More than three out of four U.S. adults support the U.S. Justice Department crackdown on obscenity

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NEW YORK (November 15, 2005) – More than three out of four (77%) adult Americans support the Justice Department’s effort to enforce federal obscenity laws, according to results of a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Morality in Media November 4 to 7. Fewer than one in five (19%) of U.S. adults oppose new enforcement efforts. The question asked and overall breakdown of responses are as follows:

“The Supreme Court has held that obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment and that obscenity laws can be enforced against commercial distributors of hardcore pornography. During the past decade, hardcore pornographic videotapes and DVDs, films on pay TV channels, and Internet websites have proliferated. Soon, cell phones that combine voice with pictures will make it even easier to access hardcore pornography. Recently, the Justice Department established a task force to prosecute obscenity crimes, and the FBI recruited additional agents to investigate these crimes. Do you support or oppose this new effort to enforce federal obscenity laws?”

          * 77% Total Support
          * 19% Total Oppose
          * 62% Strongly support
          * 14% Somewhat support
          * 8% Somewhat oppose
          * 11% Strongly Oppose
          * 4% Not sure/No opinion
          * –% Refused (volunteered)

The results come from Harris Interactive’s National QuorumTM, a bi-weekly omnibus survey conducted among adults living in the contiguous United States. The survey was conducted among 1,005 adults 18 years of age or older and is representative of the U.S. population. The survey has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

There was strong support across all demographic groups examined for increase enforcement, with at least 59% in each of the 102 groups examined.

Robert W. Peters, President of Morality in Media, commented:

“Those who defend hardcore pornography, whether in court or in the court of public opinion, point to the proliferation of this vile material as ‘proof’ either that everyone is viewing it or that people no longer deem hardcore pornography unacceptable. The porn defenders overlook at least three factors.

“First, much if not most hardcore pornography is consumed by a relatively small percentage of males who are addicted to it. Second, just because a person experiments with hardcore pornography does not mean he or she has become a devotee of it, especially when pornographers promote their products relentlessly and by deceptive means. Third, just because a person views some hardcore pornography does not mean he or she finds all of it acceptable or thinks more of it would be a good thing.

“Defenders of hardcore pornography also say the Justice Department efforts to curb the sale of obscene materials is a waste of resources. They overlook the reality that the floodtide of hardcore pornography pouring into our communities and homes is adversely impacting society in various ways, including:

  •   Contributing to teen promiscuity
  •   Contributing to the breakup of marriages
  •   Contributing to sex crimes against adults and children
  •   Contributing to on-the-job sexual harassment
  •   Contributing to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS
  •   Contributing to the coffers of organized crime
  •   Contributing to a tarnished “anything immoral goes” national image.

“They also overlook the fact that when obscenity laws are effectively enforced, the resulting fines and forfeitures will offset most if not all of the cost of enforcement.”


Headquartered in New York City, MORALITY IN MEDIA works through constitutional means to curb traffic in illegal obscenity. MIM operates the website, where citizens can report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws, and the National Obscenity Law Center, a resource for prosecutors, law enforcement agencies and legislators.


Support Morality in Media, Inc.’s Work to Fight Obscenity

  Author: MIM  11/15/2005

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