Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Chronicle's Sex Show Coverage

I’ve posted here concerning the Sex Worker’s Art Show Duke University recently sponsored. Duke Students for an Ethical Duke has a number of posts on the show ( here and here, for example) as does Liestoppers (here and here, among others).

Duke’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Larry Moneta, one of Duke’s most outspoken supporters of the show, says it helps promote a “healthy lifestyle.”

But Moneta doesn’t say exactly how a show hyping strippers, prostitution and sadomasochism promotes a “healthy lifestyle.” I guess he wants us to figure that out for ourselves.

Anyway, I learned this morning at Liestoppers Forum that Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, is looking for sources for stories about the sex show.

Chronicle reporter Tina Mao wrote Duke student Ken Larrey who posted her email [extract]:

Also, is there anybody else you think I should talk to? Currently, I'm planning on talking to the show's founder Annie Oakley, Larry Moneta, William Purdy, and a few students. If you know someone who might be a good source, that would be a great help.
I just sent the following email to Reporter Mao.

Dear Ms. Mao:

Regarding sources for stories concerning the sex workers show Duke recently sponsored, the first two people I thought of are Crystal Mangum and Kim Roberts.

The Chronicle missed a major news reporting opportunity by not inviting both women to view the show and comment afterwards for your readers.

Professor Tim Tyson is surely someone The Chronicle will want to interview.

Recall on April 2, 2006 he told Raleigh N&O readers:

”Young white men of privilege deployed their unearned affluence to hire black women to provide live pornography. This is only partly a free market, where people choose to buy and sell themselves. It is also a slave market, where an enduring racial caste system placed those women in a vulnerable position?”
How does Tyson feel about the recent sex show?

Does he worry it might influence “[y]oung white men of privilege?"

What about men and women of all races who are privileged or not? Does Professor Tyson worry about them?

Or does Tyson agree with Moneta that the show promotes a “healthy lifestyle?”

Chronicle readers would be interested in Tyson’s answers, don't you think?

Why has The Chronicle ignored the Rev. Canon Dr. Samuel Wells, dean of Duke Chapel?

Wells had so much to say after the lacrosse party. What’s he saying now about a sex show performed within sight and sound of the Chapel?

After the lacrosse party Athletic Director Joe Alleva posted the following statement at the University’s Web site:
"The judgment of the team members to host and participate in this event is inconsistent with the values of Duke Athletics and Duke University and is unacceptable."
What does Alleva say about the judgment of the Women’s Center and all the other groups at Duke which sponsored the show? Does he agree with their values?

Does he go along with the “it’s all about free speech” meme?

And what about President Brodhead? Why hasn't The Chronicle interviewed him?

The word on campus is that Brodhead knew in advance of the sex show and raised no objection.

But "the word on campus" is not the same as Brodhead confirming to The Chronicle what he said .

Perhaps his position is being misrepresented. He may have objected to the show.

Brodhead may even have said something like, “Whatever the sex workers do will be bad enough.”

Either way, the Duke community ought to know Brodhead's position and The Chronicle ought to tell us.

Why isn't The Chronicle getting Brodhead on the record?

Is it because Brodhead doesn't want The Chronicle asking him?

The Chronicle’s coverage of the sex show has been very inadequate.

As so often with other important events this year, The Chronicle’s reporting and editorializing concerning the sex show seems more influenced by “What will the Allen Building think?” than by “What’s the news?”

If you care to make a response, I’ll publish it in full at my blog.

I would invite Editor David Graham to respond, but he hasn't responded to invitations in the past except to say he wanted everything "off the record," something I wouldn't agree to.

Thank you for your attention to this email.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

Wat to go John!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I would really like to see that letter published IN the Chronicle.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

You have to publish fast and often - the Chronicle seems to be wiping comments off the board almost as fast as they go up.

Anonymous said...

The Chronicle won't ask Brodhead any questions unless Burness says it's OK.

Graham won't risk the grad school recommendations he's hoping to get for his "services."

Anonymous said...

I hear that Ken Larrey's responses were deleted by none other than David Graham himself!

Lacey said...

John, you know you have a reputation of a gadfly. Those things people just want to swat away because they are nuisances. I bet the N+O just tosses your letters. Or do you write them just so you can post them in your blog? You never add a new opinion to any of this, so maybe until you have a new or original idea, you might take a "hiatus."
(Of course, KC has been promising this forever, but his own obsessions prevent it. Hey, how about a blog post on this!?)

Anonymous said...

I would also ask duke's attorney what he thinks - normally consistency of response is of primary importance in legal questions. This is inconsistent with the universities response to the lacrosse incident. Unless the mistake the lax team made was that their event wasn't officially sponsored by the university.

Anonymous said...


KC and Deborah are obsessed with each other.
That makes it hard to go on "hiatus".

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am very glad you care enough to continue. If more people showed the dedication you have to truth and justice, we wouldn't have the problems we do today. Keep up the good work.

I second the suggestion of interviewing an attorney as to whether the Sex Show will adversely affect Duke's defense of their response to the Lacrosse Party.

Ryan said...

Learning to write concisely--especially in e-mails--should be your top priority right now.

Otherwise, nice thought-provoking questions.