Sex sells (souls)

Is it really the proper duty of ABC News to look up the phone numbers of the alleged Washington madam’s clients to expose them? Is that journalism? Is that news? Is that their proper role? Oh, it’s certainly gossip. It’s entertainment. It’s comedy (see Jon Stewart tonight). But news that affects our lives? Oh, come now. I guess ABC News was just jealous of NBC News catching/entrapping all those predators, even getting a book deal out of it. Where will this escalation end? Will CBS be forced to hunt down foot-fetishistic cross-dressing boy-loving porn-downloading judges or football players or anchors and get a CSI out of it? Seriously, I wonder about the propriety of ABC News taking this active role in helping the reputed Madam out her clients to save her skin. And I wonder whether this is the best use of their investigative resources. No, I know it’s not. It’s pandering, pure and simple.

  • It’s news when the people caught in such an investigation turn out to be moralizing anti-crime crusaders. When a legislator is bombasting in the house about some behaviour during the day, then going out and practicing that very same behaviour at night, that should be reported.

  • Eric Gagnon

    Hey Jarvis–

    I thought you were a full-disclosure kinda guy. Hey, after all, if you’re all for NBC releasing the truly evil video, images, and rantings of Cho, the Virginia Tech killer, then why would you be against this?

    If we all live in this warm, share-it-all Web 2.0 world, why not let everything out? That’s what you’ve been telling us all these months. Let’s throw all the bad, ugly, damaging stuff out there on YouTube, etc. and let everyone see. Isn’t that what you’ve been saying?

    The truth is that ABC is releasing the list for the same reason NBC played Cho’s videos: Ratings. And if any bizdev guy at Yahoo!, Google, or YouTube got ahold of the list he’d do the same damn thing for the same damn reason, too.

    But, NBC’s decision to release Cho’s rantings will have much greater long-term impact in that it may influence others to follow in his path. I’m willing to bet there’s a messed-up 12-year old boy somewhere who, after seeing the Cho video, has a new hero–and it may only be a matter of time before this boy acts out on in imitation.

    ABC releasing the list may destroy some reputations, but NBC releasing the Cho video overshadowed the lives of those he murdered, and may well lead to lost lives in the future. Not to mention the flood of pure, toxic evil NBC released into our culture.

    I don’t think either should be released, and in a sane world neither would. There was a time when the gatekeepers at media thought about the greater good. Now I guess when there aren’t any more gatekeepers, you can’t tell us that one story should be spiked instead of another.

  • Paw

    Wow, Jeff, what happened to “it’s not journalism’s job to be safe”? Now you want boundaries? Who sets them from now on? You?

    Can’t have it both ways, Jeff.

  • Greg0658

    I agree with ya Eric on the VT Cho rants. Some things should stay in a locked box, and some not. Gatekeepers need to understand the gray line. Ands thats a wide line these days. Pied Piper story comes to mind.

    Should a hypocrite be revealed, yes usually.

    Can live sexual play Not cross a prostitution line, I think so.

    Should laws force an individual to incriminate him/her self, no.

    Websters defines prostitution as 1. intercourse for money or 2. devote to corrupt.

    MSM may be guilty of prostitution.

    I plead the 5th is saying, I did it. An individual should be able to outright lie in court to protect self. The prosecution needs to prove around that lie. This may be a pandoras box I would wish to take back some day, but right now I see a problem.

    Take Bill, Hillary, Monica and America. Should that have gone down that way, No. The guy was attempting to save the country and his marriage alot of pain. What a job, President for $400,000 + expenses.

    Lord Browne may be another example, maybe not. It’s a breaking story, and I’ve not heard all the evidence. Don’t really care if I do, seems smutty already.

  • Sorry Jeff…in principle, you’re sort-of right, but you’re playing King Canute, here: the tide is going to come in, regardless of what you wish.

