Chris Hughes, Sean Eldridge, and the Media’s Gay Bias

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge. Lucky you. They’re one of America’s first “gay power couples.” Whatever that means. Not even a year ago, they were getting media accolades left and right (mostly left), but these days they’re roundly booed in all circles. What exactly happened?

Two very public failures have basically flipped the switch on them: Chris Hughes destroyed The New Republic, which he bought very recently in 2012, and Sean Eldridge lost his run for Congress by thirty points, in spite of vastly outspending his opponent. What made them favorites at the peak of their popularity—their wealth, their politics, their youth, and their good looks—are, oddly enough, the very things people hate about them now.

In one of the more forthright articles I have read on the topic of the media’s gay bias, John Kirchik explains how the couple would have been treated if they had been a right-leaning heterosexual couple:

One suspects that had this couple been heterosexual and conservative, the initial media attention would not have been quite so toadying. We would have no doubt been treated to endless stories about how a “rapacious” “right-wing” millionaire, who had done nothing to earn his fortune, set out to destroy one of liberalism’s great institutions all the while enabling his power-mad spouse to “buy” a seat in Congress. But everything about the Hughes-Eldridge pairing militated against such a portrayal. The prospect of a fresh-faced, conventionally liberal, gay couple hit every media sweet spot.

Brutal. And true. This article also pointed out that Chris Hughes earned his prodigious fortune through little more than sheer luck. He happened to be room mates with Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz, and happened to have better social skills than they did (though no coding ability). He cashed out his share of Facebook in 2007, to the tune of $700 million. He has poured that money into all sorts of causes and ventures since then, pretty much all of which have failed.

Maybe that’s why so many wealthy liberals think that wealthy people didn’t work for their fortunes. Because they didn’t work for their fortunes. Like most small-minded children, they think their own reality is also everyone else’s. Well, it’s not.