Fake News and Pornography Viewing?
“Fake news” is destined to be one of the most popular and overused phrases of 2017. Most commonly used in politics on both sides, it has crept into our vocabulary to describe unverified or speculative stories. Some politicians throw it around capriciously to discredit their opponents’ point of view.
Fake news has emerged (more like continued) in describing pornograpahy viewing and its impact. Solid scientific studies and research have identified many negative consequences of porn viewing. In fact, the studies have multiplied and reached a near consensus on how the negative consequences of porn outweigh any positive ones (Please refer to http://poweroverpornography.com/consequences for a list of documented consequences–some scientific and some not; or do your own searches on “pornography addiction” at http://scholar.google.com).
Yet there are still many who argue in various publications and on various websites in favor of porn viewing as not harmful or even beneficial to one’s sex life. This is fake news. The question is why, in the face of credible research, do people argue in favor or pornography? Here’s my three-part answer:
- The power of rationalization is strong. When our actions are wrong or detrimental to us or others we automatically justify them to allow us to believe we are “a good person.” Rationalization is one of the big preventers of change. Especially for a habit that we struggle to overcome, it’s easier to rationalize it away than confront it and deal with it. The phrases, “Just once won’t hurt,” “At least I’m not having an affair,” and “It’s natural to satisfy my sexual urges,” are just some of the many rationalizations. To combat this element of fake news, don’t believe the rationalizations but review the real, proven consequences to realize that porn viewing hurts you and others you love.
- The porn industry is powerful. They still dominate the internet and still make tons of money off of webpage advertising and paid services. They have strong incentives to interrupt the science by raising false doubts and creating false impressions. Use your critical thinking skills to see how their assertions are not backed up with facts and are not credible. Take a stand and add your voice to the “real news” side of the debate to help offset the fake news.
- Accountability for fake news no longer exists. Porn purveyors and other spreaders of fake news have a strong incentive. They will not be held accountable for their false or misleading statements. I recently saw an old friend of mine on TV (an ESPN 30 for 30 episode) defending his son, a member of the infamous Duke lacrosse team, against the false accusations of rape. Do you recall Al Sharpton falsely accusing the players and condemning them? What was the result of his false story and fake news? He received his own television show on MSNBC. Not only was he not held accountable but he was rewarded for spreading fake news.
It seems that integrity matters less in our society and ratings as well as political correctness matter more when it comes to accountability. What can we do about it? We can first and foremost hold ourselves accountable for our actions and words. Then we can hold others accountable for their actions and words. Have a long memory and see through the fake news of “porn is OK” or “porn is good.”
If you are a porn viewer, take steps to stop. Read Power Over Pornography, listen to the audiobook or take the course (all three available at http://freebook.poweroverpornography.com). so you can add your credible voice to those spreading real news about the terrible consequences of pornography and the joys and beauties of living a loving life. The Smokey-the-Bear saying of “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” applies. “Only You Can Prevent Fake News.”