Honored to Be Caught Looking at Porn


"Morality in Media (MIM) should be honored that a project it launched to combat Internet obscenity has been criticized in short order by two of our nation's leading left-leaning daily newspapers," says the group's president, Ralph Bob Peters, responding to last week's New York Times story about MIM's government-funded monitoring of online pornography and a July 15 Washington Post op-ed piece attacking the program. But Peters doesn't sound honored; he sounds miffed. "I am troubled by the fact that [the Justice Department] has publicly praised ObscenityCrimes.org on a number of occasions," he says, "but to my knowledge has not initiated a single prosecution in response to a citizen complaint submitted to the site."

Maybe that's because MIM, contrary to the impression left by the Times, does not actually sift through the complaints it receives via its site, looking for cases that have the best chance of being successfully prosecuted for obscenity. "Except for complaints that lack necessary information or are obvious mistakes or hoaxes," Peters reports,"all citizen complaints are forwarded to the Justice Department," totaling more than 66,000 in the last few years. At the same time, Peters implies that MIM's investigators are applying some sort of legal analysis:

The Supreme Court has set forth a three-part test to determine whether sexual material is obscene and therefore unprotected by the First Amendment, and the investigators' determinations as to which complaints to pursue are guided by that test. If they weren't, we really would be wasting our time.

Yeah, then they really would be wasting their time (not to mention our money).

NEXT: By the Time We Got to Ronstock

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  1. Sure hope MIM takes the time to review all complaints in their entirety. It would not do to have subporn complaints mixed in with really serious hard porn complaints. As for me, think I’ll volunteer as a sorter, with the appropriate training of course. My own credentials may be a little weak but maybe with more experience I could rise to the occasion.

  2. “…the group’s president, Ralph Peters…”

    Ralph Peters is a war blogger (and a completely shitty novelist). Bob Peters is the President of MIM.

  3. Wait, these douchebags get money from [i]me[/i] to do this? Fucking jerks.

  4. Bob Peters is a great porn name.

    And wouldn’t a gig like this be a great way to find the very best porn out there?

  5. Timothy,

    I think he’s alluding to the fact that the DoJ has to spend time and (our) money investigating 60,000 complaints generated by these folks.

  6. Plus the fact that scarce DoJ resources have to be diverted from less important tasks like counterterrorism and civil rights violations so as to take on the higher priority Porn Menace.

  7. With 66,000 obscene links, they could start their own TGP and make the project pay for itself.

  8. In the last post on this: Work From Home! Look at Porn All Day! they said Morality in Media’s funding for this project came from an earmark. So, we’re not just paying for the DoJ side.

    It’s weird, I get the impression the $150,000 earmark went to the DoJ. The DoJ in turn gives that money to MiM to investigate which sites the DoJ should in turn investigate further. So, the DoJ is paying MiM to act as a filter. Except every complaint MiM receives they pass right on to the DoJ (outside of vague, mistaken or hoax ones). So, the earmark goes to a middle man (MiM) which barely does any actual work. The result of this non-work being zero prosecutions. The bare minimum price tag being $150k + any additional DoJ resources.

  9. I’m honored – HONORED! – to find out there’s gambling going on here.

  10. When did the Washington Post become left-leaning?

    Was it some time between endorsing the invasion of Iraq and endorsing the nomination of Samuel Alito?

  11. joe,

    The Washington Times is conservative, so by post-9/11 logic, the Post has to be liberal.

    Fair and Balanced!

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