I’ve taken some shade from FBvians for persistently referred to our town’s alt weekly as “the Phoenix-based Dallas Observer.” Mostly, I’ve done this because I like to believe the appellation gooses some of the staff over there and because it’s an homage to the dearly departed Met, in whose pages the phrase originally appeared. But there’s another reason I like to call it the Phoenix-based Observer: because, ultimately, the Observer is run by Village Voice Media people in Phoenix.
Village Voice Media is in a fight with several states’ attorneys general over sex ads on its Backpage.com site. That’s why the Observer‘s cover story last week — which aims to debunk the notion that child sex trafficking is sweeping the nation — was the same story that ran on the cover of every VVM paper. The story was part of VVM’s fight with the attorneys general. It didn’t really have anything to do with Dallas. Nor does the Amber Lyon story in this week’s paper. That’s just VVM trying to discredit a CNN reporter who has done stories on child sex trafficking.
To his credit, Observer editor Joe Tone was very up-front yesterday in explaining why his paper is publishing stories that have nothing to do with Dallas. I don’t envy him. Protecting the business interests of a company based in Phoenix doesn’t look like much fun.