Pander and Slime

February 24, 2004

Via Scribblingwoman I find a fine example of the local media at their finest.

According to Wood TV 8, of Grand Rapids Michigan

It is natural to assume that magazines purchased through a school fundraising drive would be suitable for children, especially since children are the ones doing the buying and selling. So you can imagine a Grandville mom's surprise when her daughter was able to order a magazine full of sexual content.
The magazine? None other than that notorious purveyor of porn, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. I read that in high school; I am tempted to see if the local public library carries it.

QSP, a rebundler that packages magazines for school fund raisers, had included Asimov's in their list of titles, in the "Science/Technology/Environmental" category not the "Children" category, and one teenager decided that she wanted it. Lo and behold, Mom picked up the magazine

Inside the magazine she found various short stories, science fiction, yes, but with strong adult content.

Becker read some of the explicit tales about sex, drugs and molestation inside the magazine for us that included, "Young girls with no panties, young girls in white socks, young girls looking at his wank-mags with him, young girls doing it with one another while he watched."

From context, it appears that one of the stories was about a character who was involved in a somewhat sordid lifestyle. Fair enough, the magazine is aimed at readers in their twenties and thirties - but these actions were mentioned and not described, a crucial difference except when you are trying to make a ratings point.

Luckily, the local TV news crew were on the story.

As we mentioned, since 24 Hour News 8 started this investigation, QSP has permanently severed its relationship with this science fiction magazine.

The magazine responded. And, of course, there was no mention of this response anywhere on Woodtv's web site (I checked). I wonder why not? Perhaps because, according to Asimov's press release

When reporter Kristi Andersen called our business offices, our Associate Publisher, Chris Begley, provided her with verifiable documentation that directly contradicts the information provided in her broadcast and print reports.
Of course, the facts might have gotten in the way of a nice juicy story, especially because she was then able to claim that due to her valiant coverage QSP had dropped Asimov's from its list - Asimov's documents show that they had fired QSP 2 weeks earlier in a dispute over the financial terms of their agreement. But what is a simple matter of timing to a sensational story?

As Brad DeLong repeats again and again, Why can't we have a better press corps? Asimov's' answer: In our opinion, Ms. Andersen and the News 8 channel are not practicing journalism, but sensationalism. They know, better than most, that "sex sells."

I know that journalism is hard, especially on a deadline. But still, willful misrepresentation for prurient reasons? Shame on wood tv 8.

Oh, and for those who care about the "liberal bias" in the media, TV 8 is an NBC affiliate.

WOOD TV8 Technical Specifications
Network Service: NBC
Licensee: LCH Communications Inc., 4 Richmond Square, Providence, RI 02906
Studio: 120 College Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Telephone: 616-456-8888
FAX: 616-456-9169

Posted by Red Ted at February 24, 2004 04:38 AM | TrackBack

"Reporter Kristi Andersen and the News 8 anchors portrayed Asimovís as a pornographic magazine. They characterized it as "full of sexual content," "an adults-only magazine," and said that it "contained stories about sex, drugs, and molestation." Probably because it doesnít fit with their one-sided characterization, they did not mention that Asimovís is a highly respected literary magazine."

Can't it be both?

Posted by: DFH at March 2, 2004 05:34 AM
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