The Wall Street Journal
's decision to run a 17-year-old photograph of Elena Kagan playing softball on its front page wasn't in any way meant as innuendo about the Supreme Court nominee's sexual orientation, a spokesman for the paper told Politico.com's Ben Smith
. But some gay people think otherwise.
"It's clearly an allusion to her being gay. It's just too easy a punch line," says Cathy Renna, a former spokeswoman for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and now the principal of Renna Communications. "The question from a journalistic perspective is whether it's a descriptive representation of who she might be as a judge. Have you seen a picture of Clarence Thomas bowling?"
The topic of the unmarried Kagan's sexual orientation has been the subject of many conversations and several news reports since she was first suggested as a possible nominee. White House officials have dismissed the rumors, however, calling them "false charges."
Any suggestion that the WSJ
was referring to those rumors with its choice of the softball photo is also false, the paper's spokeswoman Ashley Huston told Politico's Smith. "If you turn the photo upside down, reverse the pixilation, and simultaneously listen to Abbey Road
backwards, while reading Roland Barthes, you will indeed find a very subtle image," she said.