Friday, February 1, 2008

EDITORIAL: New Era Exploits Sex to Boost Circulation

On Jan. 23, the faltering Lancaster evening paper ran a front page, five column headline: "Sex for sale. Dozens of local women on Internet's Craiglist offering 'erotic services'."

Not only did the New Era offer titillating and salacious materials, but it backhandedly promoted as a means to obtain sexual services.

The article begins: "'I will make you tingle & shiver as I deliver my sexy attitude ALL over your body,' she says. Dianne will tell you more if you visit her home on Route 30 East."

Midway it describes how the Harrisburg Police have arrested Craigslist advertisers on charges of prostitution.

It concludes with "Another woman, whose ad claims only that she offers a 'sensual, exotic experience,' also said she charges $200 an hour for a massage. Why that much?"

The New Era is supposed to be Lancaster's conservative newspaper that espouses 'family values.' What sort of values is the New Era inculcating in our teen age girls and boys when youngsters encounter the top of the front page of the evening paper devoted to smut?

This isn't a matter of a momentary lapse on the part of the New Era. Ernie Schreiber, Editor in Chief, seizes opportunities to run front page articles with photos of women accused (not convicted!) of soliciting for sex.

Apparently he believes that the readership of the conservative New Era suppresses their sexuality but are aroused by 'tut tut' descriptions of the promiscuous activities of others. In short, "Sex sells newspapers."

There might be some excuse if the story about the ready availability of paid sex was less salacious and discretely tucked into a back page, or was the subject for an editorial.

Schreiber has a reputation for having been a good investigative reporter prior to being promoted to editor. It is both ironic and tragic that the restraints that ownership has placed on the monopoly newspapers prevent Schreiber from expanding circulation by exposing and thus preventing the unfeasible and ridiculously costly convention center and the latest lame brain power elite scheme to bring trolley cars back to Lancaster.

Our recommendation: Stick with plus or, if spend you must, change your subscription to the Intelligencer Journal. The Intell may be more liberal, but it supports family values.