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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Perils of Journalism and Child Porn by DEBBIE NATHAN


The Perils of Journalism and Child Porn » CounterPunch