Update: The New York Times still has not done any news story that I can find about the Kagan rumors, but in the Sunday, May 16, edition the opinion column by Frank Rich notes the existence of these rumors, and Maureen Dowd’s column alludes to them. Other than a few readers’ comments earlier, I believe this is the first time that the Times has noted the existence of the rumors. I think the editors have made the right decision.
Should news media report that bloggers are spreading rumors that Elena Kagan is gay? So far news organizations seem divided. The Washington Post noted last month that CBS News had a blogger’s item on its website claiming she is a lesbian, but then CBS removed it after the White House pressured the network. Blogger Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic expressed his opinion that Kagan is gay. Ben Smith in Politico ran an item quoting Kagan’s former roommate as saying she is straight. Other news organizations such as the New York Times have avoided the issue. Because so far no one credible has provided evidence that she is gay, and that this fact, if true, would have any relevance to her nomination to the High Court, I don’t see any reason to dignify rumors with an item. About the only argument in favor of doing a story about this rumor would be if there is clear evidence that her political enemies are deliberately starting a whisper campaign. Short of that, it’s not a legitimate news story.