Politics and Pornography:

A Comparison of the Findings of the President's Commission and the Meese Commission and the Resulting Response

by David M. Edwards

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Twice within less than twenty years, a concerted effort was made to restrict sexually explicit materials in the United States for political reasons. In spite of the Constitutional prohibition against restriction of freedom of religion or the press, members of the U. S. Congress, under political pressure from conservative religious groups and non-libertarian elements of the women's movement, searched for ways to justify exactly those sorts of restrictions. The first occasion grew out of a period of war, civil turmoil, and a dominant liberal ideology, and the second came from a period of relative domestic stability, economic growth, and a dominant conservative ideology.

What these two historical episodes have in common is a desire to focus public concern on a target which could be easily attacked in order to divert attention from underlying social problems which are not amenable to politically innocuous solutions. The greatest damage engendered by these efforts has been to obscure the growing body of evidence stressing the formation of attitudes in early childhood and indicting portrayals of violence as the primary source of concern.

The President's Commission

In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Stanley v. Georgia that people could read and look at whatever they wished in the privacy of their own homes. The "deeply concerned" U.S. Congress, in hope of finding another approach to controlling what many considered to be a threat to traditional American values, authorized $2 million to fund a Presidential commission to study pornography in the United States and recommend what Congress should do about it. Of the original 18 members of the commission appointed by President Johnson, all served to the end of the commission's existence except Judge Kenneth Keating (no relation to his replacement, Charles H. Keating, Jr.), who was appointed Ambassador to India by President Nixon. According to Eli M. Oboler, "Certainly this is as 'representative' a group as could have been put together for such a difficult set of purposes as were those set forth for the Commission" (4226). When a preliminary draft of the report was leaked to a House subcommittee, they discovered "to their unconcealed horror" that the commission's findings were the opposite of what the Congressmen had expected ("Pornography and Politics").

Extremists from both ends of the political spectrum expressed their displeasure during the Commission's proceedings. Two anti-pornography ministers on the commission staged their own public hearings outside of Washington; and at one of the commission's regular sessions a young radical called the project a "blatant McCarthyesque witchhunt," and threw a whipped-cream pie in the face of his questioner ("Pornography and Politics"). Charles H. Keating, Jr., head of the Citizens for Decent Literature and President Nixon's only appointment to the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, requested and received a temporary restraining order from a Federal District Court in Washington, D. C. preventing publication of the Commission's final report ("Court Enjoins"). An out-of-court settlement was reached by the commission chairman and the dissenting members just weeks before the Commission's scheduled expiration date of September 30, 1970, clearing the way for publication of the report ("Porno Cleared" 58).

In the final report, the Commission made the following non-legislative recommendations:
(1) A massive sex education campaign should be initiated, encompassing biological, social, psychological and religious information; (2) There should be continued open discussion, based on facts, of issues relating to obscenity and pornography; (3) Additional factual information should be developed through long-term research; (4) Citizens should organize at local, regional, and national levels to aid the implementation of these recommendations (PCOP 47-49).

The Commission's legislative recommendations were divided into statutes relating to adults, and statutes relating to young persons. In general, with regard to adults, the Commission recommended that legislation "should not seek to interfere with the right of adults who wish to do so to read, obtain, or view explicit sexual materials." Regarding the view that these materials should be restricted for adults in order to protect young people from exposure to them, the Commission found that it is "inappropriate to adjust the level of adult communication to that considered suitable for children." The Supreme Court supported this view. The Commission recommended legislative action prohibiting the sale of sexual materials to young persons, and to protect any person from unwanted exposure to sexual materials either through the mails or through open public display (PCOP 51-64).

A large portion of the Commission's budget was applied to funding original research on the effects of sexually explicit materials. One experiment is described in which repeated exposure of male college students to pornography "caused decreased interest in it, less response to it and no lasting effect," although it appears that the satiation effect does wear off eventually ("Once more").

