Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yes, Melissa, There Really Is a Santa Claus. (And He's A Pervert.)

Remember little Virginia O'Hanlon? The 8 year old New York girl who wrote to the New York Sun asking if Santa was real and receiving what is now the infamous editorial, "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" in reply?

Good thing she didn't write to my local newspaper instead. Given the headline that was used for an article recently, she might have gotten more truth in reporting than she expected.

The newspaper was on our kitchen table this weekend for several hours before I picked it up (I was doing the Read-a-Thon, remember) and was promptly aghast at this headline:

Ex-Santa Arrested on Child Porn Charges

OK, now obviously this is wrong on so many levels. Set aside for a moment (just a moment) the hideous charges. (The story - which I'm not linking to here because I don't want to encourage more risque search terms than I'm already going to attract with this post - goes into details about how he was also a child photographer and offered to make house calls - as creepo Santa! - to unsuspecting children.)

This story was on Page 1 of our Local Section - so, it wasn't the front page per se, but the front page of the local section. Which, frankly, is the only section I read of my paper. Still, if the editors are listening (and I am Friends with two of them on Facebook and seriously considering sending them this post), I have to wonder ... what the hell were they thinking??!! Clearly, someone wasn't.

Kids who believe in Santa can read. Mine do, and can, and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible, thank you very much. I don't have many years left of this, but I sure as hell wouldn't want it to end this way. How would you explain that? (Hopefully I'm being vague enough here - lest any innocent eyes land on this blog post.)

Sadly, this pervert Santa is only one of the many messed up Misfit Toys out there this holiday season. No doubt we're in for more reportage on Elves Gone Wild as Christmas draws closer.

So, here's a tip to all you journalists out there. Take a lesson from the folks writing the editorial response to 8 year old Virginia who read the New York Sun, and remember that maybe an 8 year old might be within eyesight of your words. Kids may not be reading the paper per se (and sad to say, I almost wouldn't want them to, given coverage like this) but for old farts like me who actually still do get a printed paper and have it on our kitchen tables next to our coffee, you might be well advised to consider that - like Old Saint Nick himself - children are watching and see everything.

In the meantime, to my local paper? Bah humbug ... and may you find a piece of coal in your stocking as your punishment for that fine headline.


Chris said...

The stories in the paper are enough to make your toes curl. Did they really need to point out the Santa part in the headline? said...

Geez, talk about sensationalism at it's worst. Clearly whoever wrote it doesn't have CHILDREN!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Chris - I know ... my point exactly. The Santa part was totally unnecessary.

Nancy - indeed, I am fairly certain that is true.