Funny! But Wrong: The “Harry Reid Is A Pederast” Rumor

Not fair. But deserved.

Various conservative-minded blogs, including some of the most eminent and well-respected, have flooded the internet with “Harry Reid is a pederast ( or pedophile)” rumors, innuendos and suggestions, like this one, from Red State:

“Harry Reid is a pedophile”

“I got that from a reliable source who made me promise not to reveal his name.  But he knows.  Honest. Now I’m sure some would expect me to back up this claim with some of those “fact” thingys or maybe a link or two.  Well, given that I’ve promise anonymity for my source, not happening.  Just Google “Harry Reid pedophile” there are 1.79 million hits. I’ve known this for some time but I was reluctant to go public with the information because I always back up my writing with facts and links.  Since I’m sworn to secrecy this time I was uncomfortable putting this story out until some seminal events occurred this week, and I figured “what’s good for the goose…”

“As I’m sure you know, Harry Reid (the pedophile), told a reporter that “somebody” at the evil Bain Capital told him that Mitt Romney won’t release his taxes because he didn’t pay any taxes for ten years.  And today Harry Reid (the pedophile) doubled down on this statement in the Las Vegas Review Journal…”

And so on, in that vein. The meme is doing its work: Sen. Reid is on the way to being “santorumed.”* Google his name, and Google’s suggested searches put “Harry Reid pederast” third. By next week, it could be first. Will some unsuspecting, innocent and trusting citizens come across this completely fanciful libel of Reid and believe it? Perhaps even a young nephew or niece of the Senate Majority Leader? Oh, we can be sure of that.

Is that fair and right?

Of course not.

Reid himself deserves little sympathy, for the collective smear on his name was prompted by his own scurrilous rumor-mongering on the floor of the U.S. Senate, where he asserted that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid his taxes for a decade based on no evidence whatsoever. Nonetheless, while giving someone a “taste of his own medicine” is no doubt satisfying and perhaps even instructive, wrong is wrong, and spreading intentional lies, even about a public figure as devoid of decency and scruples as the Senate Majority Leader, is unethical. No conduct, no matter how nauseating, by its target can justify this. Stooping to Reid’s level can only further degrade civility and dignity in American public discourse, which is the objective of political sewer-dwellers like Reid, not anyone with the best interests of the nation in mind.

Fortunately, when dealing with an individual as loathsome as Harry Reid, there are plenty of completely true statements that can and should be said that are only slightly less damning than “Harry Reid is a pedophile.” So let’s be fair to Harry: denigrate him with the truth. That’s what he truly deserves.

* Thanks to blogger Dan Savage, the former GOP Senator’s name is now a synonym for a disgusting bodily discharge.

UPDATE 1 (8/5): Well, it certainly is an honor to get a link from the estimable Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit. Now if only more of his readers would demonstrate some respect for and comprehension of ethics rather than endlessly chanting versions of “this is war” and “Reid hasn’t denied he is a pederast!” and “the mean Democrats do this all the time, so it’s time we fought back.” Not becoming, not impressive, and definitely not persuasive. The mind-numbing repetition is reminiscent of my debate with the pot-heads.

UPDATE 2 (8/6): The commenters aren’t bothering to read the thread, so I am getting the same comments over and over. Here is a directory of the ten most common comments, and my responses to them. You’re welcome.


Pointer: Instapundit

Graphic: Redstate

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at

322 thoughts on “Funny! But Wrong: The “Harry Reid Is A Pederast” Rumor

  1. Helping out Reid? You’re quite the humanitarian.

    Why don’t you do a “web redemption” of the Chick-fill-A Drive-Thru Guy, next?

      • Even more sad and hilarious about this “conservative” assault is that you’re one of the few people in the non-conservative blogosphere I’ve seen who probably has more posts defending Sarah Palin as opposed to denigrating her.

  2. “Yes, name-calling is fun. If you are 11. Grow up.”