    THAT particular horse got out of the barn ages ago and has long been out to stud (pun intended.) We’re not just talking Bill, Hillary and Monica, here…but Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, Rush Limbaugh (his affair with Oxy Contin was tres torrid…) etc. It doesn’t just apply to sex, as Greg0658 notes in his nod to Noah – it’s for druggies, racketeers, grifters, embezzlers, officials on the TAKE…this is what whistle-blowing is all ABOUT, man! Lies and hypocrisy, moral depravity and film at TEN.


    Explain to me, people, PLEASE, how Bill’s dalliances with Monica threatened national security?

    Answer: they didn’t. And he BALANCED the BUDGET.

    What somebody in public office does behind closed doors with another mature person at or above the age of consent is really nobody else’s business…unless they happen to be swapping unauthorized data disks. If an official is falling down on the job as a result, then performance issues should force an investigation. If the person is getting the job done – WHO CARES?

    But…America’s Manifest Stupidity continues to thirst for the prurient, in lieu of the relevant – and you can thank Citizen Murdoch for a hefty chunk of THAT particular Zeitgeist, folks. We can give a good deal of credit for more of it to the Mental Minority, too.

    Much as I may admire your sentiment, Jeff….it’s just too late…

  • Pingback: Readings: 2007-05-04 « Kempton’s blog()

  • I tend to agree with Mr. Downes above. If the people in the little phone book are moralizers who spend their daytime hours railing about the evils of sex and the lack of morality, only to spend their night hours cavorting with the ladies of the night, that certainly is news. Those hypocrites need to be exposed for what they truly are: liars with forked tongues. To paraphrase Tansley above, what people of consenting age do behind close doors is no one else’s business. It sure as heck is not the government’s business. So, if those in government who engage in such hypocrisy want to go after others, I say it is more than fair game to go after them. Not saying it’s right, but it would be fair play.

  • Dave Hackett

    I don’t disagree but the Bush administration and, until recently, the GOP majority in Congress has been awfully puritanical over the last several years. From Ashcroft clothing a bare-breasted statue, to hefty fines levied for uttering naughty words on the public airwaves to the whole gay-marriage thing, it seems to me that what we have here is flaming hypocrisy. I don’t see anything wrong with using the investigative resources of big media to illustrate that story.

  • Hunter McDaniel

    So let me get this straight – the clients should be outed if and only if they are Republicans?

  • ben

    No, Hunter, the ones that should be outed are the ones that shout the loudest for the prosecution of others. It just so happens to be that the loudest shouters, and the ones with the most power to persecute – until recently – have been members of the GOP.

    Perhaps you haven’t heard that the first to be outed was a high ranking Bushie that demanded “anti-prostitution” pledges from recipients of his departments services. An outwardly hardline abstinence pusher who demanded that people rigidly follow his (hypocritical, artificial and proven ineffective) code of morality that he himself flaunted.

    I feel that a copy of the list should be given to authorities and these people should be tried and convicted if they broke the laws THEY THEMSELVES CREATED TO PERSECUTE OTHERS. Dem or Rep. To suggest otherwise is to say there is a class of people above common decency and the law. I don’t understand how the madam can possibly think this kind of stunt can help her, unless it’s to try to foment change in the laws, to make people see that their outdated sense of morality (when it comes to sex and what people can do with their own bodies) is worthless and barbaric. I feel that as Americans, consenting adults have the right to do anything in their own space and time, be it (gasp) prostitution or drugs.

    Let them that think they can tell others what to do feel the weight of their own hubris.

  • Guy Love

    The politics of personal destruction marches on, we love whacking those who we perceive as enemies, but complain when they reciprocate the favor. As long as it is entertaining, sensational, and profitable, anything goes. Meanwhile, the apathy level goes up, the political class hunkers down in battle mode, and nothing ever seems to get accomplished. Then we all sit around and bitch about our screwed up system.

  • I find it somehow a positive. That we are still moral enough, aware enough to find sex scandalous…at least in politics…it is a good sign that we have not lost all our compass directions as to what is up and what is down in ethics and morality…of course…it does change over time…what was shocking to a Victorian is not even interesting to moderns. But that there are still taboos around, such as in this story, indicates something interesting in itself.