The Sex Lives of Others

by Ramesh Ponnuru

So according to Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, it’s totally fair for journalists to cover stories about premarital sexual encounters that politicians had 25 years ago if they have supported abstinence education. After citing a 2006 questionnaire in which Palin said she would support funding for abstinence-education programs and oppose “[e]xplicit sex-ed programs,” Wemple writes: “If Palin backs abstinence-only education and shuns talk of contraception and the like, then we are entitled to know whether her own lifestyle aligned with her rhetoric.” I think the argument is thoughtless and thuggish, but it’s also worth noting that Wemple has his facts wrong: Palin said that same year that she believes schoolkids should be taught about contraception. (Making this mistake seems to be a habit at the Washington Post.)

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