The Other McCain

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Pornographic Politics: Did the Daily Caller ‘Pull a Media Matters’ on Rick Santorum? UPDATE: Romney and Gingrich Both Made January Pledge to Fight Porn

Posted on | March 15, 2012 | 77 Comments

Today I noticed a thread at Memeorandum aggregating commentary on an article by Daily Caller associate editor Steven Nelson:

‘Vigorous’ Santorum crackdown may catch
Internet porn viewers with pants down

I sort of shrugged that off, and then I saw this Tweet by Jedediah Bila:

Didn’t tweet about this today, but if it’s accurate, I find it absolutely insane.”Santorum Promises Broad War on Porn”: http://onforb.es/zjmZvb

That link is to an article at Forbes. Again, I shrugged this off. But then I was checking my e-mail and saw an item from Judson Phillips at Tea Party Nation:

Ritual Santorum suicide
As Rick Santorum tries to coalesce his position as the Anti-Romney candidate, he manages to attempt political suicide. … Gingrich has his faults, but none this dumb. Romney, for all of his faults such as being a liberal, is not that dumb. Does Santorum really want to simply lose?

Phillips’s item linked an article in The Hill on the same subject, and now I was suspicious, so I checked: Yup.

Nelson’s article was headlined at the Drudge Report. And that’s when I decided to read the Daily Caller article:

Santorum says in a statement posted to his website, “The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws.”
If elected, he promises to “vigorously” enforce laws that “prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.” . . .

Yes, this is what Santorum says in a statement, one of about two dozen issue-oriented statements on the “Where I Stand” page of his campaign’s Web site. The statement is clear: Santorum wants to enforce laws that the Obama Administration has refused to enforce.

Would you like me to be more specific — because I could, y’know — about some of the clearly illegal obscenity now available online? Perhaps Jedediah Bila or Judson Phillips should contact former Attorney General Ed Meese or former Justice Department official Mark Levin and ask them about this subject. Because I’m reasonably sure that a whole lot of things now available online are, in fact, illegal.

Suffice it to say (I’m trying to be circumspect here) that there are some acts in which “consenting adults” may legally engage, but which are not legally protected as “free speech.”

But maybe the circumspect approach is part of the problem.

How can I put this politely? Ah! Let’s try this: What you want to do with that baseball bat in the privacy of your own home is strictly up to you, but the video is illegal obscenity.

Did that help clarify the issue somewhat?

Remember that Rick Santorum has a law degree and spent 16 years in Congress drafting legislation. He knows the law, and he knows the Constitution, and he knows doggone well that the First Amendment wasn’t intended to protect the kind of filth that’s on the Web nowadays.

So, yes, Santorum promised “vigorous” enforcement to shut down operators who are profiting from commerce in illegal obscenity, and you may agree or disagree with that. But this isn’t an issue that Santorum raised during a stump speech yesterday or that is the subject of his newest campaign ad.

THAT STATEMENT HAS BEEN ON SANTORUM’S WEB SITE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS, PERHAPS FOR MONTHS.

If you didn’t realize that when you read the Daily Caller article — if you mistakenly believed that Santorum had suddenly decided to raise this subject during his campaign — ask yourself why you didn’t realize it.

Do you feel you have been misled?

Exactly why the Daily Caller saw fit to assign its associate editor to write a 700-word “news” article, soliciting opinions from Eugene Volokh and Jonathan Turley, I don’t know. Why this cheap political “gotcha” hit-job deserved headline treatment at the Drudge Report, I don’t know.

But for intelligent people who call themselves “conservative” to fall for such a dishonest media stunt as this is ridiculous.

As James Carville likes to say, “If you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you know it didn’t crawl up there by itself,” and this particular turtle seems mighty damned suspicious to me.

UPDATE: Thanks to a sharp-eyed commenter who found this Jan. 9 news release from Morality in Media:

Three of the leading GOP 2012 Presidential candidates have made statements committing to enforce existing federal obscenity laws if they are elected, while the current administration still refuses to enforce federal obscenity laws prohibiting distribution of hardcore pornography, according to Morality in Media.
Morality In Media launched efforts in October 2011 to contact the 2012 presidential candidates, including President Obama, to obtain their respective views on the enforcement of obscenity laws. Thousands of individuals sent emails, made calls and even spoke to the candidates in person urging them to respond to the survey. As a result of these efforts, the following candidates responded:

  • Former Senator Rick Santorum in a written statement:
    “Federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced. If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so.”
  • Former Governor Mitt Romney in a written statement:
    “(I)t is imperative that we cultivate the promotion of fundamental family values. This can be accomplished with increased parental involvement and enhanced supervision of our children. It includes strict enforcement of our nation’s obscenity laws, as well as the promotion of parental software controls that guard our children from Internet pornography.”
  • Former Speaker Newt Gingrich in a face-to-face meeting:
    When MIM’s Executive Director Dawn Hawkins asked former Speaker Gingrich if he will enforce existing laws that make distribution of hard-core adult pornography illegal, he responded: “Yes, I will appoint an Attorney General who will enforce these laws.”

