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Home > Features > Sweeps Month and You

by Keith Griffith

This tip came in this week at CRUISING for SEX about an adult bookstore in Southern California: "Drove by tonight and saw a police car, police van, and a local TV channel news van." No surprise to see the police AND the local news working together at the expense of patrons of an adult venue. May is one of the times of the year in the USA when local television stations have their ratings measured for popularity. The winners stand to gain a great deal of money since positive ratings for a local newscast can bring aoubt a substantial jump in ad rates for everyone who works at the station. This is especially urgent for television stations now because the economic slowdown has seriously impacted their bottom lines, too. Cuts in staffing are happening at all levels including the newsroom. Reporters and anchors, producers and cameramen all stand to earn more money from better ratings during Sweeps Month, and given the way the money has been slower to come lately, you could reasonably assume they're desperate to win at any cost in the ratings battle this May. Pity the people who stand in their way. But you and I should stand in their way and to help, we've put together some helpful tools.

"I know of no law requiring undercover officers to self-identify as such." from Legalese

Sex, especially gay sex, is always one of the topics of choice during May Sweeps, and since 1998, a year we first got noticed by media, CRUISING for SEX has come to expect only the worst examples of journalism about us and the men who use our website to cruise for sex. In fact, you may have noticed how your local television news bureau always seems to be at the right place at the right time to record a sting operation at a local park or other sex venue. This isn't just good reporting or luck. Oh no, the police are very often dragged to these venues by an intrepid reporter, camera in hand, determined to grab a story and make a big splash during Sweeps. In fact we've seen numerous examples where media instigate sting operations by forcing the police to either do their bidding or expect to be portrayed by that same media as soft on crime.

I've already gotten inquiries from reporters for this Sweeps Month wanting my assistance in "explaining" this so-called underground sub-culture. They may be new to all this, but I've been around this block of fielding their calls as a expert on 'public' sex for a decade, listening to some dimwit who got a journalism degree trying to get me to say the right words so they can edit them down for their stories benefit. You see this isn't about the truth, this is about ratings. The more salacious the story is, the better. Facts and truth be damned.

"One time when I was busted the cops were also very nice to me. However... there is something you should know about this tactic: sometimes, by being nice, the cops get you to give up information." from our Message Board

My advice to you is to be extra vigilant during Sweeps Month. Monitor this website for alerts which we post almost daily here. Also, subscribe to our Twitter page so you can get instant alerts on your cell phone or via email. Also, take a moment to do our poll on what, if any exposure you've had to police entrapment while cruising. Take the poll here. After you complete the poll, maybe you'll also take the time to share your own personal story on your bad encounters with the law while cruising. Several men have already written on the subject and I hope you'll add your thoughts at this Message Board thread.

By the way, I'm not suggesting you avoid cruising during Sweeps Month. After all, spring has finally broken out and who can't avoid the urge to suck some dick under an evening sky! I know I will keep on cruising. But I also know to be aware and prepared. To help you, I've put together something I call the Legalese with help from lawyers around the country, answering all the basic questions most men who cruise for sex might have. Go here to read this legal page before you head out to your next potential sexual liasons.

"Ask yourself if these cops may be reacting to changes in political realities that do not allow for arresting gay men in bars, but still allow for beating up on 'the fags' in our parks." from Cruiser Primer

I said it back in 1998 when I first noticed this phenomenon of media coverage of our website and it is worth repeating 10 years later: "This nation is ready to deal with 'alternative' sexual behavior." One of the things standing in the way of this advancement is the news media who find it easier, quicker and cheaper to deal with stereotypes and false assumptions about what cruising is about. Another thing holding us back, of course, are the politicians who, never let it be said, could be confused for leadership. Mainstream America is ready to deal with the truth. Hence, my decision to speak in a hopefully useful way to present a positive opinion about so-called public sex when the opportunity presents itself (not often, alas, since most media aren't interested in the truth). I may only get about 6 seconds to make my point, but in the end more of us must stand up and reveal our desires and why we think it is no one else's business to regulate them. Otherwise, we will keep playing this same game. To help you argue your case for leaving men who cruise for sex alone, I've put together what I call the Cruiser Primer that tries to ask all the tough questions and gives you some good ammunition to make your arguments to whomever.

The reporters, the politicians, and the cops are out of touch. Seize this moment and maybe someday you can get down on your knees in that park and not fear that your career, your marriage, your whatever, could be taken away because of the words of a news reporter during sweeps month.


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