With the release of the Commission's report, the political firestorm intensified. In an effort to discredit the report, Vice President Agnew associated the commission with the Johnson administration, and said, "As long as Richard Nixon is President, Main Street is not going to turn into smut alley" ("Porno Report Becomes" 34). President Nixon is quoted as saying, "So long as I am in the White House, there will be no relaxation of the national effort to control and eliminate smut from our national life" ("Critics: Censored!"). President Nixon's only appointment to the commission, Charles H. Keating Jr., asserting that he was the only "ordinary citizen" on the commission, said that the report points up the "'root cause of the trouble' on American campuses-namely, permissive professors" ("Porno Report Becomes" 34). Keating accused members of the Commission who supported the report of doing so out of economic self-interest ("Court Enjoins").

William B. Lockhart, Dean of the University of Minnesota Law School and chairman of the commission, said that before his work with the commission he had favored control of obscenity for both children and adults, but had changed his mind as a result of scientific studies done by commission researchers. In reference to dissenting commission members Keating and Rev. Morton Hill, Lockhart said, "When these men have been forgotten, the research developed by the commission will provide a factual basis for informed, intelligent policymaking by the legislators of tomorrow" ("Porno Report Becomes").

An article which appeared in the conservative National Review that October opened with a tongue-in-cheek conclusion drawn from the point made by the report that political conservatives are not as easily aroused by pornography as liberals, saying that this shows "conservatives are superior in taste and good sense." The article went on to accuse the commission of failing to confront the problem of how to protect the "quality of our public culture" ("That Porno" 1097).

On Oct. 13, just three weeks before a Congressional election, the Senate voted 60-5 (with 35 abstentions) to reject the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. Senator Mondale of Minnesota, one of the minority voters, said the lawmakers were trying to deal "with an issue that perhaps cannot be grappled with in light of the current temperament of this country" (Oboler 4225). The resolution was sponsored by Sen. John L. McClellan (D. Ark.), who said that Congress "might just as well have asked the pornographers to write this report." To this statement, A. Plotnik replied, "Congress might just as well write its own reports, if all it wants is a scientific-sounding confirmation of its preconceptions and politically safe postures" (232). This would eventually turn out to be an eerily prophetic statement.

In his dissenting report, Charles H. Keating Jr. put forth the premise that the commission had a mandate from Congress to find ways of stopping pornography, and not to "analyze, ascertain, study, and make recommendations based on what it found to be the truth." Keating accused the Commission majority of being "dedicated to a position of complete moral anarchy," and assured the reader that "One can consult all the experts he chooses, can write reports, make studies, etc., but the fact that obscenity corrupts lies within the common sense, the reason, and the logic of every man." According to Plotnik, "It would be a sad state of affairs if each fact-finding body were to revert to 'intuition,' 'common sense,' and moral indignation, which to each citizen is something else and probably always will be" (332).

The Meese Commission

With the election of Ronald Reagan as President in 1980, the United States entered a new era. The reassertion of traditional moral values was seen by some analysts to be part of an overall conservative realignment, due in part to the aging of the baby-boom generation. However, while polls showed a renewed appreciation for traditional values, tolerance of Americans for the right of others to reject those values showed no corresponding decline (Stengel, R. et al. 13). An example can be seen in the results of a referendum in Maine on June 10, 1986, when voters there were asked to approve a new statute designed to "make it a crime to make, sell, give for value or otherwise promote obscene material in Maine." The vote was 16,101 for and 48,976 against. The people of one of the more conservative states seem to be "unambiguous in their dislike of censorship and the busybodies who promote it" (Hertzberg 23).

In connection with the signing of the Child Protection Act of 1984, President Reagan announced his intention to set up a commission to study pornography, apparently with the goal of obtaining results more acceptable to his conservative supporters than the conclusions of the 1970 Commission. The result was the appointment by Attorney General Edwin Meese in the spring of 1985 of a panel comprised of 11 members, the majority of whom had established records as anti-pornography crusaders (Wilcox 941).

Two Supreme Court rulings in early 1986 dealt with the constitutionality of certain issues related to pornography. In one case, acted on in February, cities and towns were given broad authority to regulate X-rated movie theaters through zoning laws. In the other case, the Court struck down an Indianapolis law which attempted to ban pornography as discriminatory against women. The ordinance, developed by anti-porn feminists Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon and passed by the Indianapolis City-County Council, gave "victims" of pornography, including "any woman acting on behalf of all women," the right to bring civil actions against distributors of pornography. It was held unconstitutionally vague, and was overturned by the District Court, whose decision was subsequently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court (Linz et al. "Issues Bearing" 182).

