So, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, who recently hosted a garden party with a difference, is not gay. Or at least, not out and proud. True, he formerly served as the Irish minister for arts and culture, but he also has four children and a 38-year hetero marriage that seems, by all accounts, very solid.
And the reason I’m discussing his sexuality at all is that for inexplicable reasons, Forbes writer David Monagan mistakenly outed Higgins in an article that wasn’t even about him:
Well, at least he got the poet part right. Higgins is a published poet and champion of the Gaelic language (so sayeth the Guardian).
Monagan is an American, but lives in Cork and by his own description, has “written millions of words about Ireland.” After the combined wrath and astonishment (and glee, in the case of the opposition party) of the entire UK fell down upon his head last week, the disgraced journo issued a public apology on Thursday.
And here’s where the whole story gets sadly unsurprising. According to the Independent, Monagan said his enormous blooper would ordinarily have been spotted by an editor.
Except, oh, that’s right, Forbes is yet another publication that laid off most of its paid editorial staff (starting in 2009) and switched over to a largely unpaid “contributed content” model. As of last year, the switcheroo had supposedly doubled the traffic to Forbes.com – but as this hugely embarrassing international gaffe proves, the outlet might have sacrificed maybe a tiny bit on the quality-control front.
Will this hurt traffic to Forbes.com? Doubtful. Credibility? Only amongst the Irish, probably.
We live in a world where millions of people believe what they read in the Onion, after all. Maybe if Monagan survives the massive media coal-raking that is his due, he can go apply for a job over there. Last I heard, the Onion still has a paid editorial staff.