Brent Bozell

The Washington Post recently reported, and then mocked, plans at the FBI to put a few field agents on pornography prosecutions. One unnamed FBI agent who, according to the Post was awarded anonymity since "poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing," derided the idea, saying, "I guess this means we've won the war on terror." The Post reporter also recycled jokes made at FBI headquarters, such as "Things I Don't Want On My Resume, Volume Four," and "I already gave at home."

 It was a cheap and easy dig. No one puts pornographers in a league with Osama bin Laden as a lethal threat to national security. But the FBI is involved in other criminal matters that also look trivial next to terrorism. (A look at the press-release archives will acquaint you with the crackdown on fake asbestos-training certificates.) So why is the FBI doing this? With an eye on public disgust, Congress funded an anti-obscenity initiative in fiscal 2005 and specified that the FBI must devote 10 agents to adult pornography. The FBI put all 10 in the Washington field office, presumably where Congress might see them more clearly.

 It's clear that pornographers in this new century have a much greater reach with the technological boost of the Internet. Hundreds of thousands of web pages are devoted to pornographic images, and one prosecuting boomlet is catching the porn merchants constantly spamming adults -- and children -- through their e-mail accounts. Porn peddlers catch many children through simple internet searches for "DragonBall Z" cartoons and Harry Potter books. But pornographers aren't prosecuted as much as celebrated by our cultural elites. Congress echoed what seems to be a growing movement to expose and confront this repugnant scab on American society.

 This "porn chic" trend is spawning a cottage industry of anti-porn books. The first was called "Smut" by Gil Reavill, a fellow who had been a writer for Screw magazine, but was shocked to learn his 12-year-old girl daughter was a devotee of rap music and was repeating lyrics about performing fellatio on Eminem. Reavill is unequivocal in his concern: "We are enshrining smut as a central place of our culture. We're working toward giving it pride of place in our public commons."

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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