The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Sickening Desires’

Posted on | March 16, 2015 | 27 Comments

Shakyla Wilson is charged with aggravated sexual abuse.

Political correctness is bad for the news business. Cops and prosecutors give you quotes that are solid gold? Headlines, baby.

Lesbian Coach ‘Preyed on the Innocence
of Young Girls,’ Police Chief Says


Prosecutor Condemns Accused Lesbian
Molester’s ‘Sickening Desires’

Do you want to sell newspapers or don’t you? The late Hunter S. Thompson said, “Nothing grabs an editor’s eye like a good rape.”

Here you have public officials offering Headline Gold, but political correctness prevents editors at the Chicago Tribune from making the most of this lurid and lucrative material:

A Naperville volunteer youth basketball coach has been charged with having inappropriate contact with one of her players at a sleepover, according to DuPage County prosecutors.
Bail was set Friday at $100,000 for Shakyla Wilson, 22, of Naperville, who is charged with one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, authorities said. . . .

(In my mind, I hear the voice of a grizzled city editor: “What the hell is this ‘inappropriate contact’ bulls–t? Stop dancing around the facts and write the g-dd–d story!”)

Wilson is charged with having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl from Hill Middle School, where Wilson was volunteering as a girls basketball coach.
The abuse allegedly occurred Feb. 20 during a sleepover at a player’s residence, according to police. Wilson accompanied some of the girls on the team to a movie that night, and she then spent the night with them at the sleepover, authorities said. . . .

(OK, so we have now reached the fourth paragraph of the story. What then follows are another 10 paragraphs in which school officials discuss their policies for screening employees and we get all the details of Wilson’s basketball career. It is not until the 15th paragraph that we get to the good stuff.)

Naperville police Chief Robert Marshall said he was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations.
“Ms. Wilson purposely put herself in a position of influence and trust in order to prey on the innocence of young girls,” Marshall said.
State’s Attorney Robert Berlin called the allegations appalling.
“A coach’s role is to motivate and inspire athletes to be the best they can be, both on the court and off it,” he said. “Coaches are there to help athletes attain their goals, not to take advantage of the trust their position holds just to satisfy their own sickening desires.”

Read the whole thing. Never mind the sarcasm — and set aside the lesbianism for the minute — it infuriates me to see such confounded laziness in journalism. Writing is re-writing. Back in the day when I was working as a news editor, it wouldn’t have taken me maybe 20 minutes to completely re-write a story like that, which looks like the first draft submitted by a college intern. Here, try this:

A Naperville volunteer youth basketball coach satisfied her “sickening desires” by molesting a 14-year-old girl on her team during a sleepover at the player’s house, police and prosecutors say.
Shakyla Wilson, 22, “purposely put herself in a position of influence and trust in order to prey on the innocence of young girls,” Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said after Wilson was charged Friday with aggravated criminal sexual abuse. . . .

And so forth. Maybe the phrase “college dropout” would have appeared somewhere in the fourth or fifth paragraph. After editing the story, I would have taken a smoke break with the reporter — if I was in charge of the newsroom, smoking would be more or less mandatory — and told him to compare his original draft with the edited version. You don’t become a better writer without that kind of instruction from experienced editors when first you’re starting out. Most newsroom staffs have been stripped to the bare minimum by layoffs during the past decade, but there is no reason why shoddy efforts should be tolerated.

Now, what about the words “lesbian” and “gay” in such a circumstance? Are these words an accusation, or merely a description? Is it ethical to use such words in a headline to describe a sex crime? Ethics, shmethics. Stop pretending journalism is a Priesthood of Correct Thought. Try to remember that you are in the business of selling newspapers. Good crime reporting doesn’t have to be sensational, but there is no reason it has to be boring. The purpose of a headline is to get the reader’s attention.


Law Professor Urges ‘Teach Women Not to Rape’

Obviously, you won’t win any GLAAD awards for that kind of headline, but you might sell some newspapers. Just sayin’ . . .

(Hat-tip: Aaron Walker on Twitter.)



27 Responses to “‘Sickening Desires’”

  1. RS
    March 16th, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

    Where are the parents of these girls? Who in their right mind allows a coach to participate in a sleepover? I’ve had three kids who very involved in sports growing up through high school. I was very involved an would’ve blown a gasket had such a thing even been suggested. Fortunately, my kids have had good, decent coaches, but there are too many of these people out there to relax one’s vigilance for a moment.

  2. Trespassers W
    March 16th, 2015 @ 1:18 pm

    Remember those questions from IQ tests that were phrased “A is to B as X is to _____”? Let’s play that game. I’ll begin.

    “Modern journalism” is to “reporting” as “Michael Moore” is to “Victoria’s Secret model.”

