A coalition led by Citizens for Community Values held a news conference this morning at City Hall to announce that it would be sending a letter to CityBeat asking us to stop publishing adult-oriented classified advertisements in the paper and online. A story in this morning's Enquirer previewed the event.
CityBeat has issued the following statement in response:
STATEMENT ABOUT TODAY’S NEWS CONFERENCE
JUNE 9, 2008
According to an article in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer, a “coalition led by Citizens for Community Values” would like for CityBeat to change our advertising policies for both our print publication and our web site. Apparently this coalition is planning to send us a letter detailing its request.
When we receive this letter, we will consider its contents and respond in a timely manner.
We weren’t invited to attend this morning’s news conference, so we don’t know what was said and can’t comment on what was said.
We find it curious that this “coalition led by Citizens for Community Values” would hold a public news conference at City Hall to tell the media they’re going to ask CityBeat to change our advertising policies. Such a request could have been made privately if this coalition wanted to accomplish its stated goal rather than the obvious goal of generating publicity for itself. CityBeat’s email addresses are readily available and our phone number is listed in the Yellow Pages — they could easily look us up and get in touch.
Speaking of the Yellow Pages, similar adult services ads — and in fact three pages of them — can be found in the current edition of the telephone directory that’s delivered to every household in Greater Cincinnati. CityBeat, by contrast, is available only to those who choose to pick it up at 1,200 distribution locations around the area. Contrary to what this coalition expressed in today’s Enquirer article, the general public’s exposure to these types of advertisements is much greater via the Yellow Pages — yet it seems to us that CityBeat is being unfairly targeted by this coalition.
We find it ridiculous that local law enforcement officials think they can tell us how to run our business while also asking that we do their jobs for them. Our understanding of the American legal system is that police officers charge suspected criminals with a crime, prosecutors present evidence of the crime to judges and juries, and then verdicts are rendered.
We have cooperated and will continue to cooperate with authorities when any of our advertisers are under investigation. If we're informed that advertisers engage in illegal activities, we suspend their advertising privileges. CityBeat’s policy is that we don’t knowingly accept advertising from businesses that engage in illegal activities.
In the case of adult services advertisers, Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher, Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis and other local officials would prefer that CityBeat employees play judge and jury and deny businesses the opportunity to advertise their goods and services.
Apparently today is “Let’s Gang Up on CityBeat” Day in Cincinnati. Just about every public official listed in today’s Enquirer article as being a leader of this “coalition led by Citizens for Community Values” has been the subject of critical news articles, columns and editorials in CityBeat — one of our most important duties is to report on the actions of public officials. For years Citizens for Community Values has actively tried to interfere with our business operations by working to get distribution points to drop CityBeat.
We make decisions about our business every day and on our own terms. We won’t be bullied or intimidated by any outside force that thinks they can make those decisions for us.
We look forward to receiving the coalition’s letter.