Sex, lies and no videotape

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I got an interesting lesson in journalism last week. As you’ll recall, we ran Kathy Karrasch’s first-person story on her relationship with Gov. Jim Gibbons. Funny how even supposedly independent journalists will circle the wagons to ensure that politics remains a sport of the powerful and the elite.

Let me say up front that I believed basically every word that Karrasch wrote—at least, with the understanding that she was telling her own story, and absolutely truthful self-disclosure is very difficult. Nuances among emotions are difficult for even experiened writers to express. For some reason, people kept asking me whether I believed her. There was nothing in this story that didn’t match the evidence and testimony that had come before. Plainly she left some stuff out, but that didn’t undermine the basic fact that there was no evidence she and Jim Gibbons ever had sex.

But there was something about Karrasch telling her own story—instead of having powerful and well-known people talking about her—that seemed to particularly offend other media and reporters. I mean, she didn’t seek the limelight. In fact, throughout the coverage of the supposed “affair,” I was often struck by the use of her name as though she were a public figure like Dawn Gibbons or Jim Gibbons.

Where were all the other “other women”? If Gibbons were the “ladies’ man” he was made out to be, why didn’t a single woman come forward to say she actually had physical relationship with Gibbons? And then there was Gibbons’ impotent admission, under oath, that he hadn’t had sex in a decade. His soon-to-be-ex hasn’t called him on that statement.

This story was a little distasteful for me to run, particularly because we’ve tried to stay out of politicians’ sex lives, but it’s this newspaper’s job to help the little people who may have had their reputations tarnished by politicians like Jim and Dawn Gibbons and their lawyers.