Practical politics consists in ignoring facts. - Henry Brooks Adams
Don’t they teach the concept of “research” in journalism schools anymore? Or has it been replaced by “cut-and-paste 101” and “basic fabrication”? I have to wonder, because it seems that for every Pete Kotz or Darrell Dawsey who takes the time to investigate and question, there are dozens of Torsten Oves and Amber Lyon whose definition of “fact” appears to be “whatever a self-proclaimed authority tells me.” And when that “authority” is woefully ignorant on the subject one gets a ludicrous article full of mistakes which are blatantly obvious to anyone who knows anything about the subject. For example, here’s an article about the porn condom scam from the New York Times of February 10th; even with my cursory knowledge of the porn industry and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s antics I caught a couple of errors, but Mark Kernes of Adult Video News (AVN) found a dozen, as detailed in this letter to the editor of the Times. Here are a few edited highlights:
I normally respect The New York Times‘ coverage of events, but there was so much incorrect in Ian Lovett’s article “Condom Requirement Sought for Sex-Film Sets” that I have to question whether he did any research at all?
The errors begin with the first paragraph, where he claims that the AIM Healthcare Foundation…”abruptly shut its doors in December.” Mr. Lovett makes it sound as if this shutdown was voluntary, where in fact the clinic was served with an illegal “cease and desist” order from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health…
…Los Angeles has NOT moved to fill AIM’s role in performer testing, though it has been clear for at least two years that they desperately WANT to do so, thinking that it will bring a large influx in income to the city—which it won’t. But the city has no current plans to open any performer testing facilities, and in fact has not done so.
Paragraph 3 implies that AIM’s closing was somehow connected to the performer who tested HIV positive in October…The exact reason that performer became HIV positive is still under investigation, and the possibility that he contracted the disease through personal contact in his private life—he posted ads on the internet as a “male escort”—is considered likely.
… there is not currently any legislation being considered…which would “impose safety standards specifically on the pornographic film industry.”
…there has not been a “string of actresses” who “contracted HIV and filed lawsuits against production companies.” Just one actress (stage name Brooke Ashley) filed suit, and it was with the California Employment Development Department…NO other suits have been filed against production companies due to HIV infection.
…adult producers have NOT “agreed not to hire performers who had not been tested in the last 30 days,” much as many members of the adult industry wish they would…Moreover, AIM doesn’t “hound” performers who had possibly been exposed to HIV to get them tested; it simply informs them that they should come in for such testing, and keeps a record (accessible only to movie producers) of whether they have done so, and when.
… there have NOT been “just five cases of HIV infection among its performers … since a 2004 outbreak shut down the industry for a month”; there have been just five cases INCLUDING the 2004 outbreak…
Contrary to the implications of the article’s 14th paragraph, AIM continued to arrange for performers’ HIV and STD tests during the period when the clinic itself was not open; it simply arranged for the performers’ blood and urine samples to be drawn by outside physicians and clinics, but the results of those tests were disclosed only to AIM and to the performers themselves, and became part of AIM’s producer database as well…
The adult industry continues to question the STD infection statistics promulgated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health…the County has wildly inflated performers’ infection rates, which are at most 2.4 percent of the performer population during a “bad month,” and 1.8 percent during a “good month.” The idea that “a quarter of all performers each year” are diagnosed with a sexually-transmitted disease is ludicrous. The reason for the discrepancy is that not only does the County count original infections in its statistics, but also each time a performer returns to the clinic to be retested before the disease has fully cleared his/her body—which performers frequently do since they are generally anxious to get back to work. Hence, the County statistics improperly record an original report of infection as well as perhaps four or five retests within the following two weeks as if there were five or six original infections.
… if Mr. Lovett had done even a bit of investigation, he would have discovered that AHF is funded in part by the condom industry, and that AHF’s own HIV testing program, which uses one of the “10 minute” antibody tests for HIV, is itself seriously flawed, and can produce negative results in HIV-positive test subjects for as long as six months after infection…It has also been rumored that AHF itself would like a piece of what it sees as the “lucrative” field of performer STD testing.
In Mr. Lovett’s 22nd paragraph, he refers to “Previous efforts to pass legislation that would specifically require condom use.” There have been no such legislative attempts, although a reading of the California Health Code, in a section that was originally enacted to protect hospital workers, implies that not only condoms but also dental dams, rubber gloves, goggles and face shields may be required for on-camera sex scenes. This portion of the Health Code has been the subject of five public hearings so far between Cal/OSHA and the adult industry, and is far from being resolved.
Perhaps the next time Mr. Lovett decides to write about the adult movie industry, he might want to speak to some people who have actual working knowledge of the medical and legal issues involved.
That sentiment in the last line could certainly be applied to literally every mainstream article about prostitution. Reporters interview cops, prohibitionist groups and government agencies who are highly motivated to lie in order to protect their jobs and promote their own anti-prostitution agenda instead of simply speaking to some people who have actual working knowledge of prostitution…namely, whore bloggers like myself or any of the ladies whose links appear to the right of this column.