Accuracy in Media

The biography of Mary Beth Bonacci says that, “She does frequent radio and TV work, and has even made several appearances on MTV.” But she is quick to note, in her public appearances, that that was a long time ago, before MTV turned extremely raunchy, and that she doesn’t appear on or recommend the network today. Bonacci, who speaks across the country to teenagers on chastity, warns young people to avoid the sex-drenched media because “none of that stuff should be in your brain.”

It may sound self-destructive for the media to feature her message, but that would be the right thing to do. She talks to tens of thousands of teenagers every year about the need to avoid sexual activity before marriage. Her non-profit group, Real Love Productions, offers books and videos for young people and parents. She dares to tell her audiences that condoms fail, and that sexually transmitted diseases can affect one’s health and life. The latest figures show that 3 million teenagers are infected with STDs each year. Some cause chronic pain and permanent damage, even death.

She does not lecture young people but talks to them in personal terms that they can understand. There are two main themes in her talks?that people are really looking for love, not just sex, and that respect for the meaning of human sexuality is part of what enables people to find real love.

One of the Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Joseph Lieberman, came close to conveying that message at the “America Rocks the Vote” forum sponsored by CNN. He said, “?the spread of sexually transmitted diseases hurts a lot of people” and that “one of the foremost indicators of poverty is if you have a child out of wedlock before the age of 18.” But then he went on to say we have to be “realistic” about these problems and that, in addition to promoting abstinence, school-based sex education programs should “cover condoms and birth control and other means of doing it.” Then, Lieberman added, “And if you’ve got to talk about right from wrong, you’ve got to say don’t do?what feels good right now that may make it hard for you to live the kind of life you want to live and help your child live that kind of life as well.”

Lieberman said “if” you’ve got to talk about right and wrong. That’s the problem today. Too many people are reluctant to say what’s right and wrong. The lack of moral direction was apparent in a recent Gallup Poll finding that a majority of younger Americans?53 percent?support homosexual marriages. Only 32 percent of those 30-years and older backed such a concept. But there are some indications that young people themselves may be getting sick and tired of being treated as decadent sex objects.

Over at MTV, which targets 12- to 34-year-olds, the producers of the raunchy series, Real World, produced the R-rated film, “The Real Cancun,” which was a bomb at the box office. It was about American young people in Mexico having sex and getting drunk. San Diego police say they are now investigating a woman’s claim that she was raped in an oceanfront home where a new edition of the series is being filmed.

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