Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The New York Times and Pornography

The Boston Herald reports that the New York Times is "poised to slip into bed with a Swedish pornography distributor." NYT is looking at some sort of close business relationship with Modern Times Group, a Swedish broadcasting company that includes a station which airs pornographic material late at night. I don't really want to get into a discussion about how evil pornography is or is not, or whether it's inappropriate for NYT to affiliate with a company associated with it. But look what Focus on the Family says about this:
...Daniel Weiss, media and sexuality analyst at Focus on the Family, said the newspaper's message is coming through loud and clear. "If The New York Times is going to choose to befriend a company that distributes pornography, they're letting it be known that they have no problem with this," Weiss said. He added, however, that the Justice Department may be partly to blame. "Unfortunately, we're seeing more and more mainstream companies associating themselves with pornography rather than disassociating themselves with pornography," he noted. "That really goes back to the Department of Justice not prosecuting this as the illegal material it is."
Prosecuting it? I don't know whether the material in question is illegal in Scandanavia, or even whether it would be illegal in the United States. But assuming charitably that it would be, Sweden is just does not, by any stretch of the imagination, fall under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice. Does Focus on the Family *really* mean to advocate prosecution by the U.S. federal government for material that it deems offensive, broadcast on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean?

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