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"Eric Holder accused of neglecting porn fight"

on Monday, 25 April 2011. Posted in Media Updates

Politico

To the list of social issues such as abortion once thought to be off the 2011 political agenda and now making a comeback, add a hot-button one from the days of Reagan-era Attorney General Ed Meese — pornography.

The catalyst for a renewed fight over pornography is a recent, little-noticed move by Attorney General Eric Holder to shutter the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, a special Justice Department unit set up during the Bush administration under pressure from conservatives upset about the proliferation of obscene material on the Internet.

Critics say the decision reflects a lack of interest in prosecuting such cases. The dissolution of the task force has touched off an angry reaction in Congress as well as from conservative activists pressing for a crackdown on hard-core adult pornography, and threatens to embroil Holder and the Obama administration in another culture-war confrontation.

Department officials say the administration is not giving up on prosecuting obscenity but that such violations are better handled by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. Even some who support such prosecutions concede that they are increasingly difficult to pursue at a time when pornography is a multibillion dollar industry whose products are readily available to anyone with a computer — and when the lines between pop culture and X-rated entertainment are seriously blurred.

“Attorney General Holder told the Judiciary Committee last year that this task force was the centerpiece of the strategy to combat adult obscenity,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told POLITICO in a statement Friday. “Rather than initiate a single new case since President Obama took office, however, the only development in this area has been the dismantling of the task force. As the toxic waste of obscenity continues to spread and harm everyone it touches, it appears the Obama administration is giving up without a fight.” ...

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