***Updated below***

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is quoted in the New York Times today sexually slurring Sarah Palin.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

The mayor, who is about to represent the city in hosting the Republican National Convention, apparently finds it terribly amusing that a local strip club is featuring a Sarah Palin look-alike who will imitate the Governor while stripping and selling her body.

This is an act of sexual vandalism against Palin.  Apparently, the New York Times, the Tampa Tribune, and the mayor of Tampa find the degradation merely amusing.

“I wonder whether the look-alike will be able to see Russia from the stage,” the mayor snickered.  In the New York Times.

It’s hard to imagine more inappropriate behavior from the elected official who will welcome Republicans to the city.  In my opinion, he should step away from that job now.  How could he possibly greet Palin after abusing her this way?

The Times deserves censure, too (as does the Tampa Tribune, which ran an earlier, even sleazier version of the story).

Apparently all the Times’ posturing about the dignity of women and the “war on women” doesn’t extend to Republican women.  We’re just supposed to take this sort of stuff lying down:

Over at the back door of the 2001 Odyssey, a limo-size tent with flaps — especially designed for discretion and camera-shy guests — is ready to go up. Déjà Vu is welcoming extra “talent” from around the country in its V.I.P. rooms.

And Thee DollHouse is all Americana: women plan to slip out of red, white and blue corsets and offer red, white and blue vodka. The headliner that week is expected to bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain ex-governor from a wilderness state, known for her strong jaw and devotion to guns and God.

“She’s a dead ringer for her,” said Warren Colazzo, co-owner of Thee DollHouse. “It’s just a really good gimmick to get publicity.”

Here is Bob Buckhorn’s phone number.  Let him know how you feel about embarrassing the city, the RNC, and Governor Palin.  And let the Times and the Tampa Tribune know that they have crossed a serious ethical line by publishing such slimy stories.  Cheap political shots aren’t journalism.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (813) 274-8251

New York Times Ombudsman Arthur S. Brisbane (212) 556-7652, public@nytimes.com

Tampa Tribune (813) 259-7711

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***Update*** The Buckhorn/Palin story just got worse: Miami Herald political reporter Marc Caputo is sleazily bragging that the stripper “playing” Palin is the porn star paid by Hustler magazine to star as the Governor in a porn production with an unprintable title (way to go, Miami Herald, for printing it).  Hustler, Miami Herald — now, what’s the difference, again? 

To complain about Marc Caputo, e-mail the Herald’s Ombudsman at: ombudsman@miamiherald.com.  Ironically, the  paper’s ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, just wrote a column, “Looking for Ways to Tame Poisonous Words on the Web,” about commenters who are “venomous, profane and verge on being libelous.”  Schumater-Matos could start by weeding out such behavior in his own staff.