Sunday, June 22, 2008


Skinned cadaver promo pic featured by Advertiser even on its editorial pages

by Larry Geller

Most editorials or editorial columns are just words, but a large 7 1/4” x 4 1/4” picture of a skinned cadaver made it into today’s paper. Editor Mark Platte ended his column with “We shouldn't overplay the story, but hiding it from readers isn't going to make it go away” as he overplayed the story yet again with the prominent publicity picture.

"The human cadaver pictures are chilling, to say the least," [a Honolulu woman] wrote. "I may sound like a bit of a Pollyanna but I'm negatively affected by gore, horror and cruelty. Sensitivity to others is important. Not everyone thinks this is entertainment."

I’ll bet many people think it’s not appropriate for the editorial page either, particularly since the article would have been just fine without the large publicity spread.

That space could have accommodated an entire article on some subject important to readers.

Why is this picture there, while photos of Iraq war wounded and dead are essentially banned from the Advertiser, as they are in most US papers? Because the exhibitors are important customers.

Since our first story ran in late May, The Advertiser entered into an advertising trade agreement with the group that is staging the exhibit. The paper, through its Newspaper in Education program in the circulation department, will also print an eight-page tabloid in August that can be used in classrooms, as has been done by many other newspapers where the exhibit has toured.

The agreement seems to have bought the exhibitors more than just advertising space. It has bought them prominence in bylined news and editorial articles.

Remember, you and I are not the customers, we are just readers to be delivered to the paying advertisers. In this strange editorial column, Platte confirms why the pictures that many have objected to are in his paper anyway.

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Yet another reason I don't read the
Advertiser. Such an appropriate name.

I gotta disagree Larry. I’m upset that apparently this exhibit- unlike others on the mainland- does not have signed permission to use these bodies and they come from China and it cannot be confirmed that they don’t come from prisoners.

But every person and school child should use these amazing learning tools to find out what’s going on under their skin unless they don’t care a hoot about taking charge of their own health. People are incredibly ignorant as to what goes on under their skin and this is a way to educate everyone. I wish the Advertiser would not just publish more picture but force people to look at them a la Clockwork Orange. Perhaps then medical professionals wouldn’t have to put up with all the quacks who prey on their sycophants obstinate lack of knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of their own bodies.

Parents can take their children to the exhibit or not, that's not what I wrote about.

No quibble about learning more. The Advertiser, however, isn't a textbook nor an educational institution. It's a newspaper. The pictures in question come from a significant purchaser of advertising.

Perhaps their need to satisfy their advertisers affects their judgment on a whole variety of articles. The Superferry, of course, comes to mind, but what about other areas where either news coverage or editorial opinion might be connected to ad revenue? It would not be the first newspaper to cave in to advertisers.

I hadn’t really understood you were talking more about the link to the advertising than the “disgusting” content of the exhibit. I didn’t see the hard copy of the paper. If there’s a lot of advertising, knowing Platte and the way the Superferry has gotten a free pass I doubt we’ll see the discussion of the way the bodies were obtained anywhere outside the blogs. That’s the real journalistic crime here.... or did I miss it and they covered it?

Is that eight page supplement going to be paid for by the exhibiters?

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