Sunday, October 15, 2006

Studdly Ledes

You'd never know what a charming fellow Rep. Gary Studds was from the ledes of his obits in the NYTimes and WaPo. Both proclaim him as the "first openly gay" member of Congress - like he was of beacon in the darkness. The fact is that - as WaPo mentions in graf 3 and the NYT in graf 5 - Studds only revealed his sexual orientation because he was caught diddling a page.

That should have been the lede, and the AP had the good sense to make it the lede. The WaPo and the Times are guilty of excessive politeness. New England fishermen may remember Studds as a great advocate, although visions of a yellow-slickered member of the Village People come to my mind when I think of it. But for the rest of America, it will be his getting caught in flangrante that defines his legacy. He should have been a felon, but instead the Times and WaPo make him into some kind of pioneer.

At least the Times has the integrity to mention the Foley affair, which marked the first time anybody in Washington even noticed Studds was gone.


Gerry E. Studds, the first openly gay member of Congress and a demanding advocate for New England fishermen and for gay rights, died early Saturday at Boston University Medical Center, his husband said.

Former U.S. Representative Gerry Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, died early Saturday at 69.

The cause was a vascular illness that led Mr. Studds to collapse while walking his dog on Oct. 3 in Boston. He was 69.

1 comment:

Alana Baranick said...

Don't you just love it when the deceased's story can be tied to something that's in the news?