A simple word change can make a difference.

Catching up on the local news today, I read about a teenager (18) who has been showing nude photos to under age people and allegedly also molested 2 others. 

The first article -from a local CNN affiliate- I ran into said:

A Henderson teen is under arrest, charged with statutory rape, sexually battery and a probation violation.The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint about 18-year-old Westley Aaron Williams, of Fletcher, showing nude pictures to minors. The special victims unit said during the investigation they learned that Williams had sexually assaulted two juveniles. Williams is being held in the Henderson County Detention Facility on $ 35,000 bond.


To see if I could find more information, I went to the local Fox news station:

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. -- A Fletcher teen was arrested Thursday, accused of sexually assaulting two children and showing nude pictures to others.Deputies said they received a complaint about 18-year-old Westley Williams showing nude photographs to children. They said, during the investigation, they determined that Williams had also sexually assaulted two children.Williams was charged with statutory rape, violation of probation and two counts of sexual battery. He was being held at the Henderson County jail on $35,000 bond.



Words used in writing can convey a meaning or an emotion. As you read, certain familiar images may pop into your head creating your own view of the scene. The first article used the words juvenile and minors to describe the victims. As I read, I was thinking that maybe he's just some 18 year old kid sending his 16 year old girl/boyfriend some naughty pictures and some how was caught. It could be a case of just innocent fun between the boy and some teenager girls at a party. The parents flip out and press charged. It happens. I was not so quick to pass judgement as I would be in some cases.


The second news article used the word children. My thoughts immediately changed. Children? Now, exactly how old were these children. See to me, the word children means exactly that. It gives me a totally different mental picture. It makes me think of someone who is around elementary school age. By the time a person reaches junior high level, they know about sex and are [hopefully] informed but are still not [and should not] considered consenting adults. The word juvenile or minor would be more appropriate for this age group.


Now, until the ages are released or more information is known, we cannot tell which news station is being misleading. However, these news writers should take the meaning of words into consideration when they are writing. Things like this can completely ruin a person's character and reputation.  [My cousin is in a similar situation and is being wrongly accused.] Sadly, these type of "goofs" by the media is a very common occurrence.


In my honest and biased opinion, I have a feeling it will be Fox news.

Views: 163

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on April 1, 2011 at 6:29pm
I see a lot of bias in media, but in this case I am not certain there is an intended bias.  I don't mean any bias either when I say that fox may have changed the word to children because they felt fewer of their readers can absorb the word juvenile.  Either way, I don't like seeing stories like this come out in either form until there has at least been an indictment and the ages of the victims are established by sworn evidence.
Comment by Scarlette Blues on April 1, 2011 at 8:45pm

I hate to see stories like this too. There's no other information listed or anything just, "A new molester to add to the list!" His picture is on both the sites, as well. This kid is way too young to have his name smeared right at the starting line. 


Comment by Keith Highgate on April 2, 2011 at 2:13am

I find myself thinking this way a lot of the time as I read/watch the news.  Long ago it used to be news was just that, a relay of information from one to another.  Media was meant to be used is a dissemination system of information to those whom wouldn't already have said information.  Accuracy in this instance was key.


Now skip with me to current day; News is about selling information to a target demographic.  No longer is accuracy required, its more about shock.  News writers no longer remember what they are there to do, instead they are either willing (or pressured) to make sure the story sells.  Even if they are selling a falsehood to make sure that you the reader will come back for more.


How I miss the media of old, you know the one that actually told the truth. Instead of attempting to rally its readers into a frenzy.


Comment by Arcus on April 2, 2011 at 8:44am


What's so bad about showing nude pictures to children? The showing of (sexualized) pictures of children I agree with is a bad thing. But to? Can someone please explain..

Comment by Scarlette Blues on April 2, 2011 at 12:43pm

@Keith- 100% in a agreement. All I see now is opinionated news from almost every newscaster. I saw a quote the other day from someone, I don't remember their name, that said that in the earlier days of broadcasting you would never know the political party of the newscaster.

