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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Chicago Media Struggle over Keyes Daughter's Sexuality

Chicago Reader:

Daily papers have lost a lot of their authority to decide what's news. A story they refuse to cover will get to the public some other way, and if the dailies don't lead the discussion it'll go on just fine without them.

A couple of weeks ago the sexual orientation of the daughter of Alan Keyes became various bloggers' new hot subject. As I write this column, the Tribune and Sun-Times have published nothing on it. They've stood on principle, and the principle is hard to fault. They saw signs that Maya Keyes, only 19, dreaded the attention they were thinking of paying her. There is, after all, a big difference between her playing with the subject of lesbian romance on a Web site read by a few friends and having it exposed to the world. When bloggers began calling attention to www.xanga.com, the site where they said she posted her blog, the intimate material they'd noticed there promptly disappeared.


Rich Miller, publisher of the newsletter "Capitol Fax," reported on September 30: "Almost every Chicago political reporter is currently and actively pursuing the Keyes controversy, and his refusal to talk about it is starting to drive them a little crazy. You can see it in their stories. They're champing at the bit, eager to find the hook that justifies blowing this thing wide open. Most of them are also sensitive about the daughter, but this thing is obviously driving them nuts. Millions of people already know about this, but they're not allowed to report it."

And should the press provide the same protections when the person in question is a powerful congressman with an anti-gay voting record? More on that later.