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What Newsweek & ABC are telling us: Sex definitely sells

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POSTED November 24, 2009 4:18 a.m.

I do not watch the American Music Awards.

I am not a big fan of Sarah Palin.

That said, both ABC and Newsweek should be embarrassed.

It was clear according to reports that American Idol’s Adam Lambert intended to shove a male dancer’s face into his crotch onstage. Associated Press reported that a reporter saw it happen during rehearsal. ABC should have pulled the plug on his performance – period. Instead when Lambert did it live they simply deleted it from the time delayed coverage on the West Coast.

As for his kissing the male keyboard player, that’s a different issue. You may not like it based on personal values but from replays it doesn’t seem over the top compared to some opposite sex kisses seen on the tube. However, a line absolutely needs to be drawn somewhere on broadcast TV and a movement that clearly carries the connotation of a sex act is definitely crossing the Rubicon.

Twenty years ago, then Sacramento Mayor Ann Rudin came under attack because the Sacramento Police arrested males over the age of 18 who were having sex in vehicles near the American River Parkway directly across from homes. It triggered protests from the gay community of harassment.

About two months later, I was going through some old clippings from a previous year from the Sacramento Bee when I noticed on the back side a short story about Sacramento Police making arrests in the same spot after residents complained about couples – this time men and women – having sex in public.

Like an idiot, I penned a column in The Press-Tribune suggesting the gay community’s anger was misdirected as the real issue was having sex in public and that the police were simply enforcing the rules equally against all whether they were straight or gay couples.

The response, in short, from the gay community was that I should be essentially burned at the stake for saying it was OK for police to arrest anyone who was gay for violating laws against having sex in public and that I was essentially a heterosexual bigot. Forget the fact it was about having sex in public being illegal.

Lambert, who is openly gay, said his kiss was “in the moment” and if people were upset about it, “That’s a form of discrimination and it’s too bad.”

He’s got a point on the kiss but not for shoving a dancer‘s head into his crotch. He was way out of line and ABC should ban him from ever appearing live again on its programs. Of course, that won’t happen because sex and shock sells. Just ask Newsweek.

Newsweek carried a cover photo of Sarah Palin that Runner’s World magazine used for a story on politicians who literally ran to illustrate their story on Palin’s new book about her life and political career. It was cheesy. It was disrespectful. Had the story been about a book inked by Ted Kennedy about his politics and campaigns they certainly wouldn’t have run that infamous picture of the late senator walking on the sand at Palm Beach with his shirt off that came up during his nephew’s rape trial.

Palin was essentially demeaned by the message that Newsweek delivered via the cover photo that the ex-governor had gams and looks but that was about it.

Is Palin the brightest bulb on the block? More than a few go out of their way to argue that she isn’t and they aren’t exactly restraining themselves when they do. Does that viewpoint about Palin mean she should be treated less seriously than others who have different opinions or may have gone to Ivy League universities? Of course not.

Yes, controversy sells but in both the case of Adam Lambert and Newsweek they don’t have to embellish it.

Lambert has a point about two guys kissing and the double standard but he is way out-of-line pushing the envelope with the crotch shove.

Newsweek is being respectable when they criticize and dissect Palin’s views and records like they do any other politician but when they go out of their way to essentially try and turn her into a sex object on their cover to imply she’s an airhead with looks and no brains they’ve pushed the envelope too far.

One would hope ABC would set some standards and try to differentiate the network from MTV.

As for Newsweek, when did Larry Flynt take over the news magazine?

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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