Open Letter to N.Y. Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan: Why I stopped reading the N.Y. Post.
NEWS RELEASE from MORALITY IN MEDIA, Inc.
NEW YORK (September 26, 2007) – Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, sent the following letter to N.Y. Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan on September 25, 2007.
Col Allan, Editor-in-Chief
New York Post
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
RE: WHY I HAVE STOPPED READING THE N.Y. POST
Dear Mr. Allan:
On Monday, I decided to stop reading the N.Y. Post, a paper I have been reading for almost 30 years. I decided to stop when I flipped the page and arrived at a full-page Jordache ad depicting a topless woman looking at herself in a double mirror, so that readers got a double exposure of her bare breasts.
Had this been an aberration, I would still be purchasing the paper, but Monday’s Jordache ad was the fifth time since August that the Post has published a half-page or full-page photograph of a topless woman. This isn’t an aberration. It’s crass commercial exploitation of sex. It’s also voyeurism.
It’s also an escalation of the “tabloid war” in a direction that I for one don’t want to go.
In media interviews and speaking engagements I sometimes say that there are times when a person has to do what he or she thinks is right, even if no one else is willing to lift a finger. So frankly, sir, I don’t give a kangaroo (or two) whether anyone else follows my example.
My wife works in the contemporary art world, so I have been exposed to nudity in art. It’s not my cup of tea, but as long as it is shown in a gallery or museum as art (not for its shock value), I don’t concern myself about it. Furthermore, I don’t see it often; and if I don’t like what I see, I can look elsewhere. I may also choose not to return to that gallery or museum for a long time, if ever. Furthermore, as much as I appreciate great art, viewing art is not a prerequisite to being a good citizen or a good neighbor.
But to me, major city daily newspapers are special. They are special because they play an important role in the preservation of our democracy. If Abraham Lincoln was on the mark when he said that ours was a government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” then to a great degree the worth of our government (and nation) depends on the knowledge and virtue of the American people.
The Post and the N.Y. Daily News have been special to me because I came to admire their competition, creativity, humor, guts, bold manner of calling attention to things that merit attention, and on occasion even the bold manner of calling attention to things that don’t matter! I also came to admire, until now, your mutual sense of knowing when to stop pushing the “tabloid” envelope.
I regret that this small joy in my life has come to an end, although I should add that I don’t think my real wife will be heart broken since she often refers to my newspapers as “your wife.”
You might be asking “What’s the big deal about a little nudity in a Big City daily newspaper?” Well, if nudity is no big deal, why don’t you authorize all Post employees to show up for work tomorrow in their birthday suits or, better yet, why don’t you show up for work in yours?
I would add that to a significant extent the hellish “sexual revolution,” that is still wreaking havoc across America, was launched with a little nudity in Playboy magazine.
I would also add that sex material that is originally perceived as taboo-breaking or arousing will in time be seen as acceptable and commonplace. That leaves the exploiter of sex with two choices. Back off or escalate the exploitation even further. I would hate to see the Post do for newspapers what FOX TV Entertainment did for broadcast programming – i.e., drag them into the gutter.
I can only hope that the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Daily News have better sense than the chairman and editor-in-chief of the Post. Citizens should not have to endure smut to stay informed.
On occasion I am accused of trying to impose “my religion” on the American people. That isn’t true. I do believe that a “basic level of morality” is necessary for the good of any nation and that we “the people” are in the process of trampling underfoot what little is left of our nation’s moral heritage. How foolish to think we can do so and remain the great country that we became.
President of Morality in Media
Author: MIM 09/26/2007