Brent Bozell
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Sometimes it's hard to measure the distance between the supposedly established, respectable press and the seediest corners of hardcore pornography. On March 1, ABC's "Nightline" celebrated a porn star named "James Deen" (real name: Bryan Sevilla). The apparent "news" hook is his role in a forthcoming movie with the ever-more pathetic Lindsay Lohan.

ABC reporter Cecilia Vega sold Deen as a 27-year-old hazard to teenaged girls. They're boasting that he's found a new frontier of porn consumers, "some of them so young we couldn't even interview them on camera. Their parents had no idea that secretly they have a crush on a porn star. It is a phenomenon that not even the man at the center of it fully understands, but it's one that he fully defends." Insert ooooh-ahhhh track here.

Nothing sells like sensationalistic sex. Just call it "news" -- and hide the smirk.

Deen took the usual porn star's usual "sex-positive" stance: "You know, there's a 15-year-old girl, an underage girl, an underage guy, an underage person that is viewing a scene that I'm in or any sort of porn, chances are they're doing that because either they're curious, they're horny, whatever it is, they're sexual enough that it is something that they desire, that they crave, that they want. And it's not necessarily a bad thing."

This is not Ted Koppel's "Nightline," watching him yammer with an expert about Iranian mullahs. This isn't professional journalism. It's crotch-centered tabloid fare for the MTV crowd.

Vega turned to Deen's vaunted girl fans for more praise, like Christina Ahlsen, now 21: "He looks like somebody that I could see at, you know, a coffee shop or something and actually approach." She also likes porn: "My first legitimate encounter with porn was when I was in fourth grade and I searched Playboy. It was early adolescence, yeah, and that's, you know, a very curious stage." Vega then added: "There are literally thousands of women out there who share Christina's enthusiasm for all things James Deen."

It quickly becomes apparent that this ABC story is not a warning against Deen. It is a commercial for Deen. Anchor Juju Chang began the segment by insisting "James Deen, of course, is not his real name. It's his porn name, and it could soon be a household name." ABC shows you and talks about Deen's blog, lingers over Deen's Twitter page with 111,000 followers, as Vega cooed, "And if the visitors to his site are underage, well, Deen says that's not something he can control."

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Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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