The Stranger's Dan Savage Is No Stranger to Suckling at the Teat of Big, Bad Village Voice Media Inc.

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If VVM's so evil, why's he taking their money?
In the annals of Stranger hypocrisy--and there's a long and storied record there--the obsessive coverage of a lawsuit down in San Francisco against Seattle Weekly's owner, Village Voice Media, has raised the bar to levels previously unseen.

Even Dan Savage's usual mob of sycophants on Slog have been rolling their eyes at endless posts whose sole and obvious purpose is to find anything possible to reflect negatively on Seattle Weekly and cause people to doubt our paper's future. (I believe this is the 15th anniversary of Dan's first declaration that Seattle Weekly was about to fold. Wishing won't make it so, Dan, but keep talking.)

The Stranger has even dispatched a staff writer to San Francisco to cover this critical story, the first out-of-state reporting bankrolled by the paper since Christopher Frizzelle's incisive feature on picking mushrooms in Oregon.

But while the Stranger labors daily to portray Seattle Weekly as the pawn of some malevolent corporation--and to portray the Stranger as down with the little guy, the indie, the alt and outré--somehow the outraged writers on Slog have never acknowledged or disclosed the central truth of the situation: that the guy who runs the Stranger is completely in bed with this purportedly evil empire.

There are two papers involved in the San Francisco case. The one owned by VVM, called SF Weekly, is accused of selling ads below cost in an attempt to drive its competitor, the Bay Guardian, out of business. So in which paper do you think Dan Savage, defender of all things indie, runs his sex column--the one owned by the evil corporation, or the indie paper that's standing up for what's right? It's SF Weekly, in fact.

In which paper do you think Savage has chosen to syndicate his sex column in New York City--the corporate-owned predatory Village Voice, or the indie alternative called the New York Press? Why, yes, it's the Village Voice again.

Indeed Savage takes home a paycheck from every one of the Village Voice weeklies (except the one you're reading!). Despite all that ill-gotten money, all that corporate oppression, the head of the Stranger seems to have no problem pocketing the cash, the page-views, and the notoriety. You won't read that in any of the insufferably long and tedious Slog posts about this "scandal." But it's something you might want to bear in mind.

Of course, the ultimate hypocrisy is the one known to anyone involved with the advertising market in this town, which is that the Stranger, since it was first founded, has endeavored to do exactly what SF Weekly stands accused of: low-balling ad prices so as to put a competitor out of business. It's the Stranger m.o., but we won't be filing a suit about it anytime soon. Courtrooms aren't our favored place to fight.

 
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