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Nancy Shappell, Published November 07 2010

Why pornography on the front page?

I previously had a conversation with the editor of The Forum. I asked about the decision-making process involved in deciding what goes on The Forum front page – national and international versus local news. I was told that The Forum is a local newspaper and, therefore, was keeping local-interest stories on the front page.

In light of this, I was curious as to how covering strip bars in South Dakota fulfills this function. I refer you to the Saturday, Oct. 16, front-page story titled “In pheasant country exotic dancing ‘goes with the territory.’ ” The article appeared to extol the wholesome virtues of a pheasant hunting trip to our neighboring state of South Dakota where, upon completion of a day of hunting, one can openly treat yourself to live “pornography.” Your male “reporter” covered several venues to get the “story.”

The message appeared to be: Pheasant hunting, barhopping and watching women strip/dance is all part of the healthy Midwestern experience. Was The Forum paid for the front-page story by the establishments covered? Was this a preamble or segue into increasing acceptance of a totally nude strip joint opening in the Fargo area?

In a time when marriages break up more often than survive and our culture promotes self-indulgence at the expense of our own health (mental, physical and spiritual) and others (use your cell phone, text away while driving, supersize that burger, if it feels good do it!), where is The Forum? Promoting “wholesome” Midwestern values? It used to be I had to turn to the sports section to find advertisements for exotic dancing/strip clubs. No more. The Forum provides front-page coverage for free.

Leafy spurge to you.