Equality Matters

Right-Wing Media Celebrate Barney Frank’s Retirement By Reviving Prostitution Smear

December 05, 2011 6:10 pm ET

Following Rep. Barney Frank’s announcement that he wouldn’t be seeking a 17th term in office, most major news outlets praised openly gay Frank for his career advocating for LGBT equality and supporting financial reform. However, right-wing media outlets used the opportunity to revive discredited allegations of Frank’s involvement in a prostitution ring in the 1980s.

Right-Wing Media Reviv eDiscredited Prostitution Smear Against Barney Frank

Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell: Media Don’t Want To Talk About Frank’s “House Of Male Prostitution.” After airing several news reports announcing Frank’s retirement, Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked Media Research Center president Brent Bozell: “What is missing” from these reports? Hannity continued:

HANNITY: Did anyone -- because you follow this a little more closely than I do because you’re looking for bias -- did anybody mention a guy by the name of Stephen Gobie in any of these reports?

BOZELL: No. No. That’s a chapter they don’t want to revisit. They don’t want to talk about the house of male prostitution that was going on in his townhouse. [Fox News, Hannity, 12/1/11]

Talk Show Host Larry Elder: Media Outlets Avoided Mentioning Frank’s Supposed Ties To A Male Prostitute. In a December 1 column on Townhall.com, radio talk host Larry Elder chastised the media for failing to mention “liberal, gay, untouchable” Frank’s apparent ties to to a male prostitute:

The Big Three nightly news anchors and the Times also managed to avoid any mention of Frank's congressional reprimand for fixing the parking tickets of a male prostitute.

"Representative Frank," writes National Review, "was reprimanded by the House for making misleading statements to a Virginia prosecutor on behalf of the prostitute -- whom the congressman eventually put on his own payroll -- and for having fixed dozens of parking tickets on this behalf." Frank denied knowing that his lover, a convicted drug dealer, was running a prostitution business out of the congressman's house. The boyfriend, however, insisted that Frank knew about it. [Townhall.com, 12/1/11]

Radio Host Michael Reagan: Frank’s Prostitution Ties Are Part Of His “Sexual Deviancy.” In a December 1 column on Townhall.com, syndicated talk radio host Michael Reagan cited Frank’s “homosexual roommate and lover [who] had once used the congressman’s residence almost as a brothel” as an example of Frank’s “sexual deviancy”:

Paul Kane of the Post continued to slobber: “On the left, Frank was a hero both for his effort to rein in the nation’s largest banks and for his role in promoting gay rights, having been the first member of Congress to declare his sexual orientation while in office.”

The Post glossed over the fact that Barney Frank’s homosexual roommate and lover had once used the congressman’s residence almost as a brothel. That, I assume, comes under the heading of “promoting gay rights.”

For all his sexual deviancy, Barney Frank’s greatest offense had more to do with his ultra-left wing policies. [Townhall.com, 12/1/11]

Jason Mattera: Frank’s Apartment “Was Also Operating As Gay Brothel.” In a November 29 column on Human Events, editor Jason Mattera seemed to mock the idea that Frank didn’t know about the “gay brothel” in his apartment:

Unlike the Times, the Washington Post did mention Frank’s, er, interesting partner choices over the years, one that resulted in the infamous “allegations involving his relationship with a male prostitute who worked out of the lawmaker’s Capitol Hill townhouse.” (Side note: The Washington Post frames the boyfriend as someone who “worked” out of Barney’s house? I guess that’s one way to put it. Another was that Barney Frank’s Washington, D.C., apartment was also operating as gay brothel, of which Frank denies he had any knowledge. Snort.) [Human Events, 11/29/11]

Limbaugh: “If Running A Prostitution Ring In Your House Couldn’t Make You Resign, What Does?” From the November 28 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: If running a prostitution ring in your house couldn’t make you resign, what does? This is a question -- wait a minute -- Barney did not run the prostitution ring. He said he didn’t know that it was going on. It was his partner at the time, Steven Gobie. Yeah. Barney fixed parking tickets for the clientele at the house. So if running a prostitu- if having a prostitution ring being run out of your basement couldn’t embarrass you to retire, you have to -- you do have to wonder what it is. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/28/11]

Fox’s Greg Gutfeld: Frank Will “Open Up A Bed And Breakfast... It’ll Just Be Beds.” On the November 29 edition of Fox News’ The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld stated:

GUTFELD: Can I make a prediction though? In a  where do we see Frank going? I see a memoir in eight months called “Being Frank,” ‘cause I think that’s nice. You like that? You like that? He’ll talk about being gay, struggling with his weight, and then he’s going to later after that open up a bed and breakfast. In it, there won’t be any breakfast, it’ll just be beds, but it’ll be highly successful. [Fox News, The Five, 11/29/11]

House Ethics Committee Cleared Frank Of All Allegations

House Ethics Committee Concluded That Frank “Did Not Have Either Prior Or Concomitant Knowledge Of Prostitution Activities” In His Apartment. From the Report Of the Committee On Standards Of Official Conduct (CSOC):

Based upon information obtained under subpoena and sworn testimony, the Committee concludes that the weight of the evidence indicates that Representative Frank did not have either prior or concomitant knowledge of prostitution activities involving third parties alleged to have taken place in his apartment. ... Representative Frank's landlords ... submitted sworn testimony contradicting Mr. Gobie's assertion. ... The Committee, therefore, further concludes that no further action is warranted.

Sworn Testimony Contradicted Gobie’s Allegations That He Used Frank’s Apartment For “Prostitution Activities.” From the CSOC report:

Not only have Representative Frank's landlords, Colonel and Mrs. James Daugherty, submitted sworn testimony contradicting Mr. Gobie's assertion, Mr. Gobie's assertion has also been rendered questionable by the fact that his claims of call-forwarding service were contradicted by the telephone company. […]

While much has been said, written, and speculated with respect to Representative Barney Frank's relationship with Stephen L. Gobie, it is clear that most, if not all, of such media attention has been the product of assertions made by Mr. Gobie. As has been discussed in detail in prior sections of this Report, the Committee went to great lengths in seeking testimony or other information relevant to the assertions. In numerous instances where an assertion made by Mr. Gobie (either publicly or during his Committee deposition) was investigated for accuracy, the assertion was contradicted by third-party sworn testimony or other evidence of Mr. Gobie himself. [CSOC Report, emphasis added, 7/20/90]

&mdash C.M.

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