Saturday, February 2, 2013
New York Times Koch Obit Creates Outrage Over AIDS
Yesterday I posted a short piece about the death of former NYC mayor, Ed Koch. I mentioned how he'd ignored questions about whether or not he was gay, and how he became almost vicious and defensive whenever he was asked about being gay. As a side note, I've heard more than my fair share of Koch stories over the years through the proverbial grapevine in and around NYC that you won't read about in Huff Po or anywhere else, stories that would leave you speechless. But I'm only sticking to facts right now because it's all hearsay.
According to this article, the NYT actually revised the Koch obit to include AIDS because so many people started tweeting and ranting over the fact that nothing at all had been mentioned. You have to remember this was the mayor at the beginning of the AIDS crisis in NYC and a lot of people didn't think he did enough...if anything. To ignore something like AIDS during that time period completely makes no sense at all. And more than thirty years later we're still dealing with AIDS all over the world.
Legendary writer and activist Larry Kramer called Koch "a murderer of his own people" because the mayor was widely known as a closeted gay man.
@MarkHarrisNYC Posted this on Twitter:
In its epic-length obit of Ed Koch, the NYTimes completely omits any mention of his (non-) reaction to the AIDS crisis.
Koch wasn't the only one who ignored AIDS back then. They ALL ignored it. Even The President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, ignored it.
The article to which I've linked has more comments with more outrage, and it's hard for me to say I blame them. I've seen what AIDS can do to people first hand, up close and in person, and I find it difficult to understand how anyone can ignore something so serious. But the fact remains that Ed Koch had always maintained a firm stand on not speaking publicly about his sexuality, or anything that would link him to being gay. It was a different time and a different place, and he came from a generation where it was normal to hide being gay. If Koch had been open about being gay I doubt he would ever have been elected mayor back then. I doubt he would have had any political career at all.
However, the NYT really should spend a little more time getting the facts right, because this comment was just insane. Even I remember this back then, and I was just a kid.
Hundreds of New Yorkers were desperately ill and dying in a baffling public health emergency...
You have to wonder what these people get paid to do at the NYT, and who the hell hires them, because there were a hell of a lot more than "hundreds" dying.
The saddest part of all this to me is when I think about what a wonderful legacy Koch would have had if he'd done things differently. And now all I'm seeing are cries of outrage. But this obit in the NYT is very classic of they way the mainstream media always covers up all things gay in what I guess they feel is a politically correct lame attempt to protect people from the fresh hells of all things gay?