(Background for this post here.)
Here's the credit where it's due part: Powerline issued one of those non-correction corrections over at their site about the Ann Coulter column business. Here is it in its entirety:
The other day, I linked to a column by Ann Coulter in which she said that, several weeks ago "the New York Times turned over half of its op-ed page to outing gays with some connection to Republicans." Several readers have told me that the New York Times did not "out" the gays in question (like Coulter I'm not going to compound the offense by naming names) because they were already "out" -- that is, the fact that they are gay was no longer a secret. One reader has asked us to make a formal correction.
Dictionary.com defines "out" when used as a verb as follows: "To be disclosed or revealed; come out: Truth will out." I would argue that when the New York Times publicizes the fact that a private citizen, of whom few people have heard, is gay, it is "disclosing" or "revealing" that fact to its readers, a mass audience. If the verb "out" has a more technical meaning when it comes to gays, then maybe another verb is more appropriate. I don't think the matter is worth arguing about. Either way, what the Times did is deplorable.
But as you can see, this is not a correction at all. They're still wrong, and they don't want to admit it. And in trying to look less wrong, they end up being more wrong. Couple of things:
They're cherry-picking their definitions. You may recall that the definition I emailed to them was Merriam Webster's (click on "out[2,verb]:
2 : to identify publicly as being such secretly <wanted to out pot smokers>; especially : to identify as being a closet homosexual
intransitive senses : to become publicly known <the truth will out>
Which, as you can see, specifically references the sexual sense. The Oxford English Dictionary (you need a subscription or a University Library), the most thorough that I know, is slightly more specific:
In which the word "undeclared" part is interesting. And Powerline, instead of using the definition that I sent them, finds the dictionary.com definition, which is both the shortest and the least detailed.
Think that's pretty amazing? That they'd cherry-pick their definitions to look less wrong than they are? Well, it gets worse.
My guess is the real reason they won't "name names," as they say, is that naming them would show how wrong they are. In the case of Maya Keyes (Alan's daughter), she outed herself at a gay rights rally. Which is to say, she certainly intended her statement to be a public one, and one specifically in support of gay rights.
As for Jamiel Terry, described on the GLAAD website as an "activist" and "a sought after speaker and writer on the issue of gay rights," if there was any secret there, surely he wouldn't have
given this interview written this piece, subtitled Jamiel Terry talks about why he came out in print and growing up the gay son of Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry. You will no doubt be pleased to know that that interview piece originally ran in, yes, I'm afraid so, OUT Magazine.
-- I'm sorry, Michael, what was that magazine called again?
-- You heard right. OUT Magazine.
As for Mary Cheney, referred to (but not by name) in passing in the original piece, well, we all know about that.
As for Candace Gingrich, Newt's sister, as I've said before, she was outed by her mother. Now working for Human Rights Campaign, Candace's bio on that site says:
Since 1995, Candace Gingrich has served as a key advocate for issues of importance to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Her 1996 autobiography, The Accidental Activist, was a best seller in the gay and lesbian community.
All of which is to say that though these figures are "private citizens," they've all also spoken out publicly about their sexuality, and have to done so in support of a gay rights agenda. I can't say for sure, but my guess is that if they thought that Dan Savage's column would advance their work, they'd be very happy to be mentioned in it. Just a guess.
(Technical note: I tried to send a trackback to Powerline's post, but their trackback thing doesn't seem to be working.)