Industry News

I Died For Your Sins

I write in The Los Angeles Times to KTLA’s Eric Spillman:

As a blogger, I am despised and rejected of journalists, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

I gave my back to the smiters, and hid not my face from shame and spitting. I have borne your griefs and carried your sorrows. I was wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquities, and with my stripes you are healed.

It seemed like just an ordinary January day in 1999, when, in the course of doing my journalistic due diligence, I came across topless porn actress Nancy Vee walking in a garden. With no thought for my own dignity, I selflessly and immediately threw my hands over her chest to preserve her honor (this is forever immortalized on certain JPEGs floating around the Internet).

Similarly, Eric, by breaking the Antonio Villaraigosa story, I covered up your journalistic nakedness. I took the shame of writing about the mayor’s sex life onto myself so that you and your peers could follow up with the mayor: “Tony, we hate to ask you this, but there’s this darn blog…”

Reporting is now a profession. It goes by the fancy name of “journalism.” It’s a major in dozens of universities, and you can even go to graduate school to study it. Journalism has this ponderous code of ethics, and its practitioners at the big-city level are overwhelmingly bourgeois. They don’t want to write, unbidden, about somebody’s sex life because they are above such things (also, journalists are overwhelmingly secular, and they don’t want to be outed when they screw around).

It sounds noble to eschew penetrating a politician’s private life. But if you argue that the mayor’s sex life is not important, then you must also argue that the mayor as a person is not important. It’s one thing if you want to devote your news organization solely to covering the issues, but once you start covering personalities, you can’t always avoid sex, particularly if it violates communal norms. What if a politician is committing incest? Would you ignore that so long as it does not affect his work? What if he has a taste for rough trade and shows up to news conferences with bruises?

Nobody writes about Meryl Streep’s sex life, or Jimmy Carter’s, because they carry themselves in this respect with dignity. The mayor, however, is a reckless philanderer. Angelenos deserve to know whom he’s banging — after all, it’s the person you most consistently have sex with who usually has the most influence over you.

Affairs make a public figure susceptible to blackmail and to conflicts of interest, not to mention lawsuits and bribery. I know I’d be willing to devote my blog to any subject a particular hottie reporter desired if she’d only have dinner with me.

There are many problems with reporting on somebody’s sex life. It’s difficult to prove since the action usually goes on behind closed doors. Still, it is possible to ascertain who the mayor is spending his quality time with. Maybe they’re just studying Shakespeare?

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