An earlier case, Olivia v. National Broadcasting Company, Inc., (1978), involved civil action relating to pornography, and is often cited in this context. The legal questions raised by this case are: "(1) When can media portrayals be considered to have incited illegal violent acts? (2) Can social science investigations…be used to establish whether media portrayals incite violence?" The concept of "clear and present danger," originally articulated by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1919, provides the test used to determine when speech is not protected by the First Amendment. The interesting thing about these decisions is that the courts did not disagree with the premise of the legislation, that pornography leads to subordination of women, and possibly even to "battery and rape on the streets." Pornography was likened to speech which promotes hatred and bigotry, which, no matter how insidious, is protected by the First Amendment. When this same issue was considered in Canada, it was decided that "the right to freedom of expression is protected only in so far as it does not interfere with rights of equality of all persons under the law" (Linz et al. "Issues Bearing" 172-185).

As soon as it became obvious what direction the Attorney General's Commission was going to take, opponents began to denounce it. The Meese Commission Exposed, which appeared well before the Commission issued its report, contains transcripts of speeches by such well-known figures as Kurt Vonnegut, Betty Friedan, Colleen Dewhurst, and others at a conference of the National Coalition against Censorship (NCAC). The speakers, most of whom had attended hearings held by the Commission, spoke out "preemptively and forcefully against what they perceived to be the inevitable conclusions toward which the commission was moving" (Burger 442). Vonnegut's bitingly sarcastic piece states, "It is not enough that sex crimes of every sort are already against the law and are punished with admirable severity. It is up to our leaders…to persuade a large part of our citizenry that even the most awful sex crimes are made legal, and even celebrated in some godless quarters, because of the permissiveness of our Constitution" (81-82). One feminist perspective expressed by Betty Friedan is that among the first targets of anti-pornography legislation would be feminist books such as Our Bodies, Ourselves (Burger 442).

Groups such as the Mississippi-based National Federation for Decency advocated picketing and consumer boycotts, claiming they had stopped some 5,000 chain stores from selling magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse ("Supreme Court Speaks"). A number of companies received a letter in February of 1986 from Alan E. Sears, executive director of the Attorney General's Commission, and a copy of "'testimony' charging them with dealing in pornography." As a direct result of that testimony, the 7-Eleven chain stopped selling adult magazines in 7500 of its stores. Another convenience store chain, Dairy Mart, conducted a survey of its customers, asking if it should stock magazines like Playboy. The results were: 55% yes, 35% no, and the rest had no opinion (Stengel et al. 17-18). Two other distributors who received the letters protested and challenged the constitutionality of the action. According to Maxwell Lillienstein, counsel for the American Booksellers Association, booksellers were told "Censor the books and magazines you sell or be publicly branded as pornographers" (Fields: "First Amendment").

Federal district Judge John Garrett Penn issued an emphatic ruling, ordering the Commission the retract the implied threat. He said the original letter constituted prior restraint on speech. Hendrik Hertzberg, writing in The New Republic, noted that these magazines publish not only erotica but political opinion as well. "Once it is established that indirect government pressure on magazine distributors is okay, there is no guarantee that such pressure won't be applied to publications that the reigning ideologues don't like for political reasons" (24). Hertzberg adds, "The First Amendment contains no requirement that the speech it protects be harmless. On the contrary, speech that somebody thinks is harmful is the only kind that needs protecting."

In July 1986 the Commission finally released its findings. In news reports Meese is shown holding the Commission's two-volume, 1960-page report, standing in front of the statue Spirit of Justice, a half-clothed female figure with one breast bare. The original draft of the report, which was written by staff members and overseen by the Commission's executive director, former assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Sears, "an ardent antipornography crusader," was seen as an over-zealous reaction to the testimony of individuals who blamed the evils of their lives on pornography, relying on over-simplification and the bizarre to make its points. As a result, another Commission member, Frederick Schauer, professor of law at the University of Michigan, wrote his own 200-page draft, which became the basis for the final report (Stengel et al. 15).

