I have been in the newspaper biz for 10 years. I know that headlines sell papers. In the case of the Internet, they make you click to read a story.
So naturally when I saw the headline, “Osama bin Laden's pornography stash to remain under wraps, U.S. decides” I thought it was a satirical story mocking the allegedly dead terrorist – or the U.S. government. Little did I know – though I should have known better – that it was an actual story making headlines around the world.
It really makes you stop and think about what is actually considered news these days. I previously wrote a column about what was considered “breaking news” but now it’s whatever crazy story will get eyeballs on a page (or screen).
The bin Laden article went on about how the invasion of his camp turned up interesting finds like the books he was reading, correspondence with other terrorists and then the, well, dirty stuff. According to the article I read it noted that bin Laden had “a considerable quantity of pornographic videos.” Let’s be honest, most teen boys do, too.
I guess my questions are, Who would have thought or wondered about bin Laden’s porn stash in the first place? What is the purpose? Why would we want to know if he liked tall women, hairy women, young women?
Does anybody ask Stephen Harper, “Hey, Mr. PM, how often do you masturbate? Does your wife have any naughty costumes she likes to wear in the bedroom?” What does it matter?
In the end a spokesperson for the U.S. government said, “We are not going to release these materials due to the nature of their contents.”
It makes you wonder: Did a journalist ask if bin Laden had porn? Did the U.S. list every single thing the Navy Seals found in there? (If so, noting porn would make sense.) If they didn’t list every exact item, why was porn mentioned to the press? My guess is to make the scandalous story even more tawdry.