Thursday, December 08, 2005

Inappropriate content on the front of boston.com

Boson.com has a new feature on their front page that lists the most emailed stories. One story has been there for 9 days now: "Man pleads guilty to horse-sex case."

Okay, I don't know about you all, but when I was a kid, I read the paper. When I was a kid, I did not know what beastiality was. These are both good things.

This article is being constantly pushed towards the eyes of anyone visiting boston.com. Yeah, I know there's a lot of worse stuff on the web, but boston.com is a respected web site representing the primary newspaper for one of America's largest cities. Its content should not hold details on a story more befitting a different kind of site.

A sentence from the article:
Tait admitted to officers that he entered a neighboring barn last July with friend Kenneth Pinyan to have sex with a horse, charging papers said.

I really believe that boston.com needs to find some kind of filter if they want to continue to use their little "most emailed" feature. I don't have kids, but if I did, I'd be pretty upset about this headline being shown to them every time they wanted to read the paper.


How's that for irony?

15 comments:

Horace Finkle said...

I am a kid and I agree completely. I don't even like to watch the news because it is so awful most days. Keep writing. Your blog is definitely worth bookmarking!

Check out: www.horacefinkle.blogspot.com

Mane the Mean said...

Yes, ignorance is a bliss. Forced ignorance is a mega-bliss. Censorship is giga-bliss.

I think it is good to have such things visible. It show the level of civilization and political interest of readership.

By the way, horse/sheep/etc sex is somewhat common with sheppards. I read about it somewhere.

Mane the Mean said...

A question: would you censor also stories about rapes, murders, torture (by USA or some other government), traffic accidents? Where would you draw the line? What is acceptable for common public, what is acceptable for kids?

It is a very slippery slope you are proposing.

Ilana said...

So when you were growing up, you were just as likely to sit at the dinner table and talk about having sex with an animal as you were to talk about murders? Dude. That's pretty f*cked up right there.

Kids need to be aware of murders. Like it or not, they are at risk and need to know. In this case, ignorance is dangerous. Rapes should also be explained to a level appropriate to the age of the child. However, unless someone turns one of the kids into a sheep, they do not need to be protected from beastiality.

Edward Prisby said...

BEat ya to it on my Dec. 1 post. But my complaint wasn't that the story was crass, but rather, that we live in a community where the story garnering the most attention was the horse-sex story, not the pulling out of Iraq story.

paul b said...

I guess the "big question" is what constitutes a newsworthy story? That is, what value does the story provide to the enlighten the public? Besides possibly addressing animal crulty, the article provides little value, and the saliscious nature is an attempt to attract readers. Meanwhile, to use the torture example, the substantiated allegations are valuable, since they enlighten the public on the plight of others at the hands of governmental representatives.

Additionally, I believe there is a distinct difference between exercising control over content and censorship. Content control is simply a filter to ensure integrity, particularly journalistic integrity that seems to be lacking in the past few years. Meanwhile, censorship is the attempt to prevent valuable and enlightening information from its proper dissemination among the masses.

Bob said...

The moral of the story is, if you're going to have sex with a horse, make sure you tie down its legs first.

Cybersam said...

I have to agree with Paul B. here. This has nothing to do with ignorance and censorship but content appropriateness.

Bomber said...

Well, I think the point has been made - since the story is still being talked about, then it is news. Who is Boston.com to pull the plug on it? If you want someone to blame, then blame society for keeping the story alive.

Content control and censorship are the same. What is news to one person, may not be news to another person. The fact remains that the news, like everything, is a capalistic venture. Check out the news stories during "sweeps" month.

Oh, and it is not the job of Boston.com to control what is on their site - it is the job of the parent(s).

Ilana said...

Dude, I worked for CNN for five years. I know about news as a business, trust me.

Don't censor it, but don't stick it in our faces either. It's not news anymore--it's old. It's been there nine days. I'm not saying to remove it, just don't stick it front and center where every kid is going to see it.

People come to boston.com with a certain expectation. They don't go there to see horse sex stories.

Bomber said...

How do you know what people go to Boston.com for? And besides that the Horse sex story isn't being pushed as news, it is just up there as "Most Emailed Stories"

Mane the Mean said...

I think kids get to know about bestiality at very young age just like they get to know of all the things adults try to protect them from.

Maybe they will just read about it in the Bible:

Leviticus 18:23, NIV. "Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion."

Ilana said...

It's a news site, Jeremy. People go there for the news. Here is their statement of purpose: Boston.com is part of New York Times Digital, the Internet division of The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT). New York Times Digital (NYTD) includes market leaders NYTimes.com, Boston.com and an archive distribution business. NYTD's mission is to provide a high-quality, worldwide online audience with trusted editorial content from The New York Times and The Boston Globe. (No need to fret, we're still Sox fans through and through.)

You can throw all the "I'm (almost) a lawyer" quotes at me that you want. I will continue to refer back to my experience at CNN.com: people go to news sites for news. If they want to read about sex with horses, then they can go to sexwithhorses.com or something.

A touch of salaciousness is bound to get into the news. However, to have such a story on the front page for so long is, in my opinion, crossing the line.

Mane the Mean said...

Hmm, I actually read the article.

First, the guy was quilty of trespassing, not bestiality. Second, the news article does not provide any graphical or other detail of bestiality. Actually, it is not even clear whether any bestiality took place. At least the news does not tell.

So, I do not see anything offensice or indecent in this news. It is just a normal report of a court case.

So, what is the big deal here? Why should such news be hidden? I think some of us are now a bit too sensitive or something.

And yes, people want to read news about court cases. Actually, court cases seem to be a favorite topic in US news and entertainment.

Cybersam said...

Dude, we are not saying that we should censor the news. Let's not introduce new words that deviates from the original theme of the blog entry when it was appropriateness that was first argued on Ilana's blog. Since you mentioned news worthiness, let's talk in terms of news worthiness.

The news article shouldn't deserve to be on the front page when there are other news that matters. Don't you think that the latest development in Iraq, the conference on climate change in Montreal, or Condoleezza Rice's tour of Europe are more news worthy than a guy having sex with a horse? The news may not have been explicit in describing the bestial act, but in terms of news worthiness and appropriateness, I think it deserved to be placed NOT ON THE FRONT PAGE.