The other day, I linked to a column by Ann Coulter in which she said that, several weeks ago “the New York Times turned over half of its op-ed page to outing gays with some connection to Republicans.” Several readers have told me that the New York Times did not “out” the gays in question (like Coulter I’m not going to compound the offense by naming names) because they were already “out” — that is, the fact that they are gay was no longer a secret. One reader has asked us to make a formal correction.
Dictionary.com defines “out” when used as a verb as follows: “To be disclosed or revealed; come out: Truth will out.” I would argue that when the New York Times publicizes the fact that a private citizen, of whom few people have heard, is gay, it is “disclosing” or “revealing” that fact to its readers, a mass audience. If the verb “out” has a more technical meaning when it comes to gays, then maybe another verb is more appropriate. I don’t think the matter is worth arguing about. Either way, what the Times did is deplorable.
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