Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Cloak-and-Dagger Journalists Need to Read Their Own Publication

Croydon, LondonImage by Mark Grealish via Flickr
Across the Pond, from whence Monty Python sprang, comes an amusing story in The Guardian concerning its ink-stained, red-faced brethren at The Croydon Advertiser.

Seems an intrepid Advertiser reporter went undercover--no pun intended--posing as a "john" to expose--still no pun intended--a brothel operating as a massage parlor. The results of the reporter's probe--slight pun intended--appeared in a story under the headline: Sinister brothel uncovered next to charity office, proving that charity begins at home (if your home is a house of ill-repute).

Ah, but here's the rub. Had the fearless scribe turned to page 52 of The Croydon Advertiser, he would have found an ad for the same "fantasy massage" parlor he went to great lengths to uncover. The Croydon Community Against Trafficking ("CCAT") alleges the brothel has regularly promoted itself in the Advertiser for years, and that the CCAT previously has flagged the enterprise to the newspaper.

In a spin worthy of a politician's shill, the editorial director of  Advertiser parent Northcliff  Media's south-east weeklies issued a statement that although the Sexual Offences Act of 1956 proscribes operating a house of prostitution, it is not against the law to accept advertisements for brothels.

Still, the Advertiser may want to address its advertising policy at its next board-ello meeting.
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