Matt Drudge really hasn't distinguished himself this week. When you say the IMs were "a prank," it sounds like someone put them together as a joke, and that Foley didn't actually participate. Of course that's not at all what happened. Read the story, and all it says is that the page who was IM'ing with Foley wasn't actually gay, and was playing along with Foley's sick game just to laugh at the old perv. That really doesn't change anything important about the story-- but if you just read Drudge's headline, you might think that the whole scandal was a hoax. Let's nip this one before it confuses people as much as Drudge's last bit of reporting did.
The Spectacle Blog
Whether or not the page was 18 or 17, while obviously important for legal reasons, does not change anything ethically. As far as I'm concerned, Foley's actions were disgusting because they were about abusing power and taking advantage of his position as a congressman.
Be careful of making too much of Drudge's reporting today. One of the lurid IM exchanges took place after the page was over 18. But another one clearly didn't (there is, in fact, a line where the page warns Foley that he's not 18 yet, and Foley responds that he's "just dreaming"). As NewsBusters notes, ABC has changed the wording of its story to reflect this (it now says the IMs that it has were with "two different boys who began their exchanges with Foley at the age of 16 and 17, and continued through the age of 18").
Since Glenn Reynolds seems to think that Drudge's story says all of the IMs took place when the page was 18, I guess this needs clarifying. (UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Glenn's already amended that post.)
The AP reports:
— The United States passed a warning to WASHINGTON not to conduct a nuclear test, the chief North Korea envoy to stalled disarmament talks with the communist country said Wednesday. "We are not going to live with a nuclear U.S. ," he said. North Korea
Boy, that's a huge relief. I was under the mistaken impression that we were living with a nuclear North Korea.
Jonah Goldberg has a long, must-read post putting the Foley matter into perspective. The insight that Americans, gays included, have moved significantly to the right strikes me as especially important. I would take it further and say that shifting attitudes about homosexuality have civilized homosexuals. The prevailing attitude when Gerry Studds was elected was that, whether you thought homosexuals should be shunned or accepted, homosexuality was entirely different from heterosexuality and would naturally operated under a seperate set of rules. The acceptance in gay culture of "man-boy love" would seem to fit well into that paradigm, which helps explain the thinking of old-school gay activists like Harry Hay. These were the people who thought closing the bathhouses in response to the AIDS epidemic was somehow a step backward for gays.
As a homeschooling father, this paragraph from Cal Thomas's column today on the Amish killings resonated with me: