Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Thin Line

By Christopher Johnson

Supermarket Censorship

SEPTEMBER 15, 1997:  The Albuquerque Journal reported Friday that many of the corporate-owned grocery stores in Albuquerque have decided to use censorship as a way to keep you from seeing admittedly horrifying pictures of Princess Diana's fatal car crash. What these corporate stores fail to realize is that by not allowing customers to make their own decisions about what they do or don't want to see, the stores themselves become--despite their good intentions--much worse citizens than the greedy photographers who may or may not have caused the car wreck that claimed Princess Diana's life.

America, for better or worse, is about freedom and specifically the freedom to choose for oneself. Despite what the well-meaning buffoons at Furr's, Jewel Osco, Albertson's and Smith's think, denying anyone their right to choose is one of the worst offenses, even if the censored publications are supermarket tabloids. Heck, they don't call it the First Amendment for nothing.

Interestingly, the Journal, a newspaper that thrives on its First Amendment rights, only interviewed shoppers and store managers who mouthed platitudes about the horror of covering such a tragedy and the poor taste involved.

Let's face it, letting supermarket executives choose what should and shouldn't be reported on and how it should best be done, seems a lot like letting news reporters decide which hamburger has the E. coli and which doesn't.

At least Jewel Osco will carry the publications, but readers must ask for them at the customer service desk. Decide for yourself.

TV Nation, the Final Publication

When Weekly Alibi commenced regular television coverage in July, many eyes were on the alternative newspaper's decision to cover something as banal as happenings on the idiot box. Of course, there was no telling how broad an effect Alibi's inclusion of television would have. A few short weeks later, Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, announced it would add daily network and cable television listing to its regular business offerings.

Television listings first appeared in the Sept. 2 issue of The Wall Street Journal, which has been publishing continuously since 1887.

The press release that announced the addition of TV listings stressed that The Wall Street Journal would have 86 channels "the largest number to appear in any daily publication." Naturally, in the end, The Wall Street Journal admitted to what publishers know is the real reason behind adding television coverage--giving readers what they want and to "offer our media advertisers a new forum to expand their audience."

--Christopher Johnson

chris.johnson@alibi.com


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