Rick Santorum: Obama administration is soft on pornography
By Matt DeLong
Former Pennsylvania senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Sunday stood firm on his position that the Justice Department under President Obama “seems to favor pornographers over children and families.”
Asked to defend the statement, which appears on his campaign Web site, Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the proof “is in the prosecution.”
“Under the Bush administration, pornographers were prosecuted much more rigorously than they are under existing law, than they under the Obama administration,” Santorum said. “So you draw your conclusion.”
Santorum added that the Obama administration has “not put a priority on prosecuting these cases. And in doing so they are exposing children to a tremendous amount of harm.”
Pressed on the issue during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Santorum said hardcore pornography is “very damaging” to young people and his campaign posted the statement in response to someone who inquired about Santorum’s position on prosecuting pornographers. Santorum pledged to enforce obscenity laws.
“There are laws against purveying hardcore pornography,” Santorum said. “And that — we have attorney generals in the country, at least under the Bush administration, who did prosecute that. And this administration isn't. And I simply said I would follow the law, which I know in the case of Barack Obama can be somewhat of a hefty challenge for him, but we're going to do it as president.”
Politico reported in 2009 that the Obama administration appeared to be taking a softer approach to prosecuting obscenity cases than its predecessor when it quietly moved the venue of a case involving the interstate shipment of pornography from the conservative state of Montana to the more liberal New Jersey.
In 2005, the Bush administration created an Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, headed by then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that “focused on prosecuting fetish, bestiality and so-called fringe porn,” according to Politico.
Porn makers dismiss Santorum attack as pandering
Porn makers dismiss Santorum attack as pandering
Mar. 19, 2012 03:42 PM
LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. porn industry's movers and shakers accused Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Monday of pandering to conservative voters when he vowed to crack down on their business if elected.
In a statement posted on his website, Santorum said the United States is "suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography," which he said has been shown to produce brain changes in children and adults, cause the destruction of marriages, and contribute to prostitution and violence against women.
Santorum offered no evidence to back up those assertions. Steven Hirsch, who runs the Vivid Entertainment Group, dismissed them as "ridiculous and just plain wrong."
"It just feels like another ridiculous attempt by Rick Santorum to appeal to the far right," said Hirsch, chief executive and co-founder of Vivid, one of the industry leaders in the marketing of sex films, books and other ventures.
Rape, teen pregnancy and sex crimes have all dropped since porn became widely available through the Internet in the early 1990s, Hirsch said.
He and others said they believe Santorum targeted the porn industry because he sees it as an easy target.
"But what he doesn't understand," Hirsch said, "is that in the age of the Internet, people are more comfortable with adult material than ever before. He thinks that this will appeal to his core base of voters, and that may be true, but it certainly won't appeal to the mainstream population."
The porn industry generates about $8 billion a year when films, Internet downloads, sex toys, dance clubs and other ventures are included, according to the industry trade publication Adult Video News.
The city of Los Angeles, where industry officials say almost all of the country's porn films are made, recently enacted an ordinance requiring that actors use condoms, But that provision only applies to films made on location and not in a studio.
Hirsch and Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt acknowledged that if Santorum is elected he could appoint an attorney general who would step up porn prosecutions. But they added that winning convictions would be another thing.
The public has gotten so much more tolerant of porn, Flynt said, that he routinely sees things on television now that he couldn't publish in his magazine 30 years ago, when he was fighting his own obscenity battles in court.
"While they may not be interested in certain practices themselves, people don't want to impose their values on other people," Flynt said.
"The reason why you don't see a rash of obscenity prosecutions in the country today is because they can't get a conviction," he said. "If they could convict these people they would be prosecuting them."