A Tale of Two Weeklies

LOS ANGELES—Oh, to have a real progressive weekly in Los Angeles! Instead, all we get is the LA Weekly, whose "bourgie" demeanor is on full display in its coverage of the adult entertainment industry, with which it appears to have a hate/hate affair. The LA Weekly's inner bitch has really come into its own with its coverage of Measure B, the L.A. County mandatory condom (and barrier protection) initiative that was just passed by voters. Rather than fully digesting the ramifactions of the law as it pertains to professionals and amateurs alike, the LA Weekly's attitude seems to be that the industry has it coming. One fully expects to see a headline one day along the lines of "Shut the Fuck Up Already and Put the Damn Dental Dam On!"

Think I'm exaggerating? Just check out a story from yesterday's LA Weekly as compared with a story from a real progressive weekly, the SF Weekly, a kissing cousin of the LA product but oh so different in terms of its progressive chops. Let's start with the SF Weekly story, shall we?

Posted in Architecture, it's headlined, "Get an Inside Look at the Armory's Porn Studio Sets," and contains five photos culled from a slideshow posted on California Home + Design of stage sets constructed by Kink.com in the San Francisco Armory. Devoid of any judgment or snidery, the SF Weekly article offers, "We thought this was pretty entertaining, so here's a couple of our personal favorite studio scenes. Just use your imagination..."

It's a slight piece, to be sure, but it's also entertaining in its own way and, more to the point, interesting and effective. If you're into either design or porn, the one-page article might make you want to either take the Kink.com armory tour or subscribe to one of their sites. It's kind of the perfect amalgam of news, information and marketing that also contains a nod to events taking place down south, stating in conclusion, "With the passing of a recent law requiring porn stars to wear condoms in Los Angeles County, the Armory might soon see a surge of new clients."

Well, that's certain to be the case if the LA Weekly has its way. The editorial staff probably thinks they've been even-handed in their coverage of the industry and its local travails, and to be fair they have provided the least amount of "balanced reporting" possible without having to forfeit their junior journalist cards, but the fact remains that what they did yesterday is all but par for the course for them, and it's getting a little old.

The article, by Dennis Romero, who has been the water carrier for all the pub's porn coverage, was about a study conducted by Adam & Eve of their customers to see how many approve or disapprove of condoms in porn. Adam & Eve, of course, is the storied adult company out of North Carolina that built up a massive direct marketing business back in the day and has been growing and going strong ever since. For many people it really is, as its tagline says, "The trusted adult superstore."

In an announcement posted to the site Nov. 13, the company explained its survey about condoms this way:

Hillsborough, NC — This month, California voted on Measure B, the condom-only mandate for the adult industry. In light of this, AdamAndEve.com, America’s most trusted source for adult products, asked over 1,000 American adults if the use of condoms in adult movies would affect their viewing habits. Nearly 32% of the respondents said that condom use in an adult movie would be a turn off, while 68% said it would not affect their viewing habits. Of the men polled, 36% said condoms would be a turn off and 64% said it would not be. And of the women, 16% said condoms would be a turn off and 84% said it would not be.

To be clear, nowhere in any of that does it say that people were asked specifically about Measure B, which adds fines and criminal sanctions imposed by the government to anyone who fails to abide by the new law. Instead, it says they were asked specifically about condoms in porn.

But the LA Weekly saw fit to headline its article with, "Porn's Condom Mandate Okay With A Majority Of Adult Video Watchers, Says Online Poll."

Where did they get that idea? Not from the survey. No, in their own inimitable way they apparently saw no harm in ascribing to the participants in that survey opinions about something they they were not actually asked about. Sixty-eight percent of the respondents said condoms would not affect their viewing; they did not say anything about Measure B, or whether it's the government's job to force condoms on people. It is the LA Weekly that put those words into their mouths, which put some words in our mouths. Something along the lines of ... stuff a dental dam in it!

See? That's the sort of unnecessarily hostile reaction that a publication like the LA Weekly can get out of someone who is otherwise as passive as a pussycat. Now I feel bad. Why can't they be more like the SF Weekly, which can be acerbic without being a holy bitch about it? After all, we're all progressives at the end of the day... aren't we?