USA Today recently decided to take on the challenging topic of: Pedophilia: Maybe it’s not as Bad as They Say. The fallout has been predictable, even if not so to USA Today editors.
The paper, one of the largest in the nation, even started a social media discussion of pedophilia and what its article called a growing scientific consensus that wanting to have sex with little kids is something “determined in the womb.”
That proved an even bigger mistake, as social media use so often turns out to be.
USA Today’s article was headlined: “What the public keeps getting wrong about pedophilia.” The paper said in a series of Twitter posts that pedophiles are likely born with their attraction to children and don’t have control over it, as reported at rt.com.
In short, they’re not responsible.
“A pedophile is an adult who is sexually attracted to children, but not all pedophiles abuse kids, and some people who sexually abuse kids are not pedophiles,” USA Today wrote, as if trying to rehabilitate a brand. Easier access to therapy can help pedophiles control their urges, the paper went on to say.
The original tweet was quickly eclipsed by the number of replies on Twitter, called “ratio-ing” and usually indicating a tweet that was so ill-advised it should never have been posted. USA Today shortly took down the entire thread and allowed non-subscriber access to their article as a way of putting out the fire.
But the criticism of USA Today only increased, perhaps because the article quoted “sexologist” Michael Seto as saying, “I think as a field, we’ve accepted the idea that this is not something that people choose.”
It also pointed to growing scientific support for views like those of former Old Dominion University professor Allyn Walker (recently fired), who has called for “destigmatizing pedophilia” and wrote a book on pedophilia subtitled, “Minor-attracted people and their pursuit of dignity.”