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Frontline Feedback 

The following are excerpts from Frontline's Web site, taken from comments posted after "A Hidden Life" aired nationally on PBS on Nov. 14. To read the comments in full, go to and hit the "Join the Discussion" button. & r & & r & "To me, your program is more an illustration of the dangers of activist media than it is a story about a closeted homosexual politician." -- Nate O'Connor, Tempe, Ariz.

"Mr. West started out as a villain in my eyes and ended a hero. He faced his detractors with what can only be called grace. And as they crowed over headlines like 'West Goes Down,' he stood watching his defeat with utter dignity and it was then I felt real respect and a sense of forgiveness for this man."

-- Michael Seven, Toronto

"When the reporter stated that they themselves could not be the individuals actually corresponding with Mayor West in the gay chat rooms because of ethical problems but it was OK to hire outside people to perform these actions, it seemed similar to the logic that our current executive branch of government used to ship suspects to Syria because we could not torture them ourselves." -- Ethan Morris

"You gave West a pass at every opportunity and you have NO understanding of what it means to be gay in this culture. Your program was instead committed to the maintenance of the closet... For me the most disgusting part of the program were the excuses made for his voting against gay rights. The look on his face when he said he'd 'probably' not vote that way today said it all." -- David Ehrenstein, Los Angeles

"The real story here is the hypocrisy of Jim West's politics and opposing forces of a latent secret life that emerged in him. As with recent disclosures of Republican congressional figures and right-wing evangelicals, the Jim West story should be remembered the next time someone attempts to influence voters or patrons with a radical anti-homosexual agenda."

-- John Phillips, Tacoma, Wash.

"The fact remains that Jim West had a comfortable life and a good job -- but sponsored laws that would deprive other people of living a comfortable life or getting a good job. The homosexuality of a famously anti-gay mayor should have been story enough, but the Spokesman-Review wanted a crime. How predictable then that homosexuality was once again conflated with pedophilia, that a sting operation was conducted on the thinnest of possibilities and that no -- NO -- pedophilia was ever substantiated...

"To be clear. I do not give Mayor West a pass. I am a gay man, too, roughly West's age. I came through, as did thousands of others, with my integrity intact. Victims are not predestined to be victimizers. The ones who become victimizers should answer for their actions, publicly."

-- John Calendo, North Bergen, N.J.

"In the psyches of most Americans, homosexuality is inextricably tangled up with child molesters and worse. This is where the true crime, sociopathy and danger lie, in the sociopathic hatred toward homosexuals and the irrational connection made between homosexuality and child abuse..."

-- Donell McDonell, Victoria, B.C.
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