Sunday, August 20, 2006

Echo Chamber - Over The Top

The FITS' girls were minding our own business Sunday afternoon, window-shopping along Saluda Street in downtown Columbia's Five Points area, when we happened to come across this week's edition of the Columbia City Paper.

Needless to say, we about dropped our Venti Blended Moccha Frapuccinos (with the Chocolate Drizzle) upon taking a good look at the cover art, which suggestively depicted two Trav Robertson-size children's toys engaged in a sexual position that most God-fearing Christian gals (like us) are quite unfamiliar with ...

... thankfully Sic Willie - using some Snoop Dogg lyrics - was there to give us a quick primer.

Even more shocking than the cover art, however, was the fact that the City Paper's over-the-top illustration was referencing none other than the alleged illicit affair of Charleston Rep. Wallace Scarborough and Beaufort Rep. Catherine Ceips - the paper's lead story of the week.

Are you kidding us?

Look, we're the pretty keen on the Biblical admonition "Let (them) without sin cast the first stone," and by no means do we consider this little blog a bastion of journalistic integrity - but come on, isn't this a little bit too much?

Sure, it's one thing to publish court testimony from a private investigator detailing the alleged affair of these two Republican Representatives, or to use their indiscretions as a launching pad for throwing rocks at the "family values" hypocrites among us (never mind that this kind of infidelity runs rampant in both political parties at the State House) - but seriously, where's the journalistic integrity in using play toys to depict two public figures having sex on your front cover?

Again, we're not going to judge here - obviously the Columbia City Paper made an editorial decision to run the controversial cover art in an effort to increase its circulation (the same issue also features a local tattoo parlor ad on its back cover with a bikini-clad female flipping the bird to the camera along with the caption "F--- you, we're #1").

Classy, right?

In addition to penning the lead "news" story, columnist Will Moredock (who broke the Scarborough story a few weeks back in the Charleston City Paper), vents his spleen John Monk-style in an accompanying editorial deriding the SCGOP for its "family values" hypocrisy. True enough. But as Moredock swings for the fences at this low-hanging fruit, we were struck by the final (and lone non-vitriolic paragraph) of his opinion column.

"Morality begins with personal behavior, not laws and constitutional amendments," Moredock writes in concluding his tongue-lashing.

Funny, Will, so does journalistic integrity.

As much as we generally loathe Ceips and, at times, Scarborough (and as much as they will both likely reap what they sow as this unfortunate matter continues to unfold in the public eye), we don't think either Representative deserved the kind of portrayal they received at the hands of the Columbia City Paper this week.

In putting the "graphic" into graphic art, the Columbia City Paper went too far in our humble opinion ... and how many times can you recall FITS saying something like that?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, Will. Now Columbia City Paper will have more than its normal readership of 15 people since you posted about it on the blog.

12:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. This certainly raises some interesting ethical and legal questions. First, the truth is the ultimate defense against libel. And they are public officials. But the question of malicious intent certainly has to come into play. I'm sure they'll say they were trying to be humorous or edgy, but did they cross a boundary in trying to do so? Wow.

7:23 AM

Anonymous Tim said...

You have a dirty mind. It's plain as day that the bent-over doll is looking for a lost contact lens or something. Jeez.

7:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The City Paper is just great!

If only they would lose the loser guest editorialist...Ted Rall or whatever his name is. (He is the fire-bombing Bush hating flame thrower that makes the city Paper look like just another rag) But I have studied the paper, and it is really well done and the fact are usually dead on.

This conservative thinks we should have more of the City Paper and less of the State…

PS…Wallace is a creep.

7:37 AM

Anonymous west_rhino said...

One, always remember that the pig loves the mud and muck, it is where he is most comfortable.

Two, would be Menckens live to push an noun against an adjective with the express purpose of blowing something up (with apologies to Lawrence and Lee for the literate reading this).

Three, like the Charleston City Paper (which ran the story a few weeks ago), outside the entertainment and dining sections and perhaps the classifieds, serious content, where it exists, tends to be thinly veiled regarding the allegiances and motivations of publisher and editor.

Fourth, Wallace could do better and we're still wondering how, when the lines feeding the effected SCE&G service area are on the other side of a road as wide as and as busy as Forest Drive two linemen were sent into the backyard of the Scarborough residence without some collusion.

Fifth, does anyone remember Maureen Dean and her association with a callgirl ring that had a curious association with the DNC when their offices were in the Watergate Hotel? There are pieces missing here also.

10:23 AM

Anonymous tammy said...

Anon, this publication raises legal and ethical questions???

Who has the balls to raise those questions? The guy screwing around on his wife or the woman screwing around with the married man with kids? Please.

Last time I checked "libel" meant lie...so are you saying they are not having an affair or are you just thinking they'll try to prove she didn't take it from behind?

Regardless, that is the BEST. Made my busy Monday. Thanks for sharing.
;-) t

11:51 AM

Anonymous PitchforkYew said...

Tim, you're dead wrong. It was a legislative meeting, and she dropped her papers.

It can happen just like that. Just ask their House colleague Shirley Hinson if you don't believe me!

1:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

tammy this is classic: "so are you saying they are not having an affair or are you just thinking they'll try to prove she didn't take it from behind?"

2:24 PM

Blogger Newspaper Hack said...

C'mon, kids. Lest you forget, the CityPaper is an alt.weekly, which means it operated on a different journalistic plane than your average daily newspaper. It's supposed to poke humor, raise hell and generally fire from a position off the political center. But I can understand how you'd miss that, considering the warm oatmeal that's been coming out of the Free Times offices the past several years.

4:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Read up on libel law, then let's talk.

Your comment was funny as hell, though.

7:58 PM

Anonymous tammy said...

please don't make me read up on libel law. take my word...i don't know jack about law...my extremely intelligent '"libel" meant lie' comment surely gave me away.

;-) t

9:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe that was meant to be Scarborough's predecessor in action...

9:58 AM

Anonymous EveryoneLovesLynnSeithel said...

anon - if that was true, where were the little plastic crabs and why weren't they "CLAP"-ing?

then it would have been a more authentic characterization of his predecessor.

of course, to be really authentic, the female wood figure would have had a lot more wear and tear than the one in the picture.

2:46 PM

Anonymous Strom Thurmond said...

Wow, you guys at this blog are stiffer than ME!

3:08 PM

Anonymous west_rhino said...

Looks like the PeeWee's Playhouse Peepshow to me. Only Jombi is missing...

4:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living in Beaufort I find it interestion that you and these papers are reporting that Scarborough and Ceips are having an affair. It has been known here for years that Ceips is havig an affair with her campaign manager Randy Bates. They have lived together for years and flaunt their affair all over town as they are never apart, and Bates is still living at her house today. Scarborough must be a bigger idiot than you give him credit for!

6:28 AM


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