The mandate of the Commission as expressed in its charter was to "determine the nature, extent, and impact on society of pornography in the United States, and to make specific recommendations to the Attorney General concerning more effective ways in which the spread of pornography could be contained, consistent with constitutional guarantees" (AGCP 215). In comparing their report to the report of the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography issued in 1970, the Commissioners note first of all the difference in available time and money. It is said that, "taking into account the changing value of the dollar, the 1970 Commission had a budget nearly sixteen times as large as ours." They also note a difference in perspective, since "all of us have taken issue with at least some aspects of the earlier Commission's approach, and all of us have taken issue with at least some of the earlier Commission's conclusions." As to the direct influence of the 1970 report on the present Commission, they state rather noncommittally, "Whether this Commission would have been created had the 1970 Commission reached different conclusions is not for us to say." Concerning the attempt to provide an adequate definition for "pornography," this Commission, like others, "decided that definition was simply futile" (AGCP 226-228).

While admitting that establishment of a link between aggressive behavior and sexual violence "requires assumptions not found exclusively in the experimental evidence," the Commissioners go on to say , "We see no reason, however, not to make these assumptions…that are plainly justified by our own common sense" (AGCP 325). Plotnik's 1970 statements seem increasingly relevant.

In a section which is underlined for emphasis in the report, but given little attention in the popular accounts derived from it, the Commission states that the consequences of viewing sexually-violent materials "do not vary with the extent of sexual explicitness so long as the violence is presented in an undeniably sexual context." They point out that so-called "slasher" films "are likely to produce the consequences discussed here to a greater extent than most of the materials available in 'adults only' pornographic outlets" (AGCP 328-329).

Two female members of the Commission, Judith Becker, director of the Sexual Behavior Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Ellen Levine, editor of Woman's Day, objected to "efforts to tease the current data into a causal link" between pornography and violence. Many social scientists believe that sexual attitudes are formed very early in life, and that pornography is "a symptom of deviant sexuality rather than a cause of it." According to Nicholas Groth, who worked with sex-offenders at the Connecticut Correctional Institution, such men get turned on looking at children's underwear ads in the Sears catalog (Stengel et al. 15).

Despite the assertion by Commission members that the report did not advocate censorship, Leanne Katz, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, said "I have been working in the anti-censorship cause for about 30 years, and I have never encountered a censorship controversy in which the other side wasn't saying 'This isn't censorship'" (Stengel et al. 15)

Discussing the commissioners' level of knowledge of human sexuality and the culture of the last decade, Barry Lynn of the ACLU, who is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ in addition to being a lawyer, said "Several of them seemed to be proud of the fact that they haven't been to a movie in five years, as if that's some kind of blessing. I think it's an abysmal statement for people to make who are supposedly critiquing the culture and urging the moral condemnation of the culture" (Fields: "More Difficult" 37).

Even the National Review seemed uncomfortable with the conclusions expressed in the Meese Commission report. Admitting that "this is the sort of question that will never be settled to general satisfaction," it is then suggested that "the commission has to some extent found the conclusion it was looking for." The argument is made that the case against pornography is a philosophical one, having to do with "public morality," and there may be some truth that is "independent of the simpler empirical claims that are made for it." Conservatives are said to have mixed feelings in that they believe it is improper for the government to pressure chain stores into dropping "porn magazines," although they are glad "to see the corner 7-Eleven made fit for family consumption" ("Meese v. Playboy" 13).

Many religious book stores refused to stock the Commission's report for fear of offending their customers. The objections focused on the extensive quotations from and descriptions of pornographic books and films. An article in the New York Times erroneously reported on "the many graphic photographs and illustrations that are in the Government version, culled from pornographic movies and magazines" (McDowell). The only photographs in the Government version of the report are those of the commissioners.

The Aftermath

In October of 1986 the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress released a legal analysis of the Meese Commission report. The article cited the 1973 Miller v. California case, which provides the legal definition of obscenity. That definition consists of three parts: "material is legally obscene only if (1) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (2) the work depicts or describes, in a patiently [sic] offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable law; and (3) the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Failure to satisfy any of these conditions means that the material is protected by the Constitution, except in some instances involving minors. "Materials depicting minors engaged in sexual activity may be regulated regardless of whether they are legally obscene." Minors' access to pornographic materials may also be restricted (Reimer 11-12).

