The Northerner recently received complaints about the paper’s publication of advertisements for the strip cub Deja Vu.
Let’s get one thing straight. The Northerner does not support the objectivity of women.
The staff makes editorial decisions on whether to run any ad, based on whether the ad is obscene, false advertising, libelous, a threat to national security or likely to cause immediate incitement to violence or anarchy. These are guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court and have been reinforced over the years to become common law.
News outlets should not discriminate based on content unless the content meets one of these five guidelines.
The Deja Vu ads are hardly obscene: Ads for lingerie in The Cincinnati Enquirer show even more nudity.
Haagen Daas’ ads, wherein a nude model holds a pint of ice cream, are by far more abhorrent. These ads use women as sex objects to promote products that have nothing to do with sexuality.
But a strip club features women who are willing to take their clothes off for money! Does it not make sense to promote a sexual commodity by using a sexual theme? Therefore, it is not libelous or false advertising.
One can hardly say the ad threatens national security or promotes anarchy.
So the ads meet none of the criteria for refusing publication.
While I cannot say I support a stripper’s choices, I will not deny the advertiser equal placement in the paper. The content is truthful and applicable to a male college audience. Do you really think the guys don’t already know about the strip clubs?
There are some men who really do prefer not to go to strip bars because they find them offensive and ridiculous. I have to say I agree. But in the marketplace of ideas, the truth shall triumph when the people are allowed to choose from the information presented to them. By not publishing the Deja Vu ads, we would restrict ideas, therefore, we would restrict truth. Besides, censoring Deja Vu based on its ad content is unfounded bias.
To promote an open and robust public debate, and to preserve the right to free commercial speech, the public must be allowed to choose what they wish to believe, disprove and disavow.
You have the right to know what is out there. That is democracy.