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Editorial: Media Too Lax in Dealing w/Porn

WWW – In an April 26 article entitled “The Cyperporn Generation,” contributing writers from People magazine reported on research indicating “how online porn can color a child’s view of love and sex.” The article portrayed the enormous growth of online porn by focusing on a suburban Riverdale (NJ) school class of 13-year-old girls and boys. According to the story, 100 percent of the 42 students in that class have at some time or another viewed online porn.

The magazine also cites a Kaiser Family Foundation study which claims that “70% of the nation’s 15-17 year olds have viewed Internet pornography,” much of it being hard-core porn. Clearly the article represents a dark picture of what is occurring in our society and among our children today.

I find it annoying that the magazine drops this time bomb in the laps of parents and suggests they do something about it. For many parents caught in the treadmill of life — often two working parents, or single moms or single dads — this is a tall order to fill.

While I agree that parents have the ultimate responsibility to monitor their kids on the web, sometimes this is impossible. What does People and its writers say to the parent whose child goes to a friend’s house where no monitoring is taking place? Or to a school library where they refuse to monitor their computers? Or to a library association (e.g., the American Library Association) that suggests that kids have the right to access porn?

We see more and more displays of complacency in the media; the April article in People is just one example. The media, for the most part, is reluctant to place blame on hard-core Internet porn peddlers. The American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, and high-priced First Amendment lawyers in Los Angeles are quick to remind us of their millionaire clients’ free-speech rights. However, those same so-called freedoms can in seconds destroy the innocence of a child. Many of these hard-core porn sites often provide free pictures (“thumbnails”) where viewers of all ages can see extreme forms of porn including incest, bestiality, defecation, public/group sex, and the like.

This is why the Supreme Court’s recently granted stay on the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) is so revolting. Apparently the majority of the justices (as demonstrated by the 5-4 vote) placed the interest of the Internet pornographers above the interests of children.

People magazine, like most media outlets, offers no viable solutions to the flood of porn coming into our homes though the Internet every day. They tell parents to be worried about the problem and offer several monitoring suggestions. Yet the article ridicules filters, citing that they can be overcome by young, savvy computer users. Nevertheless, millions of families have found filters to be a good alternative to the intrusion the porn industry presents to families.

Ultimately, magazines like People should place the blame on the hard-core porn industry which is forcing this perverse material down America’s throat.

Last March, the Wirthlin Worldwide conducted a survey for the group Morality in Media (MIM). The poll clearly shows that the public strongly supports (72 percent) enforcement of obscenity laws pertaining to the Internet. In contrast, those that strongly object numbered only 12 percent. Both law enforcement and the media need to understand that the public wants perversion pollution cleaned up.

Comments Robert W. Peters, president of MIM: “Defenders of hard-core pornography say that the widespread availability of hard-core porn indicates community acceptance of it. Undoubtedly, there is a large market for hard-core pornography; but just as with any other addiction, a large percentage of hard-core pornography is consumed by a relatively small percentage of people who are addicted to pornography, young and old.”

People magazine and other media groups need to present both sides in arguments involving porn. When print and television media fail to present both sides of the porn debate, readers and viewers should contact those outlets and complain about their lack of balance.

The media’s reluctance to criticize the porn industry somehow conveys the impression that the material pornographers offer on the Internet is protected by the First Amendment. This could not be any further from the truth. Obscenity can be defined! Laws already in place allow the Justice Department to do this and to prosecute violators. And prosecution of hard-core pornographers has already been supported by legal, Supreme Court precedent.

It’s time that federal bureaucrats placed the welfare of families above the welfare of multi-millionaire porn pushers!
 

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