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Saturday, February 6, 2010
Annals of Poorly Written Headlines

A Feb. 5 article by Terry Jeffrey carries this overly long headline: "Yale Gets $3.9-Million Federal Grant to Develop ‘Avatar’ Video Game to Teach ‘Sex, Drug and Alcohol Negotiation and Refusal Skills’ to 9-to-14 Year Olds."

If you're getting the impression that this game is somehow tied to the movie "Avatar," you're wrong. As Jeffrey later writes, "will feature 'virtual characters or avatars' that are guided by the children playing the game to make decisions about whether to engage in behaviors that put them at risk of being infected with HIV."

The alarmism Jeffrey's article is presumably trying to forward -- with its frequent references to “vaginal or anal intercourse" as stated in the grant literature -- is undercut by a headline that suggests a link to a popular movie that doesn't exist. That, and CNS' nonsensical auto-censoring in the comments that replaces "sex" with asterisks. How are commenters supposed to discuss an article on the subject of sex if they're aren't allowed to use the word?

UPDATE: CNS has now changed the headline to "U.S. Gives Yale Researcher $3.9-Million in Tax Dollars to Develop ‘Avatar’ Sex-Ed Video Game for Kids." It makes the headline shorter, but not only does it not address the fundamental problem of falsely linking the game to the movie, it introduces a new error by falsely describing the game as a "Sex-Ed Video Game for Kids." Teaching "teach “sex, drug and alcohol negotiation and refusal skills," which is what the article states the game does, is not "sex education."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:19 PM EST
Updated: Monday, February 8, 2010 9:39 AM EST

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