Is there any small, bizarre, “progressive” protest the Washington Post won’t cover? Reporter Theola Labbe-DeBose tested the theory with a Metro section story on Thursday headlined “Sex Workers Criticize Law Enforcement.” The story began with a protest no larger than a line at McDonald’s, judging from the photo published along with it:
Dozens of sex workers marched through the streets of downtown Washington yesterday, demanding better treatment from law enforcement officials of prostitutes who become crime victims.
Clutching red umbrellas and carrying signs that read, “Sex Work Is Real Work” and “Stop Shaming Us to Death,” the men and women came from San Francisco, New York and other cities across the country to publicize a rarely discussed issue that they say is not taken seriously…The lowly status of prostitutes in society, rally participants said yesterday, explains why the crimes went unsolved for so long.
The tiny protest was organized by the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), a nonprofit based (unsurprisingly) in San Francisco. Theola scrubbed out the part where SWOP called specifically on Team Obama to bow to their demands: “Sex workers will submit a letter and demands to President-elect Obama and select cabinet-appointees Wednesday December 17, 2008 to mark the 6th Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.” SWOP’s letter to Obama congratulates him and reports that “For so many Americans, including sex workers, you represent the hope that we will see critical changes that will improve life for all.”
Surely, police should care about violence committed against prostitutes, and should in no way suggest that they have violence coming to them from consorting in shady corners with shady people. But if the cops are taking the law seriously, they should also arrest the prostitutes – “sex workers,” in PC-speak – for breaking the law. This was the most exotic point in Theola’s exotic dispatch:
“I’m just so tired of hearing, ‘If I choose to do X, then I put myself on the line,’ ” said Charmus, 34, a transgender woman who gave only her first name. She lives in Maryland and said she has worked as a prostitute. “Transgender women, prostitutes, you have a right to fight for due process,” she said to the crowd assembled at a downtown park.
In addition to “Charmus,” we also hear from “Wally,” the male escort, and “Leila,” the call girl with a client who ran away before he paid her. At no point in this story is there a spokesman uttering discouraging words against prostitution (and “bemused” passers-by don’t count). In a few weeks, tens of thousands of pro-lifers will arrive in D.C. to march in protest against the rising pro-Obama/pro-abortion tide, and the Post will surely find opponents of pro-lifers to speak in that story. They must rank well below “sex workers” on the Post’s sympathy scale. It’s not too early for some premature outrage.