    Gee, who would have guessed that “Mr Ethics” would devolve into ad hom.

    Situational ethics indeed.

    • Your Latin is better than your application of it. An individual stoops to and endorses name calling, and I say so. That is not a personal attack. And name-calling as a means of political discourse is per se juvenile.

  3. Jack Marshall,

    This is a war. It is a war between people who would be our masters and the citizens of the United States. Come this November, we will decide.

    I guess what I am trying to say is I don’t want to be an ethical slave.

  4. Look, I have no way of knowing anything about Senator Reid’s sex life, and I care not at all about it. If he is sincere about his desire for societal acceptance of homosexuality, he should have no reason for saying less than the truth about his own sexual habits. Representative Frank (and many others) have admitted to pederasty and it has not adversely affected their political careers at all.
    I could understand it if he ignored the subject which I agree is a distraction from any significant political issue. But his press agent has addressed the question with a catty and non-responsive remark. Why not a simple yes or no?
    Romney has not provided his older tax returns for the reason that they are a distraction from the real issues of the campaign. And they are so complicated that tendentious readings of them and purposeful distortions of these (which are the standard responses of the administration and its allies in the press) will undoubtedly be echoed repeatedly in so called news media as if they were the most significant important things in the campaign. And these will make an impression on the teen age dupes of the press who will be saturated with this stuff.
    I am not familiar with your site, so I do not know whether you came down hard on Reid’s absurd, and well publicized attack on Romney, based on a rumor and no attempt to verify it, For a high government official to use the Senate floor to launch such an attack in what I construe to be an attempt to distract from the important issues of this campaign is a far worse thing than for bloggers to poke fun at Reid in the way that bothers you now.
    Not only that, Reid is not running for office now nor in the near future, and admitting pederasty would probably bring him more sympathy than most people who read blogs have for him now. (Allowing one’s sexual partner to run a homosexual whore house in one’s home did not hurt Frank at all.)
    Furthermore, parsing Reid’s silly response gives us an opportunity to demonstrate how almost any response can be used to extend and inflame the irrelevant issue.
    It would be far worse for Reid if bloggers on the right harped instead on the true fact that he has exhibited a definite tendency to espouse political causes that happen to provide direct financial benefits to members of his immediate family. Had his opponent made that the major issue of her campaign in 2010 and had gotten the support that Democrats get from a sycophantic press, she would probably have beaten him then.
    What makes this a joke and not a serious issue, worthy of your annoyance, is the fact that this whole thing cannot harm Reid at all, any more than calling him a Houyhnym would.

    • Well, unless you are a Houyhnym and you do not want a degenerate like Harry Reid the pederast associated with you.

  5. You know what, I’m in the mood to spread some rumors myself, so here goes; I have it on good authority that a bunch of the “conservative” commentators on this post are nothing more than liberal trolls seeking to discredit their opposition in a misguided attempt to turn Jack towards the left.

    • Honestly, though, it’s disturbing how many people here are endorsing a, dare I say it, Leninist approach to the truth.

  6. First rule of politics. Win.
    Second rule of politics. Win honestly.
    Third rule of politics. Win ethically.
    Fourth rule of politics. Win. An ethical loser is still a loser.
    Fifth rule of politics. Don’t be distracted from winning by nitpicking trolls.

  7. Meh. Of course two wrongs don’t make a right, right? Not even when the wrong results in the ‘right’ outcome? This is the reality conservatives have faced since Murrow declared Vietnam a lost cause in response the the disaster (for the NVA) of Tet. So yes, there can be no argument to your post without a bit of teleological chicanery or presumption-of-hackery. But can’t we get a break just once? I mean dirty Harry is a tens-of-millions-aire despite his entire career being in ‘public service’ never making more than 200k. He’s a disgusting self dealer, a hypocrite, and a clown. Surely exceptions are to be made for every moral rule?