According to the article, even if the Commission's conclusions, which are controversial and subject to serious counterarguments, are accepted as valid, "they do not appear to approach the Brandenburg incitement standard which must currently be met before constitutionally protected materials may be regulated." (Reimer 12). The Brandenburg standard, which derives from the 1969 case, Brandenburg v. Ohio, states that speech cannot be proscribed unless there is a likelihood it will incite imminent lawless action (Fields: "LC Provides").

A report which analyzed the statistical methods used by the Commission was strongly critical. According to Tom W. Smith, the Meese Commission's analysis of public opinion "is marred by several factors. The most serious of these are (1) inappropriate comparisons between variant samples and question wordings, (2) omitting statistical tests of significance when comparing survey results, and (3) failure to use the best available data" (250).

In response to misrepresentation of their work in the Commission's report, Edward Donnerstein, Neil Malamuth and Murray Strauss all issued statements which attempted a more accurate portrayal of the evidence. The problems with the report include factual errors, conclusions which are unsupported by the empirical evidence, and a serious error of omission: "The single most important problem in the media today, as clearly indicated by social science research, is not pornography but violence" (Donnerstein & Linz 56).

They refute Commission's contention that since the 1970 President's Commission report, sexually violent materials have been "increasingly, the most prevalent forms of pornography". In one study, for instance, R-rated "Adult" films had more frequent and more graphic representations of violence than "Triple X" videos. In fact, a number of studies do show an increase in depiction of violence up until about 1977, followed by a decrease. There was no increase in aggressive images in either category between 1979 and 1983, and the difference between the two may be widening due to a decrease in violence in the Triple X videos (Donnerstein & Linz 56-57). One study of video cassettes showed that X-rated films contained what the authors termed more "egalitarian" and "mutual" sexual depictions than "Adult" (R-rated) films, as well as less violence (Linz et al. "Findings and Recommendations" 948).

Donnerstein and Linz pointed out that a 1986 content analysis of detective magazines found that "76% of the covers depicted domination of women and 38% depicted women in bondage. These magazines are not generally the domain of adult bookstores and have never been considered pornographic or obscene." Rather than call for stricter laws, the authors call for "educational interventions that would teach viewers to become more critical consumers of mass media programming" (Linz et al. "Findings and Recommendations" 952).

Certain themes seem to be particularly harmful. Films which depict sexual violence in which the woman is shown to become aroused and eventually to enjoy it seem to result in the greatest affect on the attitudes of men who see them. Yet this research can be tricky to interpret. In none of the studies cited "has a measure of motivation such as 'likelihood to rape' ever changed as a result of exposure to pornography." Men who are already predisposed to violent attitudes toward women may be more sexually aroused by violent materials, "but there is no reason to think that exposure to violent pornography is the cause of these predispositions." The results of these studies indicate that exposure to violent pornography is not causing callous attitudes, but reinforcing preexisting ones (Donnerstein & Linz 57-59).

Donnerstein and Linz's major criticism of the report has to do with its ignoring of the "inescapable conclusion that it is violence, whether or not accompanied by sex, that has the most damaging effect" (59). In a study in which subjects were shown one of three versions of a film, one of which showed sexual aggression and rape, the second of which contained only the violent parts of the scene without the sex, and the third of which had only the sexually explicit portions without the violence, the most callous attitudes and likelihood to rape were found in the men who saw only the violent coercion. Men who saw the X-rated version without violence scored lowest on both measures, and those who saw the version containing both violence and explicit sex scored somewhere in between (Donnerstein & Linz 59).

One difficulty with attempting to predict criminally violent behavior involves the relative infrequency of these events. Social scientists trying to predict such behavior have found it to be "virtually impossible…without at the same time erroneously identifying many 'false positives'" (Linz et al. "Issues Bearing" 178).

A point originally articulated by the women's movement and brought out by Murray Strauss, who was a witness in front of the Commission, is that "Rape is not so much a sexual act as it is a violent one. Rape is the use of sex to express aggression." Christie Hefner, president and chief operating officer of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., suggested that "If one examines countries that have serious problems of violence and abuse against women-such as South Africa, Iran, or the Soviet Union-you discover that these are countries that are not only politically repressive but sexually repressive" (27). Regarding images of bondage and rape in printed material, she pointed to Japan, where such images are much more prevalent than in this country, and yet the incidence of rape in Japan is one-sixteenth that in the United States. According to Hefner, the greatest public policy danger of the report is that "it misdirects sincere people's attention away from thinking about the real causes of violence and abuse" (29).

