Newspapers B&W (4) originally uploaded by NS Newsflash
In a recent Savage Pacer Letter to the Editor a Savage resident complains that ‘explicit language’ used in an article about a convicted sex offender being caught with a thirteen year old girl in a Prior Lake city park was “nothing less than pornography”.
From the Letter to the Editor:
The explicit language used to describe the actions of this man was nothing less than pornography in our public newspaper. I would not want my teenage son to read this article. The words “inappropriate touch” could have gotten the same message across.
If a person wants to read the sexual details, they can be found online with the police reports. I will be cancelling my subscription and urge other to do the same.
The original article in question states:
The girl told police that she told Sanders she was 15 years old. She said she met him online, then in person on June 8. They went to a movie and then to Lakefront Park, where he put his hand down her pants and penetrated her with his finger. He brought her home to her house in Savage around 5 a.m.
Sanders picked up the girl at her house again the next night around 11 p.m. They drove around and ended up back at Lakefront Park, kissing under the gazebo. Sanders allegedly placed his hand on the girl’s breast over her shirt. They saw a police car drive through the parking lot and hid. After the police car drove away, they got into Sanders’ car and tried to drive away, but were stopped by Schaefer.
According to the complaint, Sanders admitted to police that he was a convicted sex offender, and that he met the girl online and was “90-percent sure she was 15.” He admitted that he touched the under-part of her breast and that he put his hand down her pants and put his finger inside her vagina while at Lakefront Park.
While Dakota County censors some criminal complaints and an unofficial majority of readers back in 2011 agreed with Dakota County’s decision, is it a newspaper’s responsibility to censor the graphic details of a crime just so some of its readers are more comfortable with altered facts?
What do you think about this one? Did the newspapers in question (both the Pacer and the Prior Lake paper which are owned by the same company) publish something akin to pornography as the letter writer claims or is it the job of journalists to deliver straight and hard facts? Would you cancel your newspaper subscription over something like this? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.