August 23, 2006

Kiddie porn madness


Something strange happens when some newspaper reporters get on the radio to discuss stories they've written. All of a sudden, the details get markedly more salacious. Here, the reporter seems to be saying, is the stuff I know to be true but couldn't prove to the satisfaction of my editors. On the Diane Rehm Show yesterday, Kurt Eichenwald added some eyebrow-raising "statistics" to his already eyebrow-raising New York Times stories. Not quite $20 billion eyebrow-raising, but red-flaggy all the same.

The following quote comes about 7 minutes in, if you want to listen for yourself.

"If your child has a webcam, I guarantee the probability is more likely than not your child has been naked on the internet. Your child may or may not be doing it for pay. Your child will almost certainly have been solicited. The number of kids — certainly last year when I started on this is now much - not nearly as bad as it was last year — but the number of kids who are appearing naked on the internet, who are creating child pornography, either for pay or for compliments, was pretty close to the number of kids who have access to webcams."

Hmm. You'd think that if he could guarantee it, it would be in the article. And let's be a little more precise, shall we? Is it "more likely than not" (as low as 51%) or "close to the number...who have access to webcams" (as high as -- what? -- 90%)? The first figure is at least within the realm of possibility, given the broad definition, but the second...?

Factor in the implication that his article last year was directly responsible for reversing this trend, and you begin to get the sense of someone with just a little too much invested in this story, someone with a need to hype it even more than it already has been.

I can't prove, of course, that there's not an amateur child pornographer in 7% of American homes, but I don't think that if I doubt it, it's just because I need to leave my comfortable Park Slope home more.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Yeah, yeah. Dubious claims, salacious journalism, blah blah blah. But I think we're all mostly just interested in where you found that kissy-face webcam shot.

He's the new Marty Rimm.

"If your child has a webcam... Your child will almost certainly have been solicited." I have no doubt that every single woman who posts a picture or webcam in a public anonymous forum public forum will be asked "show me your tits." Does this constitute a solicitation for pornography? Is it any more of a "scourge" than obscene telephone calls? Come to think of which... has the obscene calling rate gone down with the advent of the Internet or are people just increasing their total purient behavior?

The old MSN Messenger provides webcam function, so I assume this new one does. This is what Microsoft has just added:

Distinctions between "reality" and the "virtual world" continue to blur. They proceed to converge.

Post a comment

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2