Never let it be said that MSNBC doesn’t know a profitable thing when they see it and the Amazon controversy over a book for pedophiles is right up their alley. MSNBC has posted the image below as evidence of the depravity that has consumed Amazon. Presumably there is something disturbing about the picture, but they blurred it so it’s anybody’s guess what that might be. MSNBC is way too responsible to actually include a an unedited copy of the picture they are condemning Amazon for carrying. Yes, way, way ,way too responsible.
The listings are disturbing, as you may be able to sense even from the blurred item pictured above. Nudist videos from Eastern Europe appear on the U.S. Amazon retail site; meanwhile, books and videos that feature scantily clad pre-pubescent Eastern European and Asian girls, specifically stated by an independent website as being between the ages of 11 and 17, are listed on Amazon properties in Japan and elsewhere, and on Yahoo in Japan. That there are more books and videos of this nature on Amazon and other online retailers is highly likely.
Where to begin. First, nudity in pictures is protected by the First Amendment. Nudity does not equate to porn for most people whose IQ is at least into the double digits, but MSNBC, being merely a part of the American free press, might not be aware of the extent that the First Amendment actually protects, you know, free speech. Amazon as well as many other retail book outlets sell books that show naked children, whether it’s nudists, medical books, art books, photography books, etc. And yes, that protection even extends to pictures of Eastern Europeans and Asians. From what I gather, MSNBC apparently draws the line at videos as if they are granted a lesser degree of protection than books.
I guess the real stunner is that Amazon is selling material showing pre-pubescent girls that range in age up to 17 which would be a real rarity given that girls usually reach puberty somewhere around age 10-12. I suspect the author is really talking about adolescent girls, but that won’t do if you’re trying to keep the story focused on the pedophile menace.
Then the story goes on about a girl, Masha, who was adopted as a sex toy at age 5. She was photographed and her photos were distributed to pedophiles (people interested in pre-pubescent, as opposed to adolescent, children).
Amazon would never have sold material like the pornographic photos of Masha; however, as Marsh pointed out to me, the site currently lists a lascivious “true crime” book, for sale by four used-bookstore partners, about Masha’s case, written by Peter Sotos, a man who once pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge.
So, Amazon is not actually participating in the illegal activities described, but MSNBC has no problem linking them all together based on something like the they-all-share-the-same-planet theory. Clearly Amazon should be conducting background investigations of all authors of books that discuss the child sex abuse topic . I mean how many can there be? While it’s true that topic is the center of focus for the entire sex hysteria industry, my guess is that there can’t be more than a few tens of thousands of authors involved.
“There’s a real disconnect on what the true nature of child porn is,” [lawyer and child advocate] Marsh said. “99.9999 percent of the material I deal with features pre-pubescent children being raped … the most graphic hardcore images you can imagine.
Really? Okay, so how many books and videos did MSNBC came across on Amazon that actually show pre-pubescent children being raped? Ummm. None? So apparently they’re zeroing in on that relatively harmless .0001 percent, huh?
People think downloading a picture of a baby in a bathtub is going to send them to prison. That’s not what we’re talking about.”
Yeah, people like that are idiots. They don’t lock you up for shit like that. They just take your kids away from you.
But there is a fine line. When it comes to young girls in swimsuits…
So how do people know exactly where the fine line is drawn?
“There are complicated legal tests that courts need to engage in to determine what is or isn’t legal,” [Marsh] explained.
So, no one can really know in advance? They just have to take a guess and if they guess wrong they get their lives destroyed? Ok, so I guess everyone should steer clear of anything that might possibly, maybe, conceivably, potentially to someone somewhere (especially some prosecutor or child abuse panic-monger), looks vaguely like it might be material that borders on child porn because it includes pictures of children who are nude, or not nude, or dressed in swimsuits, or posed in a way that could be construed to by unchild-like. Ok, I think I understand, now.
As for Amazon — and Facebook, another current target of Marsh’s activism — he says free speech should not be the defense. “It’s not about First Amendment rights,” said Marsh. “It’s about what material a good corporate citizen should be making available to the public. And that’s the kind of decision Amazon should be making.”
Well, I think I have to agree with this. The way they define “the fine line” between what’s legal and what isn’t, there is no First Amendment. In order to obey the law, people have to know what’s legal and what’s not. That’s a little difficult if it doesn’t get defined until you’ve been prosecuted and the case is in the hands of the jury.
Only a complete imbecile would believe this is not a First Amendment issue. If publishing and selling books isn’t a First Amendment issue, it would be interesting to know exactly what Marsh thinks a First Amendment issue actually looks like.
I think its time to cut through the crap here. I can understand why MSNBC would publish this kind of idiocy. After all, ethically challenged NBC thinks nothing of creating crime just to give them material for their network. CNBC is one-sidedly covering this story as if the Amazon can be tried under Masha’s Law even though they don’t identify any actual child victims. Is it sleazy journalism? Of course, but this is not that far removed from the sensationalistic fear-mongering that CNN and Fox News engage in regularly to boost ratings.
It is clearly a First Amendment issue in the sense that advocacy groups like this aren’t just using social pressure to get Amazon to stop selling a book. Whereas child porn laws target those who use actual children to produce porn, the mission of law enforcement and advocacy groups is now becoming much broader, targeting material that doesn’t involve children in it’s production. This includes, both images and text. Imagery that used to require explicit sexual activity now only requires the child to be “scantily clad”. Whatever can be used to inflame the anxieties of a jury is all that’s needed. And those anxieties have been cultivated by decades of sensationalistic media hype.
The problem is simple. No child has ever been injured by some guy jerking off in his closet to a picture he ripped out of a Sears catalog or tore out of a teen magazine. The injury is done during the actual production of real porn using real children. Laws that go beyond that are thought control.
One final thought. If child advocates are so concerned about children who are abused by the child porn industry, why aren’t they aggressively advocating the elimination of penalties for porn that only simulates children, encouraging a shift away from porn that uses real children. The self evident answer is that, like all moral crusaders, their primary mission is not about saving anyone so much as punishing immorality.
Thanks to reader and fellow blogger Maggie McNeill for the heads-up on this story.