media spats

Why Is Paul Colichman’s Porn Blogger Fighting With the Miami New Times Over George Rekers?

Is it wrong that I’m totally loving the bitter spat between Unzipped and the Miami New Times? As I can tell, it started with the George Alan Rekers saga and has devolved into Regent Media’s porn magazine-cum-website-only brand feuding with the Village Voice weekly. (Warning: Some links NSFW.)

The latest punch thrown comes from Unzipped — a porn blog — accusing the Times, a brand that “once stood for journalism,” of now being “just a website with big old black cocks in green lace,” for running a photo gallery from a Miami erotica convention. There was also the Twitter war between @UnzippedMedia and @MiamiNewTimes, and the investigation into whether the Times‘ Rekers boyfriend bylines Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp were trying to shop their story to Rolling Stone instead of their employer.

So why are these two brands fighting with each other, when we should all be high-fiving for helping take down that bigot Rekers? Because according to Unzipped‘s blogger Zach Sire, Bullock and Thorp owe it to readers to reveal the source that gave them access to escort Jo-Vanni Roman’s email account. Which is a stupid thing, because journalists being forced to reveal their sources would, uh, stop journalism in its tracks. Writes Unzipped:

And yet, here it is four Miami New Times stories and three days later, and the alternative weekly hasn’t answered two simple questions:

1. How did Bullock and Thorp know who Roman and Rekers were?
2. How did Bullock and Thorp know to be at the airport at the exact same time as Rekers and Roman, with a camera?

To be sure, Bullock and Thorp don’t have to reveal who their source(s) was, but in one of their four stories over the past three days, one would think that a fundamental part of their reporting would be to at least acknowledge that they had a source. Instead, they tell whimsical tales. The articles read like diary entries. To paraphrase what one of my readers wrote in a comment earlier this week, it feels like their entire story should be written in italics.

So why does this matter? Well, put your schadenfreude aside (and don’t get me wrong, the destruction of Rekers—with facts and proper reporting—is a potentially wonderful thing) and consider this: What if Bullock and Thorp were say, I don’t know, fucking Jo-Vanni Roman, and that’s how they got their scoop. At this point, and until they put the origins of their reporting into some kind of context, we don’t know how they got their information.

That’s a lot of speculation, given that we’ve secured some pretty great sources without having sex with them. (Well, not all of them!) But whatever keeps the Rekers story alive, I’m down for. Fight fight fight!