matter what the legal threat. That’s not an issue. We have a great legal department and have no problem taking on legal challenges.”

The Perry campaign allegedly hired Wood after hearing Cherkis was digging up dirt on some of those pesky gay rumors.

Ray Sullivan, a Perry spokesman, told Politico that the governor’s team decided to hire Wood in August when “we got wind that” Huffington Post—which he described dismissively as “a liberal Web-based media outlet”— “seemed intent on quickly writing lies about the governor, and we were concerned about the speed at which those lies could be published online.”

So will Wood orchestrate a lawsuit against Maxey, since he went ahead and published the story on his own? Or is that too small a bull to rope?

Photo via Gage Skidmore