News Media Seeking Honest Reporting Or Exploitation Of Sexworkers?

Intelligent exposure is good but if its too good it probably won't air

20/20 has posted notices trying to find sexworkers from the Internet to interview. My hope is that 20/20 is a more honest news show such as 48 hours was regarding swinging. But the risks are high for the people that speak out.

In late May, 2000, 48 hours did air a very balanced show that portrayed sex and swinging with the positive messages being included not just edited out as usual. News shows like 20/20 at least have the potential to present the positive side than any talk shows which are more controlled by the "front office" and advertisers.

20/20 has contacted many escorts, made postings on lists etc trying to get interviews. Many well-spoken escorts have turned them down who could do a very good job but have been warned of the legal exposure risk they also take. Famous web escorts are high on the target list of vice cops to get a famous notch on their belts. Previous sexworkers who have gone public have been harassed by LE.

After their story aired, a polyamory couple had their child taken from them for simply being in such a illicit place where the child had two loving fathers instead of one. The child was evaluated as very normal by experts and of course had no participation in polyamory, no abuse, nothing but two loving dads which was the crime. Life has changed for the very worst for this couple all because of the media exposure. And in sexwork it make you a high mark for the local vice cops. Just ask Diana of Dallas who did an interview in Dallas mag, and it included interviews with all the vice cops determined to get her. When we live in a culture so repressive to consenting adult sexual rights, the risk of being honest and open is just too great unless one is the "spectacle" the media wants to portray sexworkers as.

I think it is very helpful to show sexworkers as not the drugged out street whores which is what most people think of when they hear "prostitution". Intelligent articulate representatives being interviewed in media could be very positive. Especially if we are to ever have a hope for decriminalizing like in most of the rest of the world.

On the other hand if an interview portrays something too positively it just won't be aired or positive parts will be edited out, because the "front office" knows the advertisers won't be pleased since they would be flooded with calls from the religious right (oxymoron) folks. I've had many discussions with media insiders that confirm this is common.

For example some of the polyamory folks from Lovemore had a very intelligent discussion on Geraldo. But it never aired since it showed something that is suppose to be immoral in a positive light.

So we are stuck with the fools and idiot Springer type shows which do nothing but harm the public's image of alternative lifestyles or sexwork.

Sensationalism sells, not intelligent discussion of sexual issues.

The news media is out to make money for themselves no matter who gets hurt. To them, sexworkers are just a means to that end. They'll tell you anything they think you want to hear to get you to speak on the record, then you live with the consequences when your made to look like a fool by the editing and attacks by religious leaders etc, while they get up and do it all again to somebody else for tomorrow's report.

A response from the infamous Diana of Dallas on 20/20's contacting her for an interview. The article she refers to she was nice enough to send me as we have been in contact over the years:

"I have also been contacted by 20/20. Once about 2 months ago and again three times this week. Since I have stuck my neck out on several occasions I can tell both sides. For Playboy TV they said they just wanted to know my side of escorting and the Internet for the most part I was very happy with the interview. Before that I did a interview with the largest local magazine in Dallas. The story angle was how Escorts are "normal" girls and you wouldn't know what I did for a living if you lived next to me since I live a normal life i.e. cut grass, cook out, wash my car typical things most do in life...The interview went well...asked the normal questions like, how long have you been escorting, how well is the Internet for advertising...nothing out of line.....the words call girl, prostitute and hooker NEVER came up nor did the police or any legal agency. When the story came out the title of the article was "The call girl and the cop" turns out that the article was about me and a vice cop that has arrested 16 girls over the past 9 months and has been after me for a LONG time and WILL get me sooner or later. I had a great picture and the article was really interested but NOT at all like I was told. Not to mention about a half a dozen mug shots of the girls he's arrested already and a nice full page picture of the vice cop with his swat outfit on and a ski mask with the caption saying "waiting for an appointment with Diana" Now the 20/20 interview sounds really nice but I'm not gambling with a national TV show with tons of Bible thumpers just waiting to get on the band wagon and contact there local vice cops alerting what they have now found on the Internet. They already have one girl doing the interview so the show will go on. Just my thoughts! Diana "

Dave concludes, my hope is that 20/20 is a more honest news show such as 48 hours was regarding swinging. But the risks are high for the people that speak out.  And many other media outlets will be looking to get these interviews in the future.

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