OK, good: That was on JANUARY 9th, which means that the Daily Caller has had more than two months to write the story about how Mitt Romney wants “strict enforcement” of federal obscenity laws.

But they didn’t write that story and send it to Drudge, did they?

You wanna hear some obscenity, Tucker Carlson? Because I’m just about in a mood to cuss a blue streak at your blatant deception.

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Comments

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Dang it, we’ve been outed; you’re on the list now brother — pax vobiscum.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Don’t turn around and pitch a fit when they do the same thing to Mitt ;)

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    This is true, and a sad commentary upon our society — the members of which have no problem with giving away their rights to express ideas (such as limited government) but are going to pitch a fit if they can’t watch the most degrading, debasing, debauchery on the internet.
    And of course the people who would allow this to continue, even defend it because hey, it’s not their canidate on the hot seat.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Hmm, since he will have to defend himself…this wouldn’t be a bad comeback from Santorum, that the 1st was was supposed to be about freedom to express your ideas of liberty, not partake of kiddie porn, animal abuse, and snuff films; what has our society come to?  Puts a nice perspective on it.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    No, I consider them to be horribly naive.  There seems to be a thing with libertarians thinking that only consenting, rational, good hearted, sound minded adults will be populating this country where there are no restrictions on personal liberty.
    They are wrong.

    …and in their wrongness they will give the libertines an open door, many bad things will happen (worse than now), and then the people will enthusiastically accept a totalitarian state because it will clean up the libertine mess.

    Most libertarians make the huge mistake of thinking too highly of human nature — or, the only way you can get even a marginally free society is to have a moral one…and we ain’t got it and likely nobody will ever have one that is moral enough to be completely “free” (that would be utopia…which has never worked and always ended badly).

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  • Finrod Felagund

    Valid point.  And when was January 9?

    The day before the New Hampshire primary.

    Putting stuff like this on his website then is the White House equivalent of leaking bad news on Friday afternoon so it can be ignored over the weekend.

    For Stacy to say that people have been deliberately ignoring this until now is disingenuous, because there have been these things called elections going on.

  • Finrod Felagund

    If you think the only porn being cracked down on is child porn, then I could bottle your ignorance and sell it nationally.
     

  • Finrod Felagund

    Good luck when the liberals take over Washington next time and declare conservatism to be a gross fetish and use the same laws you’re promoting now to throw you in jail.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Remedial reading 101:

    If elected, he promises to “vigorously” enforce laws that “prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.”

    I bolded and underlined the important phrase there since you suffered a critical reading failure there.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Now what I find funny here is the idea that Newt would appoint an AG who will crack down on porn.  Cuz, you know, nekkid pictures onna internet, BAD; getting a BJ in the parking lot while your kids are waiting in the car AWESOME!

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

     Of course, it’s probably just all a question of scale…

  • RegularGuyPaul
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  • BradleyBuck

    Obscenity laws are already on the books, so why aren’t liberals declaring conservatism obscene already? The reason is that there is an obvious difference between the expression of ideas and people viewing a sexual act that most in society would consider deviant, even harmful. The supreme court has recognized this difference, so any law restricting any idea would be overturned. The slippery slope argument doesn’t apply here because you are talking about two different things.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    Thanks for assuming that [child porn] is all that  I was talking about. I was talking about illegal porn of any kind (which is what Santorum is referencing). 

    Of course, I’m not sure that your metaphor works given that nobody is really interested in buying ignorance in a bottle.  Now, if I could bottle my BRILLIANCE (of which I have lots to spare) I could make a killing nationally, at least amongst those who actually want to learn something. Sadly, most liberals don’t want to learn so there would be very little market with that particular group.

  • BradleyBuck

    If your position is that any action done in private between two consenting adults should be legal, why is virtual child pornography illegal? It doesn’t hurt any children directly and involves only consenting adults. It’s illegal because it’s deviant and bad for society as a whole. I would argue that there are other kinds of porn (not necessarily all kinds) that are in a similar situation. Maybe not to the same extent, but they exist on the same scale.

  • TBinSTL

    But they won’t do that unless or until he is the nominee….

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    Good to see the resident troll has remained as unhinged as ever.  

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    “vigorously enforce laws.”

    Well, I italicized AND bolded the relevant word so even an imbecile would understand the most critical concept in his statement.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    Yes, and that is supported with exactly WHAT evidence?  

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