Current Event Wednesday: Journalism?

The Spokane Public Library at 10 S. Cedar in S...

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The Inlander, Spokane’s “trendy” weekly newspaper has published this piece, featuring the Spokane Public Library. Here’s a little snippet if you don’t feel like clicking:

It’s 2:15 on a gray, wintry Saturday afternoon and the downtown Spokane Public Library is brimming with hushed activity. Children scamper about as moms and dads quietly search the shelves. The place is full of men, women, the young and old, rich and poor, interacting silently and harmoniously — reading, browsing the Internet, listening to headphones.

Meanwhile, I sit at a desk with a large computer monitor. I’m in the middle of the action as I begin to peruse pornographic images on sites with names like and Racy images flash across the screen, with bodies contorted in unimaginable ways. There are reproductive organs of all shapes, sizes and colors. On screen, women smile back at me seductively.

Here I am, with strangers surrounding me, visiting the Websites your mother warned you about, engaging in a brand of Web-surfing normally reserved for the private confines of one’s own home. Who knew the public library could be so… stimulating?

The whole article chronicles the reporter’s attempt to access, successfully, porn at the Downtown Library. At the end of the article he is shocked because nobody stopped him at all.

I’m not really sure what the point of the article is. Well, that’s not quite right. I do know what the point is. It is to sell papers. Add shock value. There is absolutely no journalism here. This is “infotainment.” It is the journalistic equivalent of bored children making crank phone calls to bars, asking for “Mike Hunt.” The funny thing is that he was doing the very thing he seems to be criticizing. For, what was it? 35 minutes? How many kids walked by him while he looked at porn in the library for 35 minutes?

Gee. What a great idea for a story.

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