*USA Today sparked outrage on Twitter this week after the publication attempted to normalize pedophilia via an article that was originally titled, “What the public keeps getting wrong about pedophilia.”
The report, written by national correspondent Alia E. Dastagir, cites researchers who claim attraction to minors is “misunderstood”.
“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,” Dastagir wrote. “When most of the public thinks of pedophilia, they assume it’s synonymous with child sexual abuse, a pervasive social problem that has exploded to crisis levels online. Researchers who study pedophilia say the term describes an attraction, not an action, and using it interchangeably with ‘abuse’ fuels misperceptions.”
USA Today promoted the piece on Twitter, and one tweet read: “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.”
We’ve removed the paywall on the story. Find the story here: https://t.co/96xxrTbeor
— USA TODAY Life (@usatodaylife) January 11, 2022
Critics called out the publication for attempting to normalize pedophilia.
“USA TODAY TRIES TO “UNDERSTAND” PEDOPHILES!!! 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,” Donald Trump Jr.wrote.
Newsbusters’ Curtis Houck tweeted, “Ah, yes. Here we go with the liberal media celebrating and trying to normalize pedophilia. That’s right, folks. @USAToday, trying to destigmatize…grown adults having sex with little kids.”
After intense backlash, USA Today deleted the Twitter thread and said: “A previous thread did not include all information and the story it was written about is behind a paywall. We made the decision to delete the thread. The initial thread lacked the context that was within the story and we made the decision the pull down the entire thread,” the outlet tweeted.
The article remains on the site under the new title: “The complicated research behind pedophilia.”