It was a perfectly absurd moment. Patrick Guerriero, the new head of the gay-left Log Cabin Republicans, sat on a sedate, Saturday morning C-SPAN set and declared it was a shame that Sen. Rick Santorum distracted us all from the Iraq war with his hurtful comments on homosexuality.
This was not just absurd because the Log Cabin Republicans did everything but throw balloons of blood at Santorum to get the story humming -- in alliance with the Human Rights Campaign and other gay-left intimidators. It was absurd because the biggest promoter of the Santorum story was the socially liberal Associated Press (AP).
AP spent a week promoting this fraction of Santorum's interview: "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery." AP hyped this comparison by adding the word "gay" between "consensual" and "sex."
Santorum's point was philosophical and legal: Do we want an absolutely unlimited right to privacy? That's where we could be headed with the Texas sodomy case now before the Court.
The absurdity began as the interview was twisted beyond recognition. What better outlet for that than AP? Remember their track record. In the fall of 1998, AP made an obscure murder victim in Laramie, Wyo., a household name, turning the brutal killing of homosexual Matthew Shepard into grist for a countless series of editorials, books, plays and TV "docudramas." A year later, AP shamelessly avoided national coverage of the murder of a 13-year-old Arkansas boy, Jesse Dirkhising. He died from suffocation after being bound, gagged with underwear in his mouth, blindfolded, taped to the bed and sodomized by one gay man while another gay man watched. AP inspired no books, no plays, no movies on this largely anonymous young victim.
Now Santorum has run into the AP's anti-"homophobe" buzzsaw. Supporters pointed out that the reporter who plucked the "intolerant" remarks out of an hour-long interview was Lara Jakes Jordan, the wife of Jim Jordan, who recently headed the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and now runs John Kerry's presidential campaign. Isn't that noteworthy? Journalists whined this was "blaming the messenger," and lamented cries of bias based on the mere whisper of marital associations.
But look at the story, and how this allegedly objective wire service promoted it like they were selling sunscreen at spring break. You could call the week of April 20 Santorum Resignation Week at AP.
1. The first story was "Family Values Drive Santorum's Politics," a chance for Mrs. Jordan to explain how the senator's beliefs are at odds with the Constitution. She summarized his view: "Homosexuality, feminism, liberalism all undermine the family. Even parts of the Constitution can harm the family." Note the utterly untrue liberal assumption that the Constitution presently insures the right to sodomy.
2. Unsurprisingly, the next day's campaign led with "Gay Groups Urge GOP To Remove Santorum." Mrs. Jordan began by explaining the gay lobby was "fuming over Sen. Rick Santorum's comparison of homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery."
3. On the third day, AP really pressed the accelerator on the story. "Santorum Seeks to Clarify Remarks on Gays," read the inaccurate headline. Santorum did not seek to clarify, saying: "I can't deny that's how I feel."
4. AP also reported "Dems Call for Santorum to Resign Post." This story didn't have Mrs. Jordan's byline -- or anyone else's -- but it did have suspicious fingerprints, because the DSCC, Mr. Jordan's old office, was leading the resignation parade. Several paragraphs later, Mr. Jordan's new office kicked in. "Separately ... John Kerry issued a statement."
5. AP also released a transcript of the gay-related section of the interview, so all of Washington could pick up on the story and presumably be horrified at Santorum's traditionalism.
6. It got increasingly desperate on Day Four: "Dean Calls for Santorum to Resign Post." Far-left presidential candidate Howard Dean, Vermont's guru of gay marriage, objected? How newsworthy.
7. Day Five was pure giggles: "Utah Sect Leader Criticizes Santorum." An 89-year-old polygamist from Utah was Pundit For A Day to keep the story going. This was news?
8. In case Howard Dean wasn't earth-shattering enough, AP added "Chafee Chides Santorum for Gay Remarks." Liberal Lincoln, a Log Cabin Republican supporter, criticizing Santorum? Shocking.
9. Finally, on Day Six, one pro-Santorum headline: "Bush Praises Santorum As 'Inclusive Man.'" Note this was the AP campaign's first use of quotation marks in a headline.
10. On the seventh day, the story expired, with "Sen. Santorum Seen Likely Surviving Flap." That's clearly not the outcome the AP's Washington flap manufacturers wanted. But it died because no one outside AP and the radical left wanted to see Santorum get sacked.