Wednesday, April 27, 2011

OPINION: Views Expressed by MSNBC Host I Just Do Not Get

If you "get" something, you understand it. You comprehend and maybe even sympathize or empathize. This I do not get: Rachel Maddow (MSNBC talk show host) was rumored to have urged a CNN news anchor to "come out" with personal information, i.e., homosexuality. It is important to note that Maddow denies that she named the anchor in the interview. Rumors otherwise developed quickly, yet seem so far to have not basis. Giving Ms Madow the benefit of her words, it is true that in talking with The Guardian she is quoted as saying that "if you're gay you have a responsibility to 'come out'." (Source: LA Times online/Entertainment, April 26, 2011-emphasis added.) 

Maddow is one of many that promote "going public" or "coming out" as obligation of homosexuality. Does this seem odd to you, when private information has nothing to do with quality of work, or with legalities, professionalism, or the general public's need to know? Why should personal lives and facts about them, unless illegal or criminal, be part of the workplace? Too much attention already is on news reporters as news makers, and this attitude increases the problem. Most of us do not want "personalities," we want journalists and real reporting.

In this writer's view, to try to force "coming out" with personal facts shows unprofessional approach and bad taste. Period.

Which reminds of Elizabeth Taylor, who showed better taste. She was close to homosexual actors for decades when homosexuality was hardly spoken about, even in general, in public. She was rumored to be in love with one who remained close to her until he died. Another, Rock Hudson, she befriended during the illness that caused his death. Unlike then, professions now are not lost because of private choices. When they were, however, I admired Ms Taylor for the way she remained a friend when some of her friends were "outed" by HIV/AIDS illness and treatment, or by curious, prying minds. As public attention grew in those days, often in clamorous tones, she began to speak out about HIV/AIDS and to support research efforts, openly and compassionately. Thereby, she helped many who were ill due to behaviors or due to infected blood transfusions or other causes. 

Now that I do get.

(c) 2009-2011 Opinari and Jean Purcell

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