  8. Mr. Marshall, you argue well and eloquently. But I do not think YOUR fantasy — that some innocent, virginal young relative of Harry Reid will see his name associated with pederasty on the internet AND WILL BELIEVE IT — is a realistic one. Were Harry Reid not a public figure, your fantasy might be plausible. But there are equally bad, and worse, accusations leveled at controversial public figures on the internet every minute of every hour of every day, and this is not a new phenomenon. You’re more likely to persuade me that Harry Reid has sex with unicorns than that he has anyone close to him whose opinion will be affected by this. Indeed, because they are close to him, they can judge him for themselves. That’s how real life works.

    So: Plaudits for the moral stand. Brickbats for silly and counterfactual arguments to justify it. This is parody, and it has a point other than meanness.

    Of course, so do Reid’s lies: HIS point is to actually deceive people.

    That, by the way, is a common feature of pederasts.

      • Mr. Marshall, you ignore my substantive points and put words in my mouth to respond to instead. Tsk-tsk.

        My situation and Harry Reid’s are quite different. I’m not a public figure. The campaign you hypothesize would indeed have a genuine chance of actually confusing someone, and that makes a vast difference in analyzing both its legal and its ethical implications.

        No, sir, I’d still appreciate your identifying which of Harry Reid’s nieces and nephews — realistically, I think we’re probably talking grand- or great-grand-nieces and nephews, aren’t we? — are likely to be misled. Do that, please, so we can go ask them: Do you believe everything you read about [great-great] Uncle Harry on the internet? And does his beard tickle your neck and his breath smell funny when you sit on his lap?” Or I’d appreciate your honestly in admitting that what you hypothesized is ridiculously improbable in real life.

        You’re also welcome to reply in comments over at my shop, where I’ve discussed your arguments in more detail than I did in my comment here.

        Best regards.

        • My theory, by the way, is that he who first goes ad hominem automatically loses every argument. Many of those leaving comments here to argue with you, by that standard, lost before you ever responded, and I find no fault with your tweaking them in return. (What comes first does count when it comes to ethics; the “two wrongs don’t make a right” rule would ignore that.) You and I are unacquainted, and I’ve been careful to avoid attacking you, but rather, to only discuss your positions. I bother to do this because I think your positions are interesting, but ultimately wrong. If you do choose to respond, I’m confident you’ll leave aside the personal insults you obviously feel free to direct toward other commenters who’ve first been rude to you. Let’s keep this tightly focused where it should be — on Harry Reid.

        • Thanks for the invitation, sincerely. But frankly, anyone who defends name-calling lies as a legitimate and ethical tactic holds little interest for me.
          As to your other comments, I only ask this: would you want statements claiming you were a pederast all over the net? Would you feel that was fair or funny, and be completely confident that it would not shock or upset relatives, colleagues or gullible acquaintances? Can you answer that honestly, and still say it’s a legitimate and ethical tactic? Really?

          • I’ve already answered that, Mr. Marshall, and quite explicitly too. You keep trying to equate me and Harry Reid. Only one of us is a public figure. No, I would not like to be the subject of such a campaign; no, that does not mean that I’m spreading intentional lies when I’m participating in a very obvious parody.

            This grows tedious and disappointing. I’m not sure whether my attempted trackback or my comment with the URL of my own blog post in response to yours has gotten through, but in any event, thank you for the privilege of commenting here.

            • The parody argument is so obviously disingenuous (or perhaps ignorant) that it is tedious and disappointing that you and others keep ringing that bell. I write parodies and satire for a living. Name-calling is not parody, and a scurrilous lie that is without merit or credibility does not qualify as “parody’ or “satire.” The left’s “Mitt Romney is a unicorn” trope was close to satire, though it was hardly clever. This isn’t clever; it isn’t exaggerated; it isn’t deft or funny, it’s just nasty for the sake of nastiness. That’s not parody, and it isn’t satire. You’re either trying to fool me, or you’re fooling yourself.

