Ignorance of facts and best practices drive comments about “pedophilia”

By Sandy . . . In a recent broadcast of Tucker Carlson, Fox news exhibits, and allows Carlson to exhibit, that ignorance. Fox, in bold headlines, announces, “TUCKER CARLSON: No healthy society can tolerate pedophilia,” with a sub-heading of “Tucker speaks out against child sexual abuse.” The connection is made: Pedophilia and child sexual abuse are interchangeable terms.

In another video, Carlson bemoans the fact that California is “Putting thousands of pedophiles back on the street.” He is speaking of individuals who have been convicted of child sexual abuse, have completed the court-ordered incarceration period, and are released under community supervision for the remainder of the sentence. Once again, the connection between the word and the crime is inescapable.

That connection, that inference, is WRONG. And in so making it, Fox and Carlson do what they accuse the “academics” of doing: They manipulate language in order to elicit a desired response that serves their own interests.

These are the facts about pedophilia. It is a medical term, not a legal one. There are no laws or statutes criminalizing pedophilia. Depression might cause a person to shoplift, but the criminal act is shoplifting, not having depression. Not everyone who shoplifts has depression, and not all with depression shoplift.

The same is true with pedophilia. Not everyone who molests a child has pedophilia – in fact, research suggests the percentage is low – and not everyone with pedophilia has engaged in any criminal conduct, including molesting a child.

Carlson and Fox News ignore these facts and do everything possible to cement the connection in their viewers’ minds.

Carlson takes the “academics” further to task for introducing the term “minor-attracted person” in place of “pedophile.” This is not, as Carlson claims, to create a climate accepting of sexual abuse of children but rather to create a climate in which society and, most importantly, those who have committed a crime, see themselves as a person first, a person who has committed a crime, a person capable of repenting and being rehabilitated.

Why does this matter?

Person-first language recognizes that people are not their crimes, but rather that people commit crimes. And above all, it gives those who have committed crimes, are repentant, and have changed or want to change a way of looking at and feeling about themselves that is correlated with a reduction in criminal behavior.

A reduction in criminal behavior is for the benefit of public safety as a whole. So while Fox and Tucker Carlson claim he is “speaking out” against child sexual abuse, what they are doing in reality is criticizing and vilifying those who are actually working to reduce it.

Until now, the use of the word “pedophile” has not been found in American, mainstream news outlets or publications. It has occasionally been found in “fringe” British media. In crossing the Atlantic, it seems to have found a home with Fox.

There is one solution. If this type of language manipulation is not consistent with best practices, if promoting false connections and beliefs is not consistent with what best serves public safety, let Fox News know.

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26 Thoughts to “Ignorance of facts and best practices drive comments about “pedophilia””

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  1. vinny

    Ignorance and Politically driven Statements like that set a dangerous precedent that would take what would seem like an eternity to correct and does effect more than just PFTR (Person Forced To Register) just so one ruling class can get a better paycheck in this lifetime with no regards to the people they hurt!

  2. Stefan

    This issue is a difficult topic. In the public’s mind all “pedophiles ” want to assault children, and all people who assault children are “pedophiles.” Some people go so far as to say that anyone on the registry is a “pedophile.” Fear sells.
    What is discouraging is that the term M.A.P. is now being identified as the same as a pedophile.
    Just because a person loves money, they won’t rob a bank anymore than a MAP os likely to harm children.

  3. CJB


    As you probably realize, the Media At large does not usually proper terms; they use to sensationalize things…..

    Pedophilia, is a DSM-3 Disorder that must Diagnosed by a panel of 3 licensed medical professionals..

    For example, the media pinned Epstein as a Pedophilia; in fact he was never diagnosed; however, most reasonable people would pin him as a Master Con-artist that used Sex as a Manipulating tool etc…..

    Just like Weinstein.; he is not a ‘PEDO’, as many news organizations use this shorter version….etc

    Just like when a Registrant signs their registration form..the forms are printed with the term ‘sexual offender’, which is in the first person and it is in the Active Tense of the English Language which infers that the person signing the piece of toilet paper is sexually offending; of which they are NOT 99.99999% of the time

    Perhaps many of these ‘genius’ never went to English Class inclusive of most Judges who probably skated thru law school back in the 1990’s when it was fashionable to go to law school!


    1. Fred

      Can you share which media outlets you know referred to Epstein and Weinstein as “pedos” and dedicated entire segments or articles to throwing that word around. I would like to look them up.

      1. CJB

        Just google it….The Media at large made references all the time….even today, they call Weinstein a Pedo….Or watch the News and they will use those types of words…Yea the guy maybe n idiot but he has yet to be diagnosed…..just like when they raised Signs in Vatican City declaring that the former ‘Pope is a Pedo’

        Obviously, the level of education that exists in the Media, Law Enforcement, Legislatures and Judiciaries is Lacking! Quite Embarrassing to See So Much IGNORANCE!