It's so true. Just by their speech, I can usually tell who's on who's side. just give me the facts. i can go to the internet for opinion....


@Arcus- I think this is what we're kind of talking about here. It's all misleading propaganda. I think many people see the words "nude, pictures, kids" and automatically assume it's dirty pictures.

The other way it can be seen is as showing non-graphic nude photos to kids. The only way I can think of it being used this way [and not being seen as a crime] would be if the pictures were scientific or something, like a textbook. 


BTW, I live in the Souther US. Sex crime cases are on the rise around here [and from what I've seen in the news, all over the U.S too] Pretty much anything with a sexual nature can get you on the sex offenders list, even pissing in a parking lot at a bar.

Comment by Scarlette Blues on April 2, 2011 at 12:48pm

I just noticed something else in the articles. 


The first article says he is being charged with statutory rape. Isn't this usually used in cases where teenagers are caught having sex? The second article mentions this at the bottom but the first like of the article reads, "sexually assaulting two children."


Fox news, I'm disappointed in you guys again.

Comment by Arcus on April 2, 2011 at 12:53pm

@Scarlette - Admittedly I don't know whether or not children are harmed by pornography (which is why I'm inquiring). I cannot really see any case made for non-pornographic nakedness.  Do you know of any evidence thereto? And if so, does it outweigh the clear negative factor of imprisonment over doing it?

Of course, if it is personal photos not meant for sharing it's different with respect to the person being shown, though not the persons being shown to.

Comment by Scarlette Blues on April 2, 2011 at 2:37pm

What would you consider non-pornographic images? 

I, too, do not know about the effects of showing children pornographic images. It may or may not have psychological effects. Someone with more expertise will have to answer that. It is however a law. Showing anything that is remotely sexual to a minor (i.e pictures of yourself naked, which is what I suspect in this case) will get you sex crime charges.


My own opinion is that I don't believe that children should be shown any type of nudity unless it is educational. They are not mature enough to understand the concept of pornography. I also do not think the case above is a case of education. If it was with children, not juveniles, it should be considered a crime. If it was with juveniles, I may just be some 18 year old just messing around with some younger friends. Hopefully, the stations will post more information when they get it. I'd really like to know the ages of the kids.


Comment by Arcus on April 2, 2011 at 2:58pm

I guess my definition would be pictures which does not involve erect peni or sexual simulation. Sexulized pictures, such as underwear ads, I would not include.

I'm from a region where nudity is considered quite normal. Throughout my upbringing we regularly visited saunas with naked people of both sexes and all ages. Nudist beaches were often only demarked by a red ribbon on the beach, and topless sunbathing was the norm. Even childrens television had nudity, and there were educational childrens programs in the late 70ies and 80ies (watched by 5-12 yo) which discussed everything from sex, masturbation, body parts, physica development etc. without any preconseptions of good or bad.

Seeing as the laws in the US are quite strict regarding this, I find myself wondering if they are based on any type of evidence outside Christian morality. I haven't educated myself, and I find myself a bit interested in finding out why.

Btw, this is how my teacher introduced sex ed when we were 12:


Comment by Scarlette Blues on April 2, 2011 at 3:56pm

I suppose Christianity has had a sociological effect on the southern US. There are no saunas and no nude beaches. Even wearing a thong at the beach will get you a monetary fine in South Carolina. The more and more I see and hear about the world's cultures, the more and more I see how ignorant people are in my part of the country. It sad to say but yes, Christian "morals" do play a large part in the South and have since we took over the land. I'm sure if you traveled to South Carolina and talked to some of the older locals, you will still hear racism and hatred toward anything other than the Christian white man and his wife. It sad but true. Though, I will say the world is changing. More and more secular people are coming out of the woods and turning our larger cities into more secular ones. It seems to me that the hate speech is only fumed indoors now rather than in the streets. 


Btw, I've visited Miami a few times and there are few parts of the beach that are nude/topless. That's where I spent most of my time. It was a great experience and best of all...no tanning lines. 


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