News and Analysis

USA Today: Pedophilia Is Merely ‘Inappropriate,’ ‘Among The Most Misunderstood’ Conditions In America
NEW YORK CITY, NY - MARCH 15: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attend de Grisogono Sponsors The 2005 Wall Street Concert Series Benefitting Wall Street Rising, with a Performance by Rod Stewart at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

One of the nation’s most widely circulated newspapers ran an article on Monday that presented pedophilia as “among the most misunderstood” conditions in American society, diminishing pedophilia as “inappropriate,” while it promoted “destigmatizing the attraction.”

“Pedophilia is viewed as among the most horrifying social ills. But scientists who study the sexual disorder say it is also among the most misunderstood,” opens the article, by Alia E. Dastagir. “Researchers who study pedophilia say the term describes an attraction, not an action, and using it interchangeably with ‘abuse’ fuels misperceptions” about pedophiles.

One of the experts compares pedophilia to any unguarded sexual impulse upon which society would frown. Anna Salter, a psychologist, says she begins her sessions by asking, “How many of you have ever had an inappropriate sexual thought?”

The article then favorably quotes Allyn Walker, formerly of Old Dominion University, who promoted “destigmatizing pedophilia” and calling pedophiles “minor-attracted persons.” Walker — a transgender individual who uses the pronouns they/them — said the “stigma” against sexual attraction to minors “can actually lead to harm against children.”

The newspaper opened a lengthy thread on Twitter by stating, “We think we know what a pedophile is. There’s a lot we’re misunderstanding.”

“When most of the public thinks of pedophilia, they assume it’s synonymous with child sexual abuse. 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,” the paper told its readers via social media.

Roughly 20% of all girls and 5% of all boys experience childhood sexual abuse, according to the National Center for the Victims of Crime.

The newspaper subsequently deleted the Twitter thread. “The initial thread lacked the context that was within the story and we made the decision the pull down the entire thread,” the paper wrote.

“The Internet is forever a******s good try on the delete tho!” wrote Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter. “To me (and probably anyone who has been watching) this is nothing more than the first step of trying to normalize this kind of behavior.”

The article, which appeared in USA Today’s “Health and Wellness” section, triggered a withering response from bewildered readers. “F***ing what,” asked one. “Did your editor approve of you writing this or did you just kind of slip this article in?” inquired another.

Social scientists say the effort to erode the social taboo around pedophilia has been underway for years. “I do not misunderstand pedophilia at all,” Jennifer Roback Morse — a former Yale economics professor who founded the pro-family Ruth Institute — told me. “The architects of the Sexual Revolution declared, without proof, that all sexual restraints were outmoded taboos that we were well rid of. But the sexual taboos protect the interests of children.”

In order to eliminate traditional sexual morés, “the sexual revolutionaries had to redefine childhood. Instead of children being dependent on their parents, parents became the oppressors of children’s sexual liberation. Instead of being innocent, children became sexual beings,” added Morse. “In this way, pedophilia has been baked into the sexual revolution from the beginning.”

The world’s most notorious pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, took a similar tactic of presenting sexual attraction to minors with same-sex attraction. Epstein “said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable. He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world,” according to New York Times reporter James B. Stewart.

As long ago as 1996, Mary Eberstadt wrote in an article titled “Pedophilia Chic” that the “social consensus against the sexual exploitation of children . . . is apparently eroding.”

Throughout the 1990s, feminists prodded colleges nationwide to host performances of Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues.” The original script gives a positive portrayal of a 24-year-old lesbian seducing and statutorily raping a 13-year-old girl. Subsequent edits raised the girl’s age to 16.

The issue of pedophilia interjected itself into last year’s Virginia governor’s race, as concerned parents noted that books in public school libraries depicted acts of homosexual pedophilia and/or portrayed man-boy sexual interaction in a positive light.

The newspaper that published Dastagir’s article, USA Today, has increasingly blurred the line between reporting and editorializing. Late last year, USA Today ran a news story allegedly linking support for the right to keep and bear arms with neo-Nazi extremism. Earlier in December, the newspaper asked, “Is math racist?

Related: ‘Minor-Attracted Person’: Inside The Growing Effort To Destigmatize Pedophilia

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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