ABC Goes to Yale for Sex Week

It's not hard to tell when one of the television sweeps periods is upon us.

ABC's Nightline co-anchor Martin Bashir will be moderating a forum tonight at Yale University that will address the question: Is America addicted to porn?

The taped debate will be broadcast February 22 as part of the Nightline “Face Off” series, which was inaugurated in May 2007 with a debate about the existence of God.

Nightline's participation reeks of ratings manipulation.  February is one of the sweeps months in which networks usually air provocative and sensational programming in order to attract more viewers, which in turn allows them to charge more money for advertising.

The porn debate is one of many activities being held during Yale's “Sex Week.”  According to the website, Sex Week began on February 10 and is a week in which “love, sex, intimacy and relationships” are explored.  Some scheduled events include speeches by Dr. Ruth Westheimer, talks about sex and God, sex and spirituality, talks about “what a girl wants,” and sex toy giveaways.

Porn is also a featured subject, according to the schedule of events.  Friday's debate will be followed by a Saturday seminar on “The Business of Pornography,” a panel discussion with porn actresses from Vivid Entertainment, a leader in the “adult” film industry, and a party to determine which Yalie “looks most like a Vivid Girl.”

According to, tonight's debate will pit “Porn King” Ron Jeremy and adult film star Monique Alexander against Craig Gross, a pastor who created, an online community that helps Christians addicted to porn.  Gross, the “Porn Pastor” will be joined by Donny Pauling a former porn producer who turned his life over to God after being contacted by Gross's ministry.

Gross and Jeremy have debated 16 times before on the pros and cons of pornography and whether it is dangerous or harmless.  Several of these debates have happened on college campuses, so it is no surprise that Yale has it scheduled for Sex Week 2008.

Nightline's motivation to tape and broadcast it in February is even easier to fathom.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.