Thursday, May 01, 2008

"Mainstream media" slams TMZ over boy sex

We've done a lot of jumping up and down about the immoral doings of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com-- with little support from the "mainstream media." Today that's all likely change, and even the one who use the gutter site as a source will jump on board, now that the following Associated Press story is featured on their cheat sheet, The Drudge Report:

TMZ identifies 14-year-old alleged sex crime victim

Apr 30, 9:00 PM (ET)


NEW YORK (AP) - Breaking with standards widely followed by the mainstream news media, the celebrity Web site TMZ posted a story Wednesday about a 14-year-old who's a movie star's son and an alleged sex crime victim, and it ran the boy's picture.

The story said the boy was in a relationship with a 22-year-old woman, whose ex-boyfriend tipped off police that she was having sex with a minor. Police have opened an investigation, the story said.

Almost all news organizations refrain from identifying sex crime victims, let alone show their picture, because of the stigma often attached to it, said Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the journalism think tank Poynter Institute. The Associated Press' policy is not to identify people in such cases.

"The reason the story is even interesting to TMZ is because of who the child is," McBride said. "I'm not sure that alone is enough to justify" identifying the boy.

Harvey Levin, managing editor of TMZ, refused to speak about the decision to run the story.

"The story speaks for itself," he said through a spokeswoman.

The story was not reported on the Web site's syndicated television show.

TMZ is owned by Time Warner Inc. (TWX), the media conglomerate which also owns Time Warner Cable, Warner Bros., the magazine publisher Time Inc. and a group of cable channels that includes HBO, CNN, TBS and TNT. A Time Warner spokesman referred calls on the matter to the company's Telepictures division, and a spokeswoman for Telepictures did not immediately return a call for comment.

If the victim in this case were a girl, McBride said she's not sure TMZ would have made the same decision.

"They think, 'Good for this boy, when any young boy has sex with an older woman it's not a crime'," she said, "when of course it is. It's just as harmful for boys as it is for girls."

The Internet means that the gatekeepers who traditionally control the news are no longer in charge, said Jay Rosen, a New York University professor who runs the Web site Press Think.
In many cases, such as coverage of politics, that's a good thing, he added.

"This, to me, is not one of those cases," Rosen said. "There are very good reasons for keeping these names out of the news no matter how much interest there is in them."


Anonymous said...

Booooring. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, Tabloid Baby.

Anonymous said...

thank g-d for tabloidbaby brave enough to stand against the powerful devils. a voice in the wilderness but not 4 long

jimspice said...

My response to TMZ advertisers:

I am disappointed that a reputable business such as yours would choose to advertise on a website that identifies underage victims of sex crimes. I strongly urge you to pull your advertising from TMZ.com


Anonymous said...

While we're at it, let's all not buy gas this Wednesday! We'll show those gas companies!

Anonymous said...

Not always on board with everything on TB baby. But look. This is a no brainer. If you are commenting on this blog be clear on one thing - to attack anyone for defending children...CHILDREN.. is an obscenity in itself - and just as infuriating as the original offense.

If you work in any kind of media and you support publishing names of minors in sexual cases or exploiting them sexually in photo spreads in your job. Or even if you look the other way. Three words. Shame on you.

TMZ and Vanity Fair are as hopelessly out of line as they are powerful - and need to be called on it.

I could do with a lot less of the incessant non- baseball in Israel (yawn) - but TB baby is absolutely dead on target here. Good job.

Anonymous said...