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News Blog

Crapo, et al: Oh, the Indignity!

by Jerre Wroble
- Posted // 2012-12-24 -

Mike Crapo may have gotten a little bit buzzed before he got behind the wheel early Sunday morning. When he ran a red light in Alexandria, Va., he was pulled over and eventually arrested for DUI, whereupon you could say his DUI story also ran a red light. Crapo, it turns out, is a conservative Republican Senator from Idaho (yes, our neighboring state that also brought us Sen. Larry Craig, (in)famous for his arrest for lewd behavior in an undercover sting at an airport bathroom in Minneapolis-St. Paul).

Crapo hails from Idaho Falls, attended BYU, and is, you guessed it, a Mormon. A Senator since 1999, he was re-elected in 2010 and is not up for re-election until 2016. He naturally deeply regrets his indiscretion and, according to a New York Times article, will "undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated."

Oh, the indignity. It's always so humiliating for Utah when a prominent Mormon gets drunk. It suggests that Mormons may not be as happy and content as they profess their religion makes them and/or that trying to be a good Mormon could actually drive someone to drink.

But bear in mind, it's not only prominent Mormons who are drinking and driving this holiday season. On Dec. 1, 78-year-old ABC News veteran political news analyst Sam Donaldson was also arrested on a drunken-driving charge in Delaware. His arrest received just about as much attention as Crapo's -- minus the indignation. Not one of Donaldson's stories mentioned what religion he practices, what college he attended, what position he might have held in his church.

Still, ABC News could easily drop Mr. D and his crazy toupee like a hot-buttered rum. Some accounts refer to him as "formerly" with ABC News, anyway.

It's hard to live such indignity down.

Take the Village Voice. There's a long and not very Christmas-y story about the New York City alt-weekly's previous owners and how those owners used a classified-advertising program called Backpage.com that featured adult sex ads many say are a front for human trafficking, including child prostitution.

In response to protests and criticism from many quarters, the owners of Village Voice Media -- actually a national chain of mostly big-city alt-weekly publications -- took themselves out of the equation. The previous owners claim to have cut all ties with the papers they owned and took the online Backpage.com classifieds with them.

Yet, the Senate just recently took it upon itself to pass Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk's Resolution 439, which requested the chain eliminate the "adult entertainment" section of its website. But, if you go to the Village Voice, or any paper in the new Voice Media Group chain, there are currently no classifieds to look at (they say an upgrade is under construction). The new editor of New York's Village Voice, Will Bourne, wrote a Dec. 13 column to outline the company's new policy on adult advertising.

So now, the Senate is patting itself on its back for chastising a newspaper chain. Eric Schulzke of the Deseret News writes about it here, with no attempt to contact the Village Voice, to explain the ownership change or the fact that Backpage.com is no longer associated with any alt-weekly in the Voice Media Group.

Backpage.com, the website, may live on, but it's unlikely it will join forces with a print publication.

So, why did the Senate even bother with the passage of a resolution that "condemns" a newspaper chain, especially when the chain has made efforts to reinvent itself?

It's enough to make a Mormon drink.

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