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CNBC Special Promotes Porn

Looking for wholesome familiy television oh, say, about 9 pm on July 15? Then make sure not to tune into CNBC. The network will air “Porn: Business of Pleasure,” hosted by Melissa Lee. The special, as touted by the network, will give viewers a look at the pornography industry. But if the marketing is a reliable indication, “Porn: Business of Pleasure” is nothing more than an attempt to normalize, and even promote, the porn industry.


According to a preview, those with qualms about pornography need to get over it. A voiceover explained how porn “is here. People want to see it.” Over images of naughty nurses and various scantily clothed people, a female explained how she wanted to be sex symbol, and another voice said that “pornography has been around since the time of the caveman. It's not going anywhere.” And that's just the preview.


The show will be much more than that. CNBC described it as “an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look inside the multibillion dollar pornography business, from the threats to its profitability to exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with the industry's biggest stars to the one issue that could bring the adult industry to it's knees.”


CNBC seemed to be trying to stir sympathy for the porn industry because it is suffering sales. The CNBC website featured a slideshow of what is to be expected on the 15th and one slide stated that “profits were under assault.” After citing porn's traditional place at the forefront of technological evolution, CNBC said “a weak economy, piracy and free or cheap porn on the Internet” was harming the business.


Tough break for smut peddlers. But it's not as if the porn industry is the only industry with suffering sales. CNBC could have done a special about music or movies being pirated on the Internet, or suffering stagnant sales in the recession. Then it wouldn't have needed to warn viewers about sexual content and that viewer discretion is advised. But then it wouldn't have had as many viewers to warn.


In producing and marketing this special, CNBC was using porn to drive ratings. But it was also attempted to normalize the porn industry. It reassured viewers that porn “was once too taboo to talk about, but not anymore.” Another slideshow preview featured “Passions” soap star Kelli McCarty. She was quoted stating that appearing in porn, “actually helped her mainstream career because of porn's growing acceptance.”


Porn star Jesse Jane explained how, “It's a job and you have to treat it like a job. I'm a mom. I have a family. You know, I bought a house. You know, it's the way you pay your bills. And, there's a lot more that goes into it than just having sex on film, like everybody thinks."


While the preview made some quick references to porn, “Porn: Business of Pleasure” promises to be a salacious look at the pornography industry. It's no wonder that Charles Schwab pulled its' sponsorship from the program. If only the other sponsors would too.