LOS ANGELES—You'd think there was only one porn story this Christmas. Every news outlet ran the thing. In fact, we've lost count of the number of mainstream articles about the Virginia man who bought his 8-year-old son a new Nintendo 3DS at Walmart, only to have the boy and his friends discover as they were playing with it for the first time that the device contained a dozen porn photos. In many ways, stories like this, which contain only a few facts on which to build an article, are like a Rorschach test for journalists. In this case, it has already circled the globe a few times, allowing writers of all stripes the opportunity to add whatever level of commentary to it they desired.
A story about a boy who finds porn on his new Nintendo is also tailor-made for our modern media, which likes nothing better than a Christmas story involving innocence betrayed and porn. That a kid and an "outraged" dad are involved makes it irresistible. Add in Walmart and you have a slam dunk story, and guaranteed eyeball-attracting headlines.
A few examples of which include:
Of course, most people commenting on these stories failed to fall for the media hype, with many observing that the story is really about Walmart reselling returned goods as new, and reminding parents that like with porn in general, it's up to them to check the darn Nintendo before handing it over to the eight-year-old.
Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, Nintendo and sex are hardly strangers! Likewise, AVN reported on the 3DS' usefulness as an adult toy mere months after its release. Two and a half years later, it is hardly surprising that someone actually used it for that purpose, something Walmart and all retailers have to consider as they restock returned items to sell as brand new.