Pictures of naked women are not “journalism”

I do not expect a lot from the Herald-Times, but I do expect that when I am looking through the list of stories in today’s newspaper that I will not see pictures of naked women with their bare breasts fully visible. Even that expectation is too much to ask, apparently. The Herald-Times does realize that people with children are reading the online version, right? Do they really think a fully topless woman is a good choice for content to post on HeraldTimesOnline? The local newspaper needs to be much more careful with what they put on their website, because this is totally unacceptable.

As comedian Bill Cosby was walking out of a courthouse, a naked woman assaulted him. She had various words and phrases scrawled on her naked body, and the picture on HeraldTimesOnline featured full frontal nudity. I suspect some people will defend this on grounds of newsworthiness, but that is absurd. Obviously, the Bill Cosby case is newsworthy. The fact that he was assaulted by a naked woman is newsworthy. The fact that security is being increased due to this incident is newsworthy.

The photo of the woman’s bare breasts is not newsworthy. I saw another photo taken at the incident on another news website, which was a head-and-shoulders shot which did not show her bare breasts. That got the message across without being obscene. There is no journalistic value in showing the woman’s bare breasts. That photo was posted purely for shock value and to drive clicks. It certainly was shocking, as I did not expect bare breasts on my computer screen with my six year old in the room! If I was reading a celebrity gossip site, I would expect such things, but not from a local newspaper.

Thankfully, the photograph was removed shortly after I complained about it. This was a wire story that was picked up by the H-T, not content produced in Bloomington. Still, the Herald-Times needs to be much more selective and careful in screening content posted to their website. Finally, I cannot help but notice the hypocrisy: A “newspaper” that bans links to pictures of aborted babies on the Center for BioEthical Reform’s website (pictures that do have journalistic value) is posting pornography on their own site. Could the double standards get any more repulsive and disgusting?

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