Local papers are in a bad way. The pressure to cut costs at the expense of editorial has gutted them of their local content, and driven away their readers. And while circulation has collapsed, advertising has headed the same way – eBay, Craigslist and Freecycle have swallowed the market in classifieds, and now there’s a recession, companies are hacking back their publicity budgets. So it takes a brave business to make a principled decision about what advertising they will accept, and Newsquest won lots of admiring comments when they announced that they would no longer accept ads from the sex trade:
Andy Parkes, group editor of Newsquest’s south London papers, is quoted: “Despite operating in accordance with industry guidelines, the company has taken a decision to no longer publish adult services advertisements, either in print or on its websites. Increasing concerns regarding the appalling issue of human trafficking has been significant in this decision, which is effective immediately.”
So what’s a brave company like that doing running banner ads for the BNP on their websites? Maybe it wasn’t the exploitation of the sex trade that got to them. Maybe they were actually taking a stand against the illegal immigrants offering five-quid oral and taking British johns from British workers.
The BNP is a racist party. They might be legal, but all their policies aim to restrict rights on the basis of ethnicity: Newsquest is associating with a brand whose main values are “viciousness”, “stupidity” and “hate-mongering”, and lending them the legitimacy of trusted local titles.
Such stupidity should create its own punishment by repelling readers who abhor the BNP, hurting circulation and pushing your reader profile downmarket where even fewer legitimate advertisers will want to buy a piece of your hopelessly damaged newspaper. But just in case the Newsquest management is too dim to figure out cause and effect, email them and let them know why you’ll never be taking one of their hate-friendly trash-rags again.