CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Weapons of Mass Discussion is a Republican-leaning Ohio blog that has uncovered some salacious Internet links today. In a matter of mouse clicks, the links get to the bare-breasted photo of a 15-year-old Ohio high school cheerleader and her 19-year-old cheerleading squad coach.
[UPDATE: 6:55 pm -- Some of the links have now been pulled off the site and Matt Hurley contends they did not go to the 15-year-old girl. However, somebody might want to recover and comb through the original post to verify what Matt is saying. If there was no problem, as he insists, then why eliminate the links? Indeed, the original post said the links to the pictures were not hosted on WMD's server.]
[UPDATE 2: 7:32 pm -- "Here" and "PostChron" lead to the link that was up earlier and has now disappeared from Weapons of Mass Discussion. It clearly is a few clicks away from something the conservative blog now seems to want in the distance. Obviously, it leads to more than the WMD admits. Perhaps Matt Naugle at RightAngleBlog wants to snapshot before it vanishes again. Or maybe Jerid Kurtz at Buckeye State Blog wants to preserve the evidence.]
Both women are from Goshen, a semi-rural suburb of Cincinnati. Weapons of Mass Discussion carries a warning that the photos are racy. It explains that viewing the 15-year-old's picture might entail some legal risk -- the law limits displays of nudity involving a minor -- because the girl is clearly underage. Linking to the picture was a bold move for a political blog, and may bring flak.
The existence of the photos, and how the coach snapped them at a party, are the subject of disciplinary action by the Goshen schools and a police investigation. The events are making worldwide news. Weapons of Mass Discussion decided to give readers an opportunity to examine what the fuss was all about, an opportunity that readers of traditional news outlets haven't been allowed to have. TV and the newspapers have exercised self-censorship, an editorial restraint based on a custom of not wanting to risk offending anyone, or not wanting to burst the bounds of tastelessness and ill-manners. But the bloggers took a different tack -- let people see for themselves, the pictures are on the 'Net. Why pretend they are not there?
Weapons of Mass Discussion might be accused of pandering to its readers' basest interests by giving them a chance to see topless teens. But the blog didn't sin, at least not by the wide open standards of of free speech that prevail in the blogosphere. The sin would have been knowing there was a news story and not delivering that story, even the part that could make you squirm. And remember, nobody has to click on the links to see the pictures.