Sunday, June 22, 2008

CityBeat's Community Values

There's always something happening on the River. So goes the words of an old song.

In Cincinnati it's a fray between the Citizens for Community Values and CityBeat, a newspaper that is distributed for free to anyone curious about the liberal slant in the city.

First here is a little history. The Citizens for Community Values is an organization started and run by a fellow named Phil Burress.

He is a former union negotiator for trucking companies and is now working full time in his crusade to save Cincinnati from porno, pandering and strip clubs. He has been quite successful in his venture. He has also developed a reputation as a bully by doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Phil acknowledges that he was a former porn addict and by turning away from that lifestyle he saved his life.

CityBeat can be found in dispensers around the city for free. It is published on a weekly basis and it a nice source of what is going on around the greater Cincinnati area. The news and editorial content of the paper are extreme left wing and in my opinion sometimes border on being ridiculous. But then there are some columns that are very enjoyable to read. By the fact that I am aware of the papers content demonstrates that I look at it on a regular basis.

So why the fray? In it's back pages CityBeat includes many adult services advertisements. Adult services are code words for prostituion, but I suppose you cannot say what you are really selling and still maintain an air of legality. Some of the advertisements are fairly large and others are 3 line classified ads.

A month ago there was a major prostituion raid in Cincinnati, southern Indiana and northern Kentucky that shut down a number of Asian massage parlors. These establishments were well advertised in CityBeat.

The owners of the parlors/brothels were all of Asian descent. It was determined by law enforcement the owners had brought young women into the country for the sole purpose of prostitution. In an effort to give the appearance of legality the owners stated they were merely receiving 100% of the money the ladies obtained for the legitimate massage and any profiting by the women was up to those women. They further admitted that was the only way the ladies were paid.

The CCV held a press conference to announce it's plans to require CityBeat to stop running ads for adult services. The organization had signatures of prominent Cincinnati officials on it's petition. CityBeat was not invited to attend the conference. CityBeat later unleased an editorial and held it's own press conference on Fountain Square. Their reply was they would do what they damn well pleased and would the CCV mind it's own business.

In my opinion, people that are looking for prostitution are going to find it. As the world's oldest profession it is sadly not going away. It is a sad, sad business that is morally, physically and spiritually degrading to both parties. I have to agree with the Citizens Committee when they said that CityBeat's continuation of the ads is all about money. Those ads pay the rent. 

On the other hand, CityBeat points out that other publications, such as the phone directory also carry those advertisements.

What really bothers me is what touched off this debate. One of the indicted owners of the Asian massage parlors admitted to the police that she had driven 40,000 miles this past year delivering girls to massage parlors throughout the country. To get this same lady out of jail, her bail was set at $50,000 cash. Her husband posted the bail by reaching in his pocket for a large roll of bills and pulled out $50K, handed it to the baliff and stuffed the rest in his slacks.

These people are making a very large amount of money by dealing in human trafficking aka slavery. If CityBeat continues to run ads promoting this type of business, they are turning a blind eye to a shameful problem. And that is wrong!

150 years ago in this same part of the country were printing firms that produced newspapers and posted advertisements for slave auctions. The Toni Morrison book, movie and opera about Margaret Garner, the escaped slave that killed her daughter, to prevent her child from being returned to slavery actually occurred not far from where I now sit.

I would think that CityBeat, a liberal publication that prides itself on sharing the views of the downtrodden and promotes freedom and free thought, would abhor slavery. Yet they are vehement in their right to publish advertisements for businesses that promote human trafficking.

Why would they want to stand toe to toe with those printers and publishers that in years gone by printed posters announcing sales of slaves? Were not those same enteprenuers as culpable in the slave trade as the slave owners?

I'll tell you the reason. Money!


rockets2mars said...

Time Warner provides thousands with the Internet, where I can buy prostitutes and look at graphic pornography (even bestiality!). So CCV can go after them next — shut down the Internet! The Yellow Pages has several pages of ads for "massage parlors." They're next. The Yellow Pages is put on more door stoop every year; I have to actually PICK UP a CityBeat, if I WANT to read it.

If someone sells a used car in CityBeat's classifieds and it turns out it is a lemon and it blows up and kills a bunch of people, is CityBeat responsible? If you see an ad for a restaurant in CityBeat and go eat there, get food poisoning and die, is that CityBeat's fault too.

CityBeat shouldn't punish legit advertisers for the illegal actions of a few. Believe it or not, massage and escorting is NOT illegal. If you have a problem with that, take it to your government officials. Don't blame one newspaper for the entire sex trade.

And the ads you show here aren't from CityBeat (very misleading). CityBeat stopped running the more explicit photos years ago. Pick up a fresh copy and you'll see that. The CityBeat with the penguin on the cover is at least 10 years old.

Oh, and CityBeat is very concerned about human traficking and slavery. So much that they did a big article on it recently. Unlike every other publication/media outlet in Cincinnati.

MarcO said...

Thank you rockets2mars for your comment and thoughts. I attempted to email you personally, but your profile is disabled.

If everyone had the same thoughts and opinions that I have, the world would be a very dull place.

I do not agree with you, but diversity keeps us real.

First explanation, the images I use are public domain. AP seems to be very concerned about use of their photos. Although my blog is just a place to vent, I don't want problems with copyright infringement. The image of an old Citybeat is an image of an old issue. The adult ad image is public domain and not the same as current ads in Citybeat. The new ads are perhaps less visually explicit, but the message is no different than in the past. To these points, you are correct.

Your point about the magazine policing it's advertisements is well taken, but the comparison about bad cars and food establishments is off the mark.

Car dealers and restaurants are licensed and monitored by the government and acceptable to society. There very well could be unscrupulous behavior in any business. But these businesses are by public standards legitimate. I agree if there is a problem with such merchants the government and the courts are the place to take action. We've seen this happen recently with several individual auto dealerships. As far as restaurants go you no longer see ChiChi's.

I agree that CityBeat is not the only source of advertisments for "adult services". However my rant is against those services that would promote human trafficking. If Time Warner/The Yellow Pages/Rueben Donnelly and others are advertising establishments that deal in this behavior then shame on them.

The recent arrest of five or so people that owned Asian massage parlors in the Cincinnati, Indiana and Northern Kentucky area were carried out not only by local law enforcement, but by the FBI and other national agencies.

Those indicted admitted to not reporting income tax, moving people interstate for the purpose of prostitution and not paying those engaged as massuers for their services, but letting them collect fees for the sexual favors they performed on customers.

Perhaps CityBeat was unaware of the consequences of the paid space in it's back pages. Let me explain.

Many businesses have mandatory policy concerning education to detect potential money laundering. It is obvious that is why the Federal agencies were involved in this raid and at least 3 or 4 others in the area within the past several years.

Not only are the women used in the prostitution racket being exploited and enslaved, the possibility exists that much of the money earned from these ventures wound up in the hands of those who would terrorize our nation. According to local news of the raids, the businesses have been monitored for at least five years. I would imagine the bank records and cash transactions of those establishments are included in the indictments. It is unconscionable to run advertisements for businesses engaged in illeagle interstate activity, prostitution and money laundering. How do you determine legitimate advertisments? Common sense would be a start.

I do not recall CityBeats article about human trafficking. I recall the Enquirer doing an article about a teacher from eastern Cincy that grew up in Haiti an was enslaved as a child. However I would be interested in reading the articles. CityBeat has brought out points of view on public issues that you will not find in other local sources.

Thank you again for your comments.
Best wishes,

AdamRCohen said...

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