    2. Fred

      Which keywords should I Google? I just tried “Washington Post calls Epstein a PEDO” and “CNN uses word pedo”. Nothing is coming up. Can you be more specific on which sources you heard this from? Maybe just point me to one,

      1. Fred

        Sometimes when someone we look up to is being called out for something we don’t like, instead of saying “I am done with this person”, we dig in and say “everyone is doing the same thing, lay off him”. Then when challenged to provide examples to support our claim, we say “Just Google it, it’s everywhere.”. A lot of this has to do with our own shame and not wanting to take a closer look at our biases because we just can’t go there yet. We have to hold tightly to to the illusion that we are right and people we lookup to wouldn’t lead us astray.

        CNN showing footage of people(protestors?) waving unfavorable signs about the former pope is not in the same context of a CNN, or any other host, referring to Epstein, Weinstein or the Pope as a pedophile. They are showing a newsworthy event that a lot people didn’t like the Pope because of past allegations.

        If you can find a single instance where Don Lemon, Anderson Cooper, David Muir or any other host on a news network, even Fox News, is referring to anyone as a pedophile or suggesting that everyone on the registry is a pedophile, I would really like to see it. I am an avid news watcher and reader. I have never seen anything from a reputable network or paper as appalling as what Tucker Carlson on Fox News recently did.

        When making a claim, it’s a good idea to have your evidence on hand. Links are not allowed here, but you can still describe it with who, where, when and what they said in specific terms. Telling someone to find evidence to support YOUR claim is a fail, but I admit I did take the time to do this just to prove a point. I searched it on several of the big news websites (Fox News, WaPo, ABCNews, CBSNews, NBCNews, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, The Boston Globe an d a few others). Sure the word “pedophile” comes up in the searches, but not in the context of describing another person. For example, I saw “Mother claims book shows pedophilia” and “College professor has us discussing pedophilia”. I do not see a single instance of Epstein, Weinstein, or anyone on the registry being specifically called pedophiles, except on Fox News by Tucker Carlson.

        Again, if you can prove me wrong, I would appreciate it. If you can’t point to specific instances that support your claim that this is widespread among all media sources, I am going to conclude that this is your opinion, not a fact. You are certainly entitled to your opinions and are welcome to share them.

    3. Fred

      I agree it’s being thrown around a lot on social media and a few people like Tucker Carlson who give commentary on opinion shows, but I am not aware of it happening widely with all media/news sources.

      1. Sandy

        I was intrigued by this thread and did a little research. I could not find any American news organizations that used the term “pedophile” or “pedo” in describing or referring to Epstein. I found a YouTube in which Ghislaine Maxwell calls him that, and I found quite a few references to “Pedophile Island,” and it was always put in quotes.

        Regarding Weinstein, I did, to my surprise and disgust, find a NYT article that used the term in a sub-heading, but it is never used again throughout the article.

        I didn’t find any other reputable news organization or media outlet using the term as a descriptor or identifier of either man. One or two blog-type publications did once or twice. Therefore, I will consider the NYT’s usage of it an aberration and stand by my statement that the term is not currently in usage in mainstream American media — until now, and only if we consider Fox News mainstream.

      2. CJB

        Just look at the coverage of the Death of Pope Benedict….On CNN, they have news coverage of people carrying signs that say “Pedo Pope” and the news person covering states the term ‘pedophilia’ many times..

        Also the media in general about Epstein always referred to him as a Pedophile…..It may not be stated in headlines but it is mentioned in the news reporting…..

        From CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS…..they use the term Pedophile or Pedophile all the time when discussing it……

        Local news and national news broadcasts use the term incorrectly when they are reporting about a sex related situation…..

        Even Don ‘LEEE-MOAN’, from CNN, uses the term incorrectly

        Left Wing/Right-Wing Medias use the term incorrectly!

  4. Phil

    The “boogie man in the bushes” tactics has served politicians for centuries to push any agenda they choose.

    The weaponization of the media is helping to fuel the same tactics.

    Notice they ONLY talk about opinions, NEVER about empirical data or peer reviewed bodies of research.

  5. Flip

    Pedophile has become a catch all term that includes anyone under 21. Further, a sex abuse claim makes no distinction between actual sexual abuse and normal interaction, to the point where a potential adult relationship is suspect…in internet world anyway

  6. WC_TN

    Until enough of our family members, friends, TREATMENT PROVIDERS, etc. start speaking up and loudly excoriating these people for their intentional mis-use of this word, they’re going to keep doing it. They do this because there is a payoff. For Tucker Carlson, he gets great ratings. Start tanking his ratings and see if he changes. Family members and friends need to start voting the pro-registry crowd out of office. There’s not a whole lot I agree with Kitanji Brown Jackson on, but I absolutely respect that she has looked at the research and allowed that, even if only in part, to influence her sentencing as opposed to just blindly maxing out every C.P. and sex offense that comes before her.

  7. Ann Mellow

    All this related to Q-Annon movement and deviating American. This movement is danger to our country and our loss of our freedom. Wake up American and quit supporting advertiser that support fox news.

  8. vinny

    what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul
    I am not a practitioner of anyone religion but i was watching the movie Geronimo last night and heard that line and i cannot get it out of my head now!
    What’s next Reservations .
    I Once Moved Around Like the Wind ……. and now i just Surrender.