  3. M. Thompson
    March 16th, 2015 @ 1:23 pm

    And the problem is that Journolisters forget they are in the business of selling a good story, not one that fits the Approved Narative.

    They wonder why readership and sales are declining? This is why.

  4. Dianna Deeley
    March 16th, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

    I like the writing lesson.

  5. texlovera
    March 16th, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

    Spot on, Stacy! Fer cryin’ out loud, this story practically WRITES ITSELF!!!.

    The ghosts who roam the halls of the Trib are NOT happy…

  6. Fail Burton
    March 16th, 2015 @ 3:11 pm

    Are there any whitesplaining or mansplaining officials of any kind involved in this? Cuz it deserves a culture of its peers. Maybe an all-black gay feminist intersectional pedagogy tribunal.


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    March 16th, 2015 @ 3:25 pm

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  8. RS
    March 16th, 2015 @ 3:26 pm

    Actually, they’re in the business of selling advertising. I learned that the hard way working for a local weekly during my high school years. I wrote an article about homemade ice cream which had a few throwaway snarky lines about store bought confections. The editor cut those and told me, “We’re selling an insert to a local supermarket chain who’s promoting ice cream. We cannot piss them off.”

  9. Rob Crawford
    March 16th, 2015 @ 3:36 pm

    I threw up in my mouth a little.

  10. DeadMessenger
    March 16th, 2015 @ 3:58 pm

    All that, and yet you still have time to spam blogs! Wow!

  11. OrangeEnt
    March 16th, 2015 @ 3:59 pm

    Look, dummy. You’re supposed to spam this thread with hot, hot lesbian action websites, not fake from home….

  12. Zohydro
    March 16th, 2015 @ 4:04 pm


  13. Chris Cuomo Defends Sharpton Investigation | Regular Right Guy
    March 16th, 2015 @ 4:05 pm

    […] ‘Sickening Desires’ […]

  14. trangbang68
    March 16th, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

    Wait, you made 104 g’s selling “H” and you’re bragging about it online? You must be a lesbian basketball coach or something.

  15. marcus tullius cicero
    March 16th, 2015 @ 4:23 pm

    …see if I get this, men rape but “women” molest…is there a difference that I don’t get?

  16. RS
    March 16th, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

    Wombatice veni foras!

  17. Matt_SE
    March 16th, 2015 @ 4:51 pm

    Naperville, IL Wiki page:

    “The racial makeup of the city was 82.00% White, 2.54% African American, 0.07% Native American, 12.65% Asian…”
    The city is apparently quite affluent, with a population of 141,000.
    I was assuming this was a predator in maybe a minority school setting, but the demographics would contra-indicate that. There are about 10 middle schools, public and private.
    So somehow, the parents thought it was okay to have this woman present at sleepovers. I’m not sure how that happens. Maybe she was playing an angle, like Christian ministry or something…
    She would have to have some reason that would override the parents’ caution.

  18. RS
    March 16th, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

    Some parents are a) stupid and b) wrapped up in the possibility that their kid is going to get a full D1 scholarship that they throw caution to the wind. There’s as much grooming of parents as kids in some of these situations. In dealing with 17 years of kids in sports, I’ve seen the lengths some parents go to make their kid a sports star. It’s very scary.

    Aside: I had a father cuss me out because my daughter–who only played rec soccer before high school without club or select teams–started every game on varsity in high school commencing her freshman year.

    His kid played on multiple club and select teams, he’d paid countless thousands of dollars to send his kid to camps and tournaments and she still sucked. Kids sports is a travesty these days. It’s not for fun; it’s not for the kids. It’s for the parents’ and coaches’ egos.

  19. The original Mr. X
    March 16th, 2015 @ 5:50 pm

    Society doesn’t tend to take female abuse seriously. I’m not really surprised that the parents didn’t raise any objections to the sleepover.

  20. alohasteve
    March 16th, 2015 @ 6:43 pm
  21. OrangeEnt
    March 16th, 2015 @ 8:55 pm

    Yeah, it’s about twenty years difference….

  22. Squid Hunt
    March 17th, 2015 @ 6:36 am

    Fourteen years old.

  23. Anon Y. Mous
    March 17th, 2015 @ 12:44 pm

    Well, yes. Traditionally speaking, for an actual rape to occur, a penis needs to be involved. An F on F crime lacks the necessary equipment.

  24. Zohydro
    March 17th, 2015 @ 1:04 pm

    +1 for proper use of the vocative case!

  25. Zohydro
    March 17th, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

    Lemme es’plain someting to you, Loosy…

  26. marcus tullius cicero
    March 17th, 2015 @ 7:52 pm

    …not necessarily, rape is the “introduction” of any object to a cavity forcible(?)…this was told by a doctor…

  27. RS
    March 17th, 2015 @ 7:57 pm

    And +1 back at you for recognizing “vocative case!”