Programs which have shown considerable positive results, such as a Masters and Johnson treatment program for child abusers, have trouble getting funding from the government. When Dr. Lois Lee, founder of the Covenant House program to deal with runaways who become prostitutes, was approached by the Meese Commission to "have her kids testify about how their parents' use of pornography led to their being abused as children and their running away," she said that she simply had not seen that with the hundreds of kids she had dealt with. "She was never again contacted by the commission" (Hefner 46). It appears the commissioners chose only that evidence which would support the conclusions they had set out to prove. In their dissenting report, two members of the Commission noted that "visual materials presented to the commissioners were heavily skewed toward the exceptionally violent and degrading," which may have contributed to the impression of the prevalence of such materials. Brian L. Wilcox of the American Psychological Association reminds us that "even the clearest and least ambiguous research findings can be misunderstood or intentionally distorted" (942-943).

A workshop headed by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop provided essentially the only original research done by the Meese Commission. Given very little time and money to "develop something of substance" to include in the Meese Commission's report, it was decided to conduct a closed, weekend workshop of "recognized authorities" in the field. All but one of the invited participants attended. At the end of the workshop, the participants expressed consensus in five areas: (1) "Children and adolescents who participate in the production of pornography experience adverse, enduring effects," (2) "Prolonged use of pornography increases beliefs that less common sexual practices are more common," (3) "Pornography that portrays sexual aggression as pleasurable for the victim increases the acceptance of the use of coercion in sexual relations," (4) "Acceptance of coercive sexuality appears to be related to sexual aggression," (5) "In laboratory studies measuring short-term effects, exposure to violent pornography increases punitive behavior toward women" (Koop 945). According to Surgeon General Koop, "Although the evidence may be slim, we nevertheless know enough to conclude that pornography does present a clear and present danger to American public health" (944).

Neil Malamuth, one of the participants in the workshop, objected to the wording of the Surgeon General's report. Writing in American Psychologist, he said that, although the participants agreed "pornography that portrays sexual aggression as pleasurable for the victim increases the acceptance of coercion in sexual relations," they did not reach consensus that "this type of pornography is at the root of much of the rape that occurs today." Nor did they agree on other statements which Surgeon General Koop appended to their conclusions in his article. Malamuth concluded, "Obviously, the Surgeon General is entitled to his own opinions in this matter. However, it would be wrong to conclude that…they were endorsed by all of the workshop's participants" (580).


The debate over the protection of pornography by the First Amendment "seems to be marked not so much by opposing views based on the same premises, but by views that have different premises" (Burger 440). Those who are intent on eliminating sexually explicit materials appear to ignore the concept of individual responsibility. They object to pornography as intrinsically evil on moral/religious grounds. We are faced with the difficult question of balancing individual liberty against an externally enforced "security." Freedom carries with it an inextricable element of danger. In order to eliminate the dangers associated with freedom, we would need to render freedom unrecognizable. Justice Learned Hand is quoted as saying, "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women, and, when it dies there, no law, no court can save it" (Hefner 46). The problems of violence and sexual abuse of women and children cry out for solutions, not simplistic answers. Evidence strongly suggests that far more could be accomplished by providing adequate child care, especially for poor, single mothers, and by providing accurate sex education than by picketing adult bookstores.

The Meese Commission's concentration on sexual materials, despite overwhelming evidence that violence is the main source of harm, has been compared to "a physician who examines a patient complaining of a cold and, during the course of a physical examination, discovers the patient is also suffering from cancer. The physician treats the patient only for his cold and justifies ignoring the cancer because the patient came in for treatment of a cold" (Scott 1159). Violence, as expressed in popular culture, especially the television programming to which young children are exposed, is the cancer in American society; and those who treat sexual materials as the scapegoat are ignoring the real malignancy.


