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    Time for Jennifer Rubin to retract her Richard Grenell “EXCLUSIVE”

    Time for Jennifer Rubin to retract her Richard Grenell “EXCLUSIVE”

    What an ironic statement from Jennifer Rubin (emphasis mine):

    It is awfully tempting for pundits to use people and personal conflicts as stick figures in a polemic play reaffirming one’s preexisting impressions and biases. That’s certainly been the case in the Richard Grenell case….

    The best, fairest and most thoughtful words have been written by reporters who talked to the participants and gained a sense of the motivations and ambiguities inherent in the decision of the openly gay spokesman to leave a campaign for a conservative whose been known to hire staffers and make appointments regardless of sexual orientation.

    Unfortunately, those have been outnumbered by pundits with little regard for the personal dynamic and insistent on playing out a political narrative regardless of the facts.  This is the “there’s some bigger truth here” school of journalism. So the right bloggers insist this was all about some catty e-mails Grenell deleted.

    The irony is that it was Rubin who more than anyone played the stick figure game with Grenell, when she ran her EXCLUSIVE: Richard Grenell hounded from Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives:

    Richard Grenell, the openly gay spokesman recently hired to sharpen the foreign policy message of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, has resigned in the wake of a full-court press by anti-gay conservatives.

    As I noted at the time, Rubin was completely irresponsible and there were a number of reasons why Grenell was not a good fit, including a controversy over tweets he sent out disparaging a variety of political figures:

    Yet there was no proof in Rubin’s post that Grenell’s resignation was caused by “anti-gay conservatives.”  Rubin simply states there was criticism of Grenell from social conservatives and that he resigned, but leaps to a conclusion that one caused the other.

    In fact, Grenell had gained the most controversy because of caustic tweets he sent out about other Republicans during the primaries, which he then deleted….

    Hiring Richard Grenell would be like the Romney campaign hiring Rubin; the hiree had made so many enemies through the poison pen that the hiree was more of a liability than a help.  It was a bad hire.

    Nonetheless, because Rubin wrote it, the anti-Romney media and blogosphere has gone wild with the meme of Grenell being the victim of gay bashing with Rubin as the proof….

    It was a bad hire in which twitter-deleting would have dominated the news cycles for months.  It also was a misplaced selection of someone for one position (foreign policy) who was most known for his advocacy and argumentative writings unrelated to foreign policy, another news cycle distraction.

    Bad ending.  But not the result of gay bashing.

    Yet because Jennifer Rubin put one and one together and got three, the Romney campaign now is smeared with gay bashing.

    Now Grenell has given an interview (h/t The Hillexplicitly denying that social conservatives forced him out, and noting that there was criticism of him from left-wing gays:

    In an interview with The Desert Sun, Grenell said: “The far left doesn’t want a gay person to be conservative and the far right doesn’t want a conservative to be gay.  Some of the most hateful, mean-spirited intolerant comments about me being the foreign policy and national security spokesman for Governor Romney … were coming from the left.” ….

    Grenell denies he was forced out by social conservatives, noting that he’s been an openly-gay Republican spokesman for decades.

    “The right I’m very comfortable with, taking those hits and barbs, because I’ve had a 20-year career where I’ve worked for politicians, I’ve worked on elections, on campaigns, and I know exactly the trajectory of the assaults from the far right.”

    So if he wasn’t forced out why did he quit?

    Grenell says all the publicity about him being an openly-gay Romney staffer obscured the message he was trying to get out.

    “They did not force me to resign.  I resigned because I’m  very passionate about foreign policy and national security issues.” But, he says, “When the messenger becomes part of the message  —   if you really care about these issues  —  you should step aside.”

    Grenell didn’t help himself when news broke that his Twitter account included numerous tweets from him that ridiculed prominent Republicans and Democrats alike, including Hillary Clinton, Callista Gingrich and Michelle Obama.

    But his tweet about openly-gay newscaster Rachel Maddow especially angered many fellow gays and lesbians.  Grenell seemed to mock her as being too masculine and a lesbian stereotype, saying, “Rachel Maddow needs to take a breath and put on a necklace.”

    That brought this response from influential gay journalist Michaelangelo Signorile, who wrote in The Huffington Post, “It was the kind of crack many would expect from a homophobic straight guy.”

    How about a retraction of your “EXCLUSIVE” Jen?  Isn’t that what real journalists do?

    And how about throwing in an apology to those right bloggers who pointed to the deleted tweets as a problem, and who had better, fairer and more thoughtful words on the subject than you did .  Man up.


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    Another narrative constructed to influence perception falters as it confronts reality. That’s a shame.

    Browndog | May 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm


    Every time I hear her name I get an urge to head to the local Jewish deli for a sandwich.

    el polacko | May 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    apparently, the romney campaign did not consider him to be a “bad hire” since it has been reported, from several sources, that he was nearly begged to not resign. the comments from the shameful ‘religious’ right made against the man may not have received wide reportage, but they reverberated enough to influence him to leave the campaign rather than to become a distraction. along the same lines, he did delete his humorous tweets, lest they be blown out of proportion in an attempt to harm romney, but there was certainly nothing legally defamatory nor libelous about his innocent commentaries. the whole of this story is that a small but vocal segment of the GOP who can’t even abide the thought of a gay person having employment threatened and, thereby, hounded a good and useful man out of the romney campaign and handed the opposition a narrative.

    cjtdds | May 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I enjoy reading both Jennifer Rubin’s and Prof. Jacobson’s posts. While Jennifer might have been wrong on this one, she generally gets it quite right and I’m hoping the Romney campaign will read her and take some of her advice. Funny how someone who according to the comments here is not “conservative enough” can really get the goat of the liberals that read her at her WaPo site and vindictively comment on her posts. While I would like to see a retraction on the Grenell post, I hope she keeps up with what so many consider to be an excellent posting record. And perhaps I’m a bit too sensitive, but thanks to Browndog for the lovely antisemitic comment above.

    […] of one.  A reader alerted me to blogger William A. Jacobson’s post where that law professor excerpted an article from Palm Springs’s Desert Sun reporting the gay Republican “took heat from […]

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