Media Matters

Ezra Klein’s Thought Crime

A liberal offends the Left’s gay commissars.

By 3.18.14

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Andrew Sullivan has denounced as a “rhetorical lynch mob” the criticism of liberal pundit Ezra Klein for hiring a controversial young writer at Klein’s new project Vox.com. The left-wing thought police at Media Matters for America attacked 23-year-old Brandon Ambrosino as “a gay man who has made a name for himself by suggesting that being gay is a choice and whitewashing anti-gay bigotry and discrimination.”

Without regard to the substance of the controversy, the reaction by liberals was instructive. Headlines like “Hipster Homophobia: Ezra Klein’s Vox hires Falwell-loving gay-bashing ‘gay’” (John Aravosis), “Ezra Klein’s Queer New Hire” (American Prospect) and “Vox’s Unbelievably Terrible New Hire” (Slate) signaled the consensus that no one may be employed by a liberal or “mainstream” news organization if they do not toe the Official Gay Movement’s party line. As Sullivan said, “Judging from the reaction, you might have thought Ezra had hired Rick Santorum.”

Keep this in mind the next time someone tells you that media bias is irrelevant. Defenders of the liberal media establishment sometimes argue that it is inconsequential for 80-plus percent of journalists to vote Democrat, because the opinions of editors and reporters don’t influence coverage. And yet here you have gay activists claiming that Ezra Klein cannot be allowed to hire a gay writer who doesn’t have the “correct” opinions about homosexuality.

A totalitarian ethos is steadily making headway in the news business. Journalists are constantly scrutinized by self-appointed gauleiters and commissars. Organizations like GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) monitor reporting on gay issues, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) keeps watch over coverage of race relations, and the National Organization for Women (NOW) is eternally vigilant for eruptions of sexism in America’s newsrooms.

It is therefore highly instructive that the witch-hunters have indicted Ambrosino for the politically correct heresy of “suggesting that being gay is a choice.” The Official Gay Movement, eager to obtain protected civil rights status for homosexuals, has committed itself to the idea that sexual preference is congenital.

This “born that way” argument rests on sophistry and a few pieces of dubious scientific research. The gay commissars are eager to suppress skepticism about this theory of congenital orientation, obviously fearful that facts and logic are not on their side. Unlike race, homosexuality is a behavioral phenomenon. While we may observe that certain tendencies seem to be inborn -- or at least manifest themselves as distinctive traits at an early age -- it does not follow from this observation that persons with such tendencies are helpless to resist their same-sex attractions. Yet the genetics-as-destiny argument prevails on the gay-rights front, even while the same progressives who insist on the “born that way” explanation of homosexuality become enraged by anyone who uses heredity to explain racial differences (ask Charles Murray), or who says that men and women are different in important ways because of “innate” traits (ask Larry Summers).

Radical egalitarian ideologies, with their collectivist conceptions of identity-group rights, demand a conformity of opinion that makes a mockery of liberal chatter about “diversity.” And yet many of our nation’s journalists are eager to cooperate with the thought police, to banish dissenters from the news business, so that the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press becomes irrelevant. What is the point of a free press, if only the “correct” opinions may be published?

As a conservative who agrees with neither Ezra Klein nor Andrew Sullivan on most issues, I’m nevertheless happy to see them fighting the autocratic forces of the Official Gay Movement. And if Brandon Ambrosino needs an interesting topic for his first feature at Vox.com, let me suggest Lindsay Lohan. The redheaded former Disney starlet spent the years 2008-2009 in a lesbian relationship with nightclub deejay Samantha Ronson, but has more recently made headlines for a list of her male lovers -- including Zac Efron, Adam Levine, and Justin Timberlake -- that was obtained by a celebrity tabloid.

Does Lohan’s unusual example suffice to refute the case for congenital homosexuality? Or does it simply confirm stereotypes of redheads as sexually insatiable? Klein should send Ambrosino to Hollywood to investigate these important issues, but beware: Lindsay Lohan might decide to add Ambrosino to her notorious list, and thus destroy the “born that way” theory forever.

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About the Author

Robert Stacy McCain is co-author (with Lynn Vincent) of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party (Nelson Current). He blogs at The Other McCain.