It's hard to keep up with what the media and the left deem acceptable. Seems like just last year Anderson Cooper publicly took offense at a line from a movie. Come to think of it, it was just last year that the CNN anchor found "That's so gay," upsetting to his perfectly honed PC sensibilities.
Fast forward a year. Many people are accusing two currently prominent figures of being gay. But don't hold your breath waiting for indignant coverage from Cooper and the rest of the media, because it's liberals leveling the charge against conservatives.
Take, for example, Marcus Bachmann, husband of GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.). The Bachmanns have been married more than 30 years, and have five children. Mr. Bachmann runs a clinic that offers Christian counseling to people struggling with 'unwanted' homosexual feelings - derisively termed 'praying away the gay' by liberals.
So Bachmann must be … gay? While it might not be a surprising assertion in some far left quarters, like Mother Jones or TalkingPointsMemo, the rumor has gained currency in more "mainstream" outlets. According to Slate's William Saletan, the notion "started as a subtle joke among bloggers. Then it progressed to parody and overt insinuation." When "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart picked up on it, saying that Bachmann offered ex-gay therapy "so he can hoard all the gayness for himself," cracks about Bachmann's sexuality became commonplace on the left.
Anti-bullying bully Dan Savage actually deemed Bachmann gay just by listening to his voice. Others commented on his walk and manorisms. The rumor made an appearance on the gossip site Gawker, which wrote, "Lots of people have been making the assumption that because he's a little bit that way, Bachmann-like so many other anti-gay weirdos-is in fact a sadly closeted gay man himself."
At The Daily Beast, Michelle Cottle wrote of "the growing whispers about Michele Bachmann's campaign-the uncorroborated speculation that the candidate's profoundly antigay hubby, Marcus, is a closeted gay man." Mediaite wondered whether his "good sense of style" betrayed his true leanings. From the Huffington Post to the Los Angeles Times and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, liberal journalists and gossip columnists have been gleefully repeating the charge.
And why not? They hate Michele Bachmann and have shown they're not above sabotaging her by running unattractive photos and calling her the "Queen of Rage," or snickering with juvenile glee at a picture of her eating a corn dog.
At least in Marcus Bachmann's case there are some behavioral traits for liberals to (hypocritically) hang the charge on. In the case of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, there are only ancient rumors, which liberal outlets like Politico are only too happy to dredge up.
On June 20, in the guise of reporting a non-story - that Perry's aides are "more than prepared for a re-airing of unsubstantiated rumors" - Politico brought up the, well, unsubstantiated rumors. From there they made the rounds to the Huffington Post, Mediaite, and even across the pond to the Daily Mail (UK).
Perry, a social conservative and evangelical Christian, has been married since 1982 and has two grown children. The rumors were first used by Democrat opponents in the 2004 governor's race and were subtly recycled by Kay Baily Hutchinson's campaign last year. Parry and his staff have repeatedly denied them as falsehoods.
Imagine for a moment if conservatives leveled giggling, juvenile allegations like these at some liberal figure. There would be howls of outrage over the "gay bashing," condemnations for stereotyping and reactionary bigotry. Anderson Cooper would get offended.