I received an e-mail from New York attorney Pete Gleason the other day. It was a press release that concerned Village Voice Media and Backpage.com.
A little back story first. Mr. Gleason ran for New York City Council last year. A Village Voice reporter by the name of Wayne Barrett ran an unflattering article about Mr. Gleason. Mr. Barrett also teaches at Columbia University and Mr. Gleason has called for his removal from Columbia since not only the Village Voice but also Village Voice Media make a substantial amount from the prostitution ads in their papers and websites.
Now I’m not about to get in the middle of their feud however Mr. Gleason’s press release brings up a very valid point. Here is the press release as I received it in its entirety…
CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY AND FORMER FIREFIGHTER PETE GLEASON COMMENDS THE BRAVERY OF CABLEVISION’S JAMES DOLAN
Mr. Dolan appropriately reacting to slanderous statements made by the Village Voice pulled over 1 million dollars of advertising.
Gleason urges other Village Voice advertisers to do the same due to the fact that the Village Voice promotes an illegal activity – prostitution. The Village Voice is no different than what Craigslist is accused of, except with the Village Voice’s “news” component, they are able to hide behind the 1st amendment.
Gleason urges the 40 Attorney Generals nationwide that are presently investigating Craigslist to also focus their attention on the publications under the umbrella of the Village Voice. Historically, some of those sworn to protect us have been leery to investigate the Village Voice for fear of “Journalistic Justice,” by the likes of Wayne Barrett.
Further complicating matters is the Village Voice’s list of advertisers, most notably Disney. Mickey and Minnie refused to move into the sexual supermarket of Times Square until it was pasteurized. Disney should follow in the brave footsteps of Mr. Dolan, for there is no Cinderella story in the Village Voice’s sex ads.
The point I want to bring up is the one Mr. Gleason calls “Journalistic Justice”. I prefer to call it Journalistic Blackmail. As Mr. Gleason mentions unlike craigslist Backpage has a ‘news’ company behind it in Village Voice Media. Mr. Gleason also seems to think that since they have this news company behind Backpage that the Attorneys General are giving backpage a pass on human trafficking and prostitution for fear of being lambasted on the pages of Village Voice Media owned papers. Not only that but I would imagine that others in the journalistic fraternity might also join in attacking the Attorneys General.
If this is the case then the AGs are not only cowards for not going after Backpage but hypocrites as well for going after craigslist and not Backpage.