“When you go to the public rest room, is someone watching you?”
That's the question the Channel 13 news team is asking tonight to tease viewers to watch its 10 o'clock broadcast.
When the newscast begins seconds later, anchor Art Baron, a jut-jawed 30-something white male, explains: “It's called cruising, and 13 News discovered it's going on right here in New Mexico.”
Baron looks harder into the camera for emphasis: “Now this story is disturbing, but you'll want to know what we found going on behind the walls of those stalls.”
The special report takes up not only one-third of the news hole on this night but also on the next night on 13 News at 10 as well, when it is introduced with animated gun-sight cross hairs with the words “13 Investigates” stamped over them, punctuated by pulsating musical accompaniment.
Despite the time and effort invested, however, “Behind the Walls of the Stalls,” as the report is called, turns out to be an empty exercise. While it notes that a Web site listed 50 bathrooms around the state as places for men to meet, reporters visit only three of the bathrooms and find … nothing. In addition, a search of police records by 13's investigative team yields nothing more than reports of two incidents – both in the same place – of indecent exposure in public rest rooms in the entire state.