Outing Ed Koch

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch died 9 years ago. 

Bizarrely, the New York Times decided to now write and publish an extensive investigation "outing" him. Being dead, I'm pretty sure that Koch isn't running for office. The only newsworthy connection is a move by some gay rights activists to pull his name from city landmarks. I'm not sure that claiming that Ed Koch was gay is really making that case.

The Times has little new here, except some people willing to go on the record, and it follows the same old playbook of attacking Koch over somehow "mishandling" the AIDS crisis or not being sensitive enough about it. The nature of the complaints invariable shifted to claiming that Koch was gay. How that made a case for his alleged "homophobia" remains baffling even to someone who spent decades hearing this same nonsense circulating in New York City politics.

Whatever Koch's personal life amounted to, I have no idea. And no one cares. Especially a decade later.

The New York Times and other papers offering secondary commentary keep claiming that Koch was gay and remained in the closet because of his political ambitions, but that makes little sense. Koch left office in 1989. He had no political career worth mentioning and became a cheerful public figure. Over the next quarter-century, he had plenty of time to announce he was gay if that were an issue. As a Democrat in one of the most liberal cities in the country, he certainly had nothing to fear.

Whatever Koch's personal life was, he wanted it to be his own. Instead of respecting a dead man's wish for privacy, the New York Times decided to rehash the same old attacks for a completely incomprehensible purpose.

Koch was asked these questions repeatedly. Including in later years. And his consistent response was that people have a right to privacy. And elected officials should not be asked about their personal lives.

The New York Times clearly disagrees. The same paper that continues protecting Walter Duranty feels the need to take a few more shots at Koch. 

Whatever else was going on, if Ed Koch were alive and around today, he would be 98, and he would be replying to the Times on Twitter.


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