Eliot Spitzer's call girl and the bad economy's impact on “orgy rooms” topped ABC's news programming on Friday night.
One report was a sensible interview with a high-profile prostitute. The other exploited the tanking economy to take viewers into a brothel.
20/20 led with an exclusive interview of Ashley Dupré, the young prostitute at the center of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's scandal eight months ago. Diane Sawyer provided a thoughtful interview on a controversial subject. Sawyer noted she has been interviewing prostitutes for several years to determine what makes them choose such a lifestyle. She challenged Spitzer's call girl with tough questions about Dupre's career choices, personal responsibility and future goals.
Too bad the producers of Nightline didn't exhibit the same level of journalistic integrity later that night.
Reporter Neal Karlinsky touted the financial benefits of selling sex, showed the inside of a brothel complete with videos of dancing prostitutes, and gave a tour of an “orgy room.”
The piece began with Karlinsky flying to
ABC's intrepid reporter never questioned the morality of pimping girls as hookers, but rather highlighted the madame's success. “The Mustang Ranch is a multimillion dollar business and despite the unique product, it's run with sophistication and a keen eye on the profit margin,” Karlinksy explained
To exemplify profit margins, or perhaps “sophistication,” Karlinsky included a tour of one of the brothel's more expensive “orgy” rooms.
KARLINSKY: For example, this lavish party room, set aside for only the biggest high rollers.
KARLINSKY: That's a big bed.
KARLINSKY: How much money would normally be exchanged to put on a party
in a room like this?
The two meandered around the room and discussed the deep “discounts” that clients receive because of the bad economy.
While Karlinsky never addressed the controversial nature of prostitution, he sympathetically reported on the prostitutes' struggle.
“The girls here love to brag about making big money – thousands a week in some cases. They're bragging a little less these days, and say they're working harder for less.”