Monday, April 30, 2007

Sweeps Month Brings Out Crummy Journalism Like NBC's Affiliate In Portland, KGW

As sure as clockwork you can expect downright crummy, if not openly libelous journalism during May sweeps, where journalistic integrity takes a back seat to sensationalism. Tonight on the 11pm Portland, Oregon news by NBC affiliate, KGW, you have an excellent example of that.

KGW is running a trashy and sensationalistic story on nude dancing in strip clubs, complete with an outrageous character assasination of the club owner responsible for opening this bar in a neighborhood. One local resident is interviewed who claims that it will bring "drugs and prostitution back in the neighborhood". Wait a minute. Anyone who opens a tavern must pass a criminal background check by the Oregon Liqour Control Commission. No one with arrests or convictions for serious crimes such as drugs or prostitution could even be given a liquor license. How can KGW honestly air a false witness such as this who is clearly making up information, when they know this testimony is false? And KGW is willing to look the other way with possible libel, character assasination ot even FCC violations for knowingly offfering phony news like this simply because of the ratings benefits of airing such phony news, even if the news is pure trash, false and merely sensationalistic.

Has there ever been a history of strip clubs in Oregon profitting from prostitution? In only one case that dates back about 15 years, one dancer got a little drunk at one club and engaged in oral sex with a customer. The club was busted for prostitution, and even a carpenter who worked at the club was sent to jail over this one incident. No club would want to risk jail or prison for the management or the seizure of the company assets over prostitution. These businesses may not be welcome news by many residents in a neighborhood. Yet there is not any real evidence to say that as a whole they are any worse magnet for some illegal activity than any other type of tavern or bar. Police crime statistics prove this point.

KGW has no more business claiming that some bar owner who opens a bar will cause serious crimes in a neighborhood like drugs or prostitution if there is no reasonable evidence or facts to support that this club owner was ever involved in such criminal activity, or has any history of related crimes. Where is the proof of KGW to justify such a smear attack on the character of a tavern or bar owner? At this rate, KGW could present some false witness who claims that any businessman is a drug dealer, a pimp, a serial killer, or any other nonsense, with no proof.

The management of KGW is smart enough to know when someone is a crank, a bad witness, or even mentally ill. Yet to present a terrible witness like this as a credible source is simply bad journalism of the very worst variety. KGW is also a major hypocrite on the topic of adult businesses. Not that long ago they were running late night ads for Taboo Video, an adult video store. And only recently have been airing ads for a business for women to sell sex aids, that are actually illegal to sell in a number of Southern states and Texas. In Houston, a housewife was arrested for offering for sale products from this company that violated local obscene device laws.

As a whole I don't like taverns or bars. I hate both smoking and drinking. I wish there were less bars in general. But KGW has no legal grounds to falsely attack the character of some bar owner suggesting that he will be involved in serious crimes if no proof exists to back up this outrageous character attack. This is purely libel.

But KGW is not alone. Other stations will throw together quick sleazy stories just to draw in May sweeps ratings. Such is the type of journalism you can expect during May sweeps. Some things that are absolutely false and pure libel will be aired just for the sake of ratings.


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