Andrew Sullivan writes:
And it is the distinguishing mark of specifically totalitarian societies that this safety is eradicated altogether by design. … You are, in fact, always guilty before being proven innocent. You always have to prove a negative. …
Perhaps gay people are particularly sensitive to this danger, because our private lives have long been the target of moral absolutists, and we have learned to be vigilant about moral or sex panics. For much of history, a mere accusation could destroy a gay person’s life or career, and this power to expose private behavior for political purposes is immense.
I’m not equating an accusation of attempted rape in the distant past with sodomy. I am noting a more general accusatory dynamic that surrounded Ford’s specific allegation. This is particularly dangerous when there are no editors or gatekeepers in the media to prevent any accusation about someone’s private life being aired, when economic incentives online favor outrageous charges, and when journalists have begun to see themselves as vanguards of a cultural revolution, rather than skeptics of everything.