  9. Here’s the thing: No matter how many bloggers make or repeat the “Harry Reid is a Pederast” claim there are two things that must be considered. One — the claims are obviously made, not to actually imply that Reid is indeed a pederast but to point out the unfairness of his statements about Mitt Romney not paying his income taxes for ten years. You see, they both have the same basis in fact — none — and anyone who reads these blog posts can easily see that. Reid’s statements, on the other hand, are meant to be taken seriously. There’s a night/day, apples/oranges quality to the two statements when placed against each other. Reid’s statements are obviously made to be taken seriously just as the bloggers’ statements about Reid are not. Two — and this is perhaps the most important thing — Harry Reid made these unprovable, unsourced statements on the floor of the United States Senate in his capacity as the Majority Leader. Naturally, his comments were picked up and relayed to millions of average americans on mainstream media outlets and taken as (perhaps) factual by people who don’t follow politics as closely as they should. The statements he made were not disavowed in any way by any democrats or the president or any of his spokesmen. Thus we can accurately infer that democrats and their party leader, the president, are okay with Reid’s slanderous statements. *THIS* is the story — not that some bloggers are tweaking the repugnant Harry Reid with obviously false statements about his alleged predilection for pedophilia. It would only be unethical were it the case that these bloggers were making these statements intending them to be taken seriously. This is where your argument misses the mark. Widely.

    • “Harry Reid made these unprovable, unsourced statements on the floor of the United States Senate in his capacity as the Majority Leader.”

      Correct, and in doing that he crossed a line. THAT was unethical, as clearly he did so in furtherance of partisan political ends, and my understanding is such stuff is NOT to be done in the official halls of government.

      I don’t know if it is actually illegal, but I hope the RNC is looking into that and that they pursue charges if it is.

      The current dem party is most notable for their thuggery. From Obama insulting the Justices of the SCOTUS and Paul Ryan, to this disgraceful behaviour by Reid, to the threats against Chik-fil-A by Mayors Menino and Emmanuel.

      You know what I’d love to see, I’d love to see Obama & Holder go all Robert Mugabe on Romney, take him away in handcuffs, say oh around 10/31/2012. That would really show who they are.

      Don’t think they aren’t tempted, you know they are. The rules are for other people with this current gang.

      The Democratic party needs to be destroyed and driven from power. It is the only way this nation will escape becoming a banana republic.

  10. Yeah, it really sucks when we conservatives use their techniques against them. Whatever! So tell me, what are we supposed to do to combat the vile and unlawful way the communists………erm democrats fight politically? It is illegal to access IRS records but that does not stop the communists. They ARE communists. They want to seize property and they are doing it. Yes, you could argue they are also using fascist economic techniques as well. That is what totalitarians do. Turn the other cheek, it is working well for the Christians in Egypt I hear.

  11. Wow. Thanks Glenn, for pointing me to this complete waste of seven minutes of my life. And Jack, that thumbnail of you just makes me want to punch you in your fat-kid teacher-you-forgot-to-assign-homework face. But Harry Reid is still a pederast until proven otherwise.

  12. It is the ability of conservatives to be true to their “values” that have given Democrats a wide berth to kick them around for over 50+ years. I tell my Republican boss, he needs people like me who get down in the gutter w/the Alinskyites to ensure that tomorrow there is an America for his children. He doesn’t like all that I do, but he thanks me every once in a while for being aggressive. I am sure your ethics make it impossible or improbable to go for the jugular, however the liberal media and scum like Reid or Axylrod from Chicago style politics do not have that “ethical” problem and in such there are conservatives like me to make them “live up to their standards”. You will recognize that as Alinsky and the first thing I learned in this battle against the progressive movement that has literally destroyed America from within is that lesson!

  13. The “Harry Reid is a pederast” meme is instructive to all sides of political debate. So is “Harry Reid is a pedophile.” Also, “Harry Reid is a coprophage.” But I digress.

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