"When I say it was an 'open secret,' I mean it was one of those things that many journalists and political types believed to be true, but no one knew for sure," Kurtz said in an email to The Upshot.
"Even leaving aside the ethical question of outing someone against his will, it couldn't have been reported because there was no proof that Mehlman was in fact gay," Kurtz continued. "And sometimes something that 'everyone knows' turns out not to be true."
Funny how that burden of proof went out the window when it came to Judge Vaughn Walker. The judge, like Mehlman, was not openly gay, but our awesome fourth estate feigned ignorance:
"Judge Vaughn Walker is a Republican appointee, who himself is openly gay." (ABC News, Aug 5)
"So who is Judge Walker? Well, he's an openly gay man appointed by President Bush, the elder." (Fox News, Aug, 5)
"Although openly gay, Walker, 66, was considered a traitor by some gay activists for having represented the U.S. Olympic Committee in a trademark lawsuit against the Gay Olympics..." (Los Angeles Times, June 21)
"He is openly gay himself and he was finally appointed by President H.W. Bush to the federal bench, where he has been since that appointment." (CNN, Aug 4)
And last but not least, Kurtz's own paper, The Washington Post:
Yes, defenders of Proposition 8 will perform the ritual railing against judicial activists (and complain that the fix was in because the judge who issued the ruling is openly gay).