Morality in Media Polls Anti-Porners

Tina Reilly
NEW YORK, NY – Morality in Media, a nonprofit organization that aims to uphold standards of decency in the media, issued the results of survey Thursday that it feels aptly represents national support for more "vigorous" enforcement of obscenity laws.

According to Patrick McGrath of Morality in Media, the poll is the second in a two-part series that started several years ago and includes opinions from a large swath of Americans representing all races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds. The poll was conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide.

The poll states that eighty-two percent of adult Americans think that federal laws against Internet obscenity should be more strongly enforced, which two years ago reflected an eighty-one percent response. Women who opposed the presence of 'obscene' pornography took a marginal lead over men.

"We wanted to see if public opinion in favor of obscenity enforcement had held, and it did," McGrath told XBiz. "We were prepared to see a drop off, but there wasn't one. We asked virtually the same questions as we did two years ago and we found that it was essentially unchanged, particularly against Internet pornography."

McGrath says that the poll and other contributions Morality in Media makes to the fight against obscenity are in support of federal and state prosecutors. Morality in Media launched a website called ObscenityCrimes.org in June 2002 that collects website URLs from people who feel they have been subjected to 'obscene' hardcore Internet content.

McGrath and his co-workers regularly forward lists of those URLS to both the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and to individual U.S. Attorney's offices throughout the country.

McGrath told XBiz that since the site went live two years ago, Morality and Media has forwarded upwards of 40,00 reports to prosecutors.

"The Wirthlin poll results are yet another indication that a large majority of American people are offended and concerned about the distribution of hardcore pornography, particularly on the Internet," stated Robert W. Peters, president of Morality in Media "And, in recent months, the president and members of Congress have taken note of that popular opposition."

However, while the U.S. Government is ramping up its efforts to fight obscenity, McGrath feels that the pornography industry is working hard to make porn more mainstream, to make porn "cool," and get porn into the public eye by getting placement for porn stars in mainstream television programming.

"Defenders of hardcore pornography say that the widespread availability of hardcore pornography indicates community acceptance of it," McGrath said. " Undoubtedly, there is a large market for hardcore pornography, but just as with any other addiction, a large percentage of hardcore pornography is consumed by a relatively small percentage of people who are addicted to pornography (young and old)."

McGrath also added that the re-hiring of Bruce Taylor as the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Prosecution Department of the Justice Department will help ramp-up obscenity prosecutions after a prolonged lull.

"We know his determination to get things done," said McGrath. "It takes a while to do these cases properly and they have no shortage of leads."