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Outrage Over “Outrage”

Jim Burroway

May 8th, 2009

The documentary Outrage is certainly living up to its name. Filmmaker Kirby Dick delves into the secret lives of Washington politicians (all of them men) who publicly denounce LGBT people by day, but who secretly seek the comfort of other men by night — the very men they worked against during the day. Many of these figures are very powerful and well-known. Blogger Mike Rogers, who features prominently in this film, has been dubbed “the most feared man in Washington” for his dogged efforts to unmask Sen. Larry Craig, Rep. Ed Schrock, and many others.

On May 7, Mike Rogers appeared on a local Washington, DC talk show with host Doug McKelway about the film. McKelway, despite not having seen the movie yet, obviously had quite an axe to grind. At about the 2:45 mark McKelway said he wanted to take Rogers outside and punch him across the face:

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I think Mike did a remarkable job of holding his ground, and even tripping McKelway up in admitting that he agreed with the principle behind Mike’s outing of hypocritical politicians.

After receiving numerous complaints, McKelway addressed calls for an apology for his behavior. McKelway’s response? “Mike Rogers, you’re not getting one!”

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Outrage opens tonight in select cities.



May 8th, 2009 | LINK

Mc Kelway owes a major apology to everyone involved with this pathetic interview that he conducted and the threat of violence. He is the BULLY and extrememly unprofessional and should be aplogize!

Shame on you!!!!!!!!1

Emily K
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

Why are all of them men? That is strange to me. As if women don’t have closets of their own.

Brian Torwelle
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

What an incredibly unprofessional interview! This guy is putting the jerks on Fox News to shame!

Scott P.
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

Is it possible McKelway is worried about his own ass being exposed? I’ve never seen anyone react so violently to “outing” except those who are worried they’ll be exposed.

Christopher Waldrop
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

Let me get this straight (no pun intended). A TV news anchor threatens someone he’s interviewing with physical harm, and then refuses to even apologize. Here’s what I’m trying to understand: if someone on the street threatens me, I can press charges. I may have a hard time proving it, but if I can they can be fined.

Rogers wouldn’t have a hard time proving that McKelway threatened him. The evidence is all there.

Scott P.
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

Yeah, Christopher, but then McKelway could claim he was being persecuted by the nasty gay man and his secret homosexual agenda.

Ben in Oakland
May 8th, 2009 | LINK

Arguing about the morality of outing is to create a moral question where there isn’t one. The right or wrong of it is a matter of opinion. What is always true is the reality of consequences.

I’ve always seen outing in this context–reality. Reality: any gay person who sticks his/her nose out of the closet, from posting anonymously on a website to tattooing ‘homosexual’ on their foreheads, runs the risk of being known or thought of as a homosexual. A secret toldno matter how quietly, is no longer a secret. The consequences can range from a parade to murder– depending on who and where you are. And any gay person who lives an out and proud life takes the chance of great joy, or equally, severe retribution

There are two sets of consequences. There are the consequences for being homosexual. Straight people who hate gay people, and more importantly, wanna-be-straight-but-ain’t’s, have set up those consequences wherever possible to be negative; they should not be surprised if those consequences ensue. Nor are they allowed to avoid those consequences, because they are responsible, as are all of us, for their actions. To say that they deserve a break from those consequences would be self serving of them, to say the least, and is an argument against the validity of the disapproval and sanctions to begin with. “You should be punished, but I shouldn’t be, because I am on the side of right, except when I’m on my knees.” This does not cut it as a defense or an excuse.

Then there are the consequences of hypocrisy. These can range from public disgrace to laudatory hymns of praise, and also depend on who and where you are. Wide Stance Larry suffered a lot of public embarrassment, but stayed in the Senate, as did Vitter. Such is its privilege. Ted Haggard believed his own press (I’m God’s right-hand man) and bit the balls he was licking– always a mistake when someone’s foot is in your groin. My experience with holier-than-thou Christians is that they really only like the kind of hypocrisy that allows them to maintain their myths of moral and spiritual superiority. Even the apologies for slavery and segregation contained a subtle bid for reasserting moral superiority– we used to think that but way, now we’re even better than before. We finally have it right). The kind of hypocrisy that reveals them to be no better than anyone else– or quite a bit worse– is really not going to be tolerated.

When they out people it is good, when we out people, it is bad. But really, it is simply a matter of the consequences which other people have set in motion. If you are going to argue that outing is immoral, then it is entirely hypocritical unless you are willing to tackle the initial immorality– the fear, hatred, and persecution of gay people. Because that is where the actual roots of the problem lie. If you don’t attack the roots, the weeds still sprout in the garden.

May 9th, 2009 | LINK

Methinks McKelway doth protest too much…

May 10th, 2009 | LINK

30 years ago we still had a media that didn’t report on personal business. We hardly ever heard that politicians were having affairs or even engaging the services of prostitutes even though a great many of them did. Now these matters are fair game. It’s only when it involves homosexuality that some argue that this is off limits. Why? Because those people still believe there is something fundamentally wrong with being gay or (sometimes rightly) believe the public believes so.

This interviewer got terribly upset to the point that I had to wonder what he was hiding in his closet. Either we aren’t going to talk about public official’s personal business or we are, but we can’t decide that Bill Clinton’s and John Edwards’s sex lives are fair game but David Dreier’s and Charlie Crist’s are not. That’s the double standard here and hadly anyone in the media has taken the hands off approach to straight politician’s sex lives over the last 20 years.

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