  9. pete

    This is from Wikipedia.
    Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.
    And this:
    some people who commit child sexual abuse are pedophiles, child sexual abuse offenders are not pedophiles unless they have a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children, and some pedophiles do not molest children.

    It seems accurate to me. I don’t see the problem with using these words together, or in the media, if used accurately. What I object to is that all sex offenders whose crime involves people under 18 are called pedophiles. For example, a middle aged man who is attracted to a post pubescent, 16 year old female is not a pedophile. However, sexual contact between the two is a sex crime, but not child abuse.

    1. Sandy

      And if the consenting minor is 16, it is not a crime in the states, over half of them, in which 16 is the age of consent.

      1. Eric

        But would be considered a crime under Federal statutes, which can be brought to bear if the two communicate by telephone or internet (whether or not they live in different states).

  10. Tom x

    Sandy, anyone on any SO Registry, or those not on any SO Registry, must fight the sensationalism that the media and politicians use to denigrate with false information, with false statistics, with misstated statistics that denigrate SOs. Happy to have given you a heads up on Tucker and his false information. I am not on any “list” rather believe such a list is an abomination.

  11. William M Hart

    As I always your efforts our behalf are much appreciated. But faux news is not going to change. It’s entertainment. faux news should be shut down and the Murdochs expelled. They broadcast pornographic content. Pornographic in that it has no social redeeming value except to those scatologists who indulge in such behavior. They are nothing more than a televised version of the old check out counter tabloids.

  12. Eric

    Those of us who have spent time in prison know that other inmates hold sex offenders in the lowest regard, classifying each one as a child molester (“cho-mo”) and presuming that they have forcibly raped a very small child.

  13. vinny

    i forgot that i commented here already, but i will say it again. your words speak truth and logic !

  14. S.

    Does more harm then good, misleading the public who often time do not know anything about sex offender registry and the strict restrictions that are attached to the offenders for numerous years. Instead Fox makes it seem they are being release without any conditions or parole to roam the streets like predators. Fox also didn’t provide any actually research on recidivism rates being the second lowest out of all sexual offenses. They were simply defaming sex offenders as a whole. While I believe in first amendment rights but leaders and media who provide false information should also be heavily fine and force pay special damages to offenders.

  15. H n H

    I have to comment here. You won’t find any google searches for Epstein or Weinstein and pedophilia. It’s not a headline runner. What IS the issue which I think everyone is trying to get at is the commentary from talk show hosts all over media pumping into everyone that Epstein had the Lolita Express and they are the ones that bring up pedophilia. They’re talking points, not headlines. I recall once when Geraldo Rivera was on a FOX talking point rant when he brought up the sex offender registry. I will quote him, though I don’t have the exact date he said this… “I don’t know how anyone can be a sex offender and not be a pedophile”. Yes, he said that, and it caught my attention because that’s a narrative that these talk show hosts portray to everyone and those armchair warriors are the ones all agreeing with it. Then the next time anyone hears of a sex offender, automatically the seed has been planted that it’s synonymous with pedophiles. What I don’t hear in the ramblings here are any references to Hebephilia, or Ephebilia or even Teleiophilia. Sandy, since words matter, perhaps an investigation into these other facts of “philias” might be in order. I will say I know of a case where a teenage girl kept pursuing an older man and the investigator told a teenage girl literally… “…. that’s impossible, you can dance naked in front of him all night long if you want, but you can’t lead him on”. That gives a ticket to all teenagers for the freedom to do whatever they please. If they get caught then there will always be a DA and some sex crimes unit that will portray them as victims… unless the other party is 1 or 2 years under them, then they are culpable and someone else is a victim. See how that works? The system feeds on its own hypocrisy.

    1. CJB

      H and H

      exactly….it is in the talking points….however you see Signs in headlines’ backgrounds that have people with posters that say “Pedo Pope”….while the anchor person may not headline the story with the term Pedophilia…..they will have people who use the term in the story….so it is all intertwined; and once again the average person does not understand most words in the English language….they do not know the definitions of words…..They are ignorant and do not foster education!

      Happy New Year!

  16. Tim in WI

    The use of the word is loaded and every judge in this world knows it. For the individual sex offender the distinction is important only to his or her self. State’s position is that registration is about conviction alone and is not associated with assignment as a paedophile. This is a hot topic in the context of failure to register because either state’s have a manifest interest in identifying persons as such, or they do not in the context of FTR. State will attempt to make the point irrelevant to the multi parts questions to guilt and ask judge to deny the line of questions without first finding it ( the word paedophile ) itself in the original record. This fact means if bench judges side with district attorneys lemine motion the defense is forced to reach into the pre-sentence investigation from the qualifying sex case’s jury finding. Usually that task is performed by DOC Probation & Parole specifically trained to do so. If the word is in the record it is then still fodder for a jury. So much of adopting a database driven registry is about the collateral affects & direct effects upon society. I simply note both the outgoing Speaker and the incoming Speaker are in fact, from CA. How tech billions edge both sides.