Ken Klukowski

Only the Justice Department (DOJ) can investigate and enforce these laws. The FCC doesn’t have jurisdiction because this is cable TV; the FCC only has authority over radio and broadcast TV. (Although the FCC doesn’t seem to hold this limitation in high regard, given its vote last month claiming the power to regulate the Internet. But Verizon has already appealed the FCC’s vote, and is very likely to win that lawsuit.)

The reason DOJ must be the one to pursue this matter is because these are alleged crimes. Most lawsuits are civil, where an injured party—usually a private citizen—can ask a court to force the defendant to redress the injury.

But a crime is something a legislature has defined as an injury to society. A criminal’s action harms our entire culture to the detriment of us all. A crime is an immoral action of such a nature that the people’s governmental prosecutors protect us all by punishing the wrongdoer. Only prosecutors can charge someone with a crime, so DOJ is the only entity that can pursue federal child pornography charges.

Not knowing the exact content of the questioned footage, we don’t yet know if these child pornography allegations are true. If so, those responsible must be prosecuted. If not, then MTV must be cleared any suspicion. But the allegations of child pornography at MTV are credible and serious, and as such Attorney General Eric Holder must launch an investigation. If he does not, President Obama should find someone who will.

Recent events show that we don’t need to wait on General Holder, however. Taco Bell has already decided to drop its advertising on “Skins.” While MTV is trying to find someone to fill the void, other advertisers are considering dropping the show as well.

Consumers can drive this show off the air in a hurry. Television is a business, existing to make money. Channels air shows that bring in advertising money to make the channel profitable. TV shows can’t survive without advertisers, because if no one supports a show with advertising dollars, then the channel will cancel the show and substitute a new one. If companies can tell that supporting a show turns off its customers, then that TV show won’t be on the air for long.

But it won’t let President Obama’s DOJ off the hook if “Skins” goes off the air. Child pornography is one of the most serious types of crime. It perverts the most intimate human activity. This particular type of corrupting sexuality permanently damages children in a terrible fashion that’s toxic to our culture.

Attorney General Holder must examine what’s happening at MTV. We should all put on the pressure to ensure that he does.

Ken Klukowski

Ken Klukowski is a bestselling author and Townhall’s legal contributor covering the U.S. Supreme Court, and a fellow with the Family Research Council, American Civil Rights Union, and Liberty University School of Law.