NEW YORK CITY—We'll say this for Patrick Trueman, the new CEO of anti-porn group Morality In Media (MIM): He's produced more incoherent blather about the dangers of adult content in the last six months than his predecessor, Robert Peters, did in the last six years.
Trueman's latest excretion is a press release/fundraising letter lambasting the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) for disagreeing with MIM's anti-porn campaign—recently extended for yet another week—in which the pro-censorship organization urged its supporters to write and call their federal legislators to demand that the U.S. Department of Justice reconstitute its now-disbanded Obscenity Prosecution Task Force and start prosecuting adult material again. It's something the DOJ is not likely to look upon favorably, especially after its stunning loss last summer in the Evil Angel obscenity case in the District of Columbia, where the DOJ prosecutors were pilloried by the judge for putting on a prosecution that was only "good enough for government work," and for mishandling evidence and witnesses.
Indeed, ASACP's letter was in direct response to MIM's campaign, and declared the campaign to be wrong-headed from the start.
"There is no need for this action," wrote ASACP CEO Joan Irvine, referring to MIM's call for more prosecutions, "since the adult entertainment industry is not involved in obscenity and ASACP has proof that the adult industry has taken steps to protect children from being in and viewing age-restricted content. The adult industry is just that: 'by and for adults'."
Since ASACP's main thrust is ferreting out and reporting online child pornography, Irvine linked to ASACP's "White Paper" titled ASACP Hotline Report – Online Child Pornography: Data & Analysis, which puts the lie to many of MIM's claims about the adult industry's involvement in child porn.
As noted in AVN's article about the ASACP report, "one of the most gratifying things for the adult entertainment industry ... is that of all the URLs the organization receives to check out, none of the adult companies' websites 'tested positive' for child porn."
Irvine's letter also talks about ASACP's Restricted To Adult (RTA) program, which metatags adult websites to better aid filtering programs to avoid unwanted adult content—but Trueman claims that ASACP's program, which has tagged over four and a half million sites, is not only ineffectual but outright fraudulent.
"The porn industry is now trying to counter the good work of the War on Illegal Pornography [sic] before the U.S. Congress and you won't believe what they are saying!" Trueman expostulated. "Here is the whopper of a lie they emailed to YOUR Congressman: 'There is no need for this action since the adult entertainment industry is not involved in obscenity'."
"Then they went on to say the adult industry protects children from being in and viewing age-restricted content," Trueman continued. "They are the very ones giving children unfettered access to hardcore obscene porn, the very ones causing widespread addiction to obscene porn are telling Congress they don't distribute obscenity!"
Of course, it's well-known that many (if not most) Republican politicians and activists have little use for science, but even a quick perusal of ASACP's report makes clear that the numbers generated by its members and staffers regarding online child porn, its sources and users, will be useful to sociologists and others studying the phenomenon for years to come—so of course, Trueman has no use for such facts.
"In a letter distributed to members of Congress by the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP), the group states that Congress does not need to prosecute illegal adult pornography producers and distributors under existing laws because 'they are not involved in obscenity'," declared the MIM press release titled, "Pornography-Front Group Asks Congress to Choose Between Families and Pornography". But, "Nothing could be further from the truth," Trueman claimed.
(As adult legal scholars know, "illegal adult pornography" IS "obscenity"—all non-obscene non-child porn is considered protected speech by the Supreme Court—but words apparently mean only what Trueman wants them to mean, no matter what the rest of the world thinks of them.)
"Many of the very groups that are part of ASACP are the one responsible for giving the children of America unfettered access to hardcore obscene pornography on their websites," Trueman continued, yet again equating "hardcore" with "obscene" and ignoring ASACP's above-noted findings. "The damage to these children is incalculable."
Indeed, Trueman appears to know the difference, since his press release states, "Under the test established by the U. S. Supreme Court, hardcore pornography may be found to be obscene and thus not protected by the First Amendment." However, he blithely segues into the false claim that, "Today, hardcore Internet pornography is the lifeblood of the porn industry and should be prosecuted under U.S. obscenity laws."
Trueman backs up his assertions by referencing the Witherspoon Institute's completely anecdotal collection of essays, The Social Costs of Pornography, a work that contains little science, even though Trueman asserts that "Addiction to pornography by children and adults, violence against women, increased sex trafficking, divorce and many more societal ills can be traced to pornography consumption, according to research." (There is little if any "research" in the Witherspoon "report.")
Still, it's clear that Trueman hopes to use ASACP's letter as a sort of litmus test for legislators' commitment to censoring sexual speech.
"We will see which side our elected officials take on this matter now that they've been solicited by the pornography industry for support," said Trueman at the conclusion of the press release. "The War on Illegal Pornography [sic] has provided a clear way for elected officials to respond. We're simply asking for the enforcement of existing obscenity laws which would shut down most of the hardcore pornography available today on the Internet."
And, of course, "please click here to donate and help us fight the porn industry today. You are so critical to this War."
The ASACP letter can be read here.