Hatches you raise some confounding questions. I guess I'd have to say everytime someone's sexual orientation is mentioned it is an outing. A progression of outings on one person could all have different purposes depending on each situation. So maybe these days the pretense of smirching someone is way secondary to it really being an attempt to polarize an audience. Another act of oversimplification and distraction that puts everything out of focus. Are we watching someone scandalously or proudly gay on CNN? Or are we watching a report of a really important disaster (the detruction of thousands of lives and a whole region by a hurricane, remember?) that has consequences for everyone?
I guess not so long ago any outing not done by the self as a liberatory act was uniformly an act of scapegoating. But now I think outing is more a cause for a public fight over the question of an individual's identity, an individual's right to determine their own sense of self. And maybe more importantly whether an individual's personal sense of self can stand at all in a public that is violently coerced to take sides on the acceptability of that sense of self. This shift from outing as only and ever being a scapegoating to being instead cause for a public debate is only due to the as yet limited success of gay civil rights. It questions the level of maturity of a whole society. The unfinished part is that as of yet, apprently, no can in public be wholly unstigmatically gay.
On the other hand, who cares what the public thinks, as long as there is any possibility I could run in to the delectible AC and enjoy who he himself knows he is.