Works Cited

  1. Attorney General's Commission on Pornography (July 1986). Final Report. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office.
  2. Baker, John F. "Pornography: An American Dilemma; The Meese Commission-and After." Publishers Weekly. 11 July 1986: 30-35.
  3. Burger, Robert H. "The Meese Report On Pornography And Its Respondents: A Review Article." Library Quarterly. 57 (1987): 436-447.
  4. "Court Enjoins Publication of Obscenity Report." Publishers Weekly. 21 Sept. 1970: 37.
  5. "Critics: Censored!" Senior Scholastic. 9 Nov. 1970: 6.
  6. Donnerstein, E. I., & Linz, D. G. "The Question of Pornography." Psychology Today. December 1986: 56-59.
  7. Fields, Howard. "First Amendment Watch; Meese Panel Urges More U. S. Action on Obscenity, ACLU Says." Publishers Weekly. 2 May 1986: 14.
  8. ---. "LC Provides Legal Guidelines For Meese Commission Proposals." Publishers Weekly. 20 Feb. 1987: 20.
  9. ---. "'A More Difficult Climate' First reactions from publishers and the ACLU." Publishers Weekly. 11 July 1986: 36-37.
  10. Hefner, Christie. "The Meese Commission; Sex, Violence, and Censorship." Humanist. Jan./Feb. 1987: 25-29+.
  11. Hertzberg, Hendrik. "Ed Meese and his pornography commission. Big Boobs." New Republic. 14 & 21 July 1986: 21-24.
  12. Koop, C. Everett. "Report of the Surgeon General's Workshop on Pornography and Public Health." American Psychologist. 42 (October 1987) : 944-945.
  13. Linz, D., & Donnerstein, E., & Penrod, S. "The Findings and Recommendations of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography: Do the Psychological 'Facts' Fit the Political Fury?" American Psychologist. 42 (October 1987) : 946-953.
  14. Linz, D., Penrod, S., & Donnerstein, E. "Issues Bearing on the Legal Regulation of Violent and Sexually Violent Media." Journal of Social Issues. 42.3 (Fall 1986) : 171-193.
  15. Malamuth, Neil M. "Distinguishing Between the Surgeon General's Personal Views and the Consensus Reached at His Workshop on Pornography." American Psychologist. 44 (March 1989) : 580.
  16. McDowell, Edwin. "Some Say Meese Report Rates an 'X'." New York Times. 21 Oct. 1986: C13.
  17. "Meese v. Playboy." National Review. 1 Aug. 1986: 13-14.
  18. Oboler, Eli M. "The Politics of Pornography; A librarian's reaction to the US Senate's rejection of the report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography." Library Journal. 95 (1970) : 4225-4228.
  19. "Once more, into the fray." Science News. 3 Oct. 1970: 284.
  20. Plotnik, A. "Enemies of porno-and of reason: an analysis." Wilson Library Bulletin. 45 (November 1970) : 232-233+.
  21. "Porno Report Becomes Political Football." Publishers Weekly. 12 Oct. 1970: 34-35.
  22. "Porno Report Cleared For Publication." Publishers Weekly. 28 Sept. 1970: 58-60.
  23. "Pornography and Politics." Newsweek. 17 Aug. 1970: 81.
  24. President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. Report of The Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. 1970. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office.
  25. Reimer, R. A. "Legal Analysis of the Pornography Commission's July 1986 Final Report." Congressional Research Service Review. October 1986: 11-13.
  26. Scott, Joseph E. "Book Reviews: Attorney General's Commission on Pornography: Final Report July 1986. United States of America vs. Sex: How the Meese Commission Lied About Pornography. Polluting the Censorship Debate: A Summary and Critique of the Final Report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography." Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology. 78 (1987) : 1145-1165.
  27. Smith, Tom W. "The Use of Public Opinion Data By The Attorney General's Commission On Pornography." Public Opinion Quarterly. 51.2 (Summer 1987) : 249-267.
  28. Stengel, Richard, & Chua-Eoan, H. G., Constable, A., & Taylor, E. "Sex Busters." Time. 21 July 1986: 12-22.
  29. "The Supreme Court Speaks; Porn wars: Do's and don'ts." U. S. News & World Report. 10 March 1986: 8.
  30. "That Porno Report." National Review. 20 Oct. 1970: 1097-1098.
  31. Vonnegut, Kurt. "He Leadeth Us From Porn; God Bless You, Edwin Meese!" Nation. 25 January 1986: 65+
  32. Wilcox, Brian L. "Pornography, Social Science, and Politics: When Research and Ideology Collide." American Psychologist. 42 (October 1987) : 941-943.


Copyright 1992 David M. Edwards, All rights reserved.

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