Anthony Stavrinos writes:

From time to time, Crikey likes to take a
look at what the news websites are offering punters. Late last year you might remember a string
of stories posted on The Sydney Morning Herald’s website – on topics including
beastiality with rabbits and gang rape – all accompanied with advertisements
for KY lubricant or treatment for men having problems with “getting or
maintaining an erection”.

We found the adverts accompanying a story about police claims of aggravated cruelty and
beastiality involving rabbits (link to attached image rabbit_lover.gif) against
a Sydney man.
Police have since dropped the beastiality charges with next instalment of the
case due in May.

This sort of arrangement of content is excusable since it indicates the advertising and editorial arms of the Fairfax site appear to be
operating in autonomy. That, of course, is the ideal – stories
that are not influenced by the commercial pressures of advertising.

But how does News Limited explain this “you
beaut” home page on its news.com.au site at 6.40pm last night.

It features a large photo of Desperate
Housewives star Eva Longoria tagged with the words “Hot Shot” and the line:
“Eva wows FBI agents with her shooting skills”.

Immediately beneath, there’s the reality of
the drive-by shooting bloodbath in Sydney’s west, in an item headed “Shooting
link to 2005 murder” which reports on police claims that a recent fatal
shooting may have links to a drive-by café killing last year.

Distasteful? Almost certainly. Avoidable?
Almost certainly as well, as these were two pieces of editorial presumably
under the supervision of the same person.

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