ARE WE ON THE THRESHOLD OF SEEING HARDCORE PORN ON PRIME TIME TV?
Are we on the threshold of seeing hardcore porn on prime time TV? Very possibly so, if we follow the logic of New York Post columnist Jacob Sullum.
On July 24, 2010 in a column entitled “The trouble with outlawing porn,” Jacob Sullum, supported two recent federal court decisions, one of which invalidated the FCC’s broadcast indecency law enforcement policy, and the other of which dismissed obscenity charges against a commercial distributor of hardcore pornography. Sullum said the cases “show that prohibiting vaguely defined categories of speech undermine the rule of law as well as freedom of expression.”
Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, is available for Talk Show interviews to discuss this intriguing topic.
Said Peters, “I wouldn’t dispute Mr. Sullum’s observation that the FCC’s current guidelines for enforcing the broadcast indecency law are ‘muddled.’ The guidelines have become muddled in good part because of court decisions. But do broadcasters really need additional guidance to determine which indecent words they can air in the presence of children and how often?”
Furthermore, as recently retired Supreme Court Justice Stevens observed in the 1978 FCC v. Pacifica case, “A requirement that indecent language be avoided will have its primary effect on the form, rather than the content, of serious communication. There are few, if any, thoughts that cannot be expressed by the use of less offensive language.” In other words, from a First Amendment perspective, little would be lost even by a rule that prohibited ANY indecent language in broadcasting.
Robert Peters acknowledges that Sullum’s assertion that the Supreme Court’s obscenity test includes “subjective” elements that can make it difficult to know in advance how a jury will rule.
But the Supreme Court observed in a 1973 obscenity case, Miller v. California, stated, “If the inability to define regulated materials with ultimate, god-like precision altogether removes the power of the States or the Congress to regulate, then ‘hard core’ pornography may be exposed without limit to the juvenile, the passerby, and the consenting adult alike...”
Peters stated, “I would add that if no speech can be regulated unless it is defined with absolute precision, then hardcore adult pornography like that involved in the recently dismissed obscenity case could also be aired on broadcast and cable TV during the family hour. According to court papers, the pornographic material at issue in that case depicted “numerous scenes of urination, use of enemas and violent bondage. In a number of scenes, participants ingested urine and excretion from the enemas.”
ABOUT ROBERT PETERS:
Robert Peter is President of Morality in Media. He has been a guest on many television programs including three times on Larry King. He has been a diligent warrior in the fight against indecency for over two decades.
Headquartered in New York City, Morality In Media (MIM) works through constitutional means to curb traffic in illegal obscenity. MIM operates the www.obscenitycrimes.org website, where citizens can report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws.
Established in New York City in 1962 to combat pornography, Morality In Media works to inform citizens and public officials about the harms of pornography and about what they can do through law to protect their communities and children. MIM also works to maintain standards of decency on TV and in other media. Contributions are tax-exempt.
Morality In Media works through constitutional means to curb traffic in illegal obscenity. It operates the www.obscenitycrimes.org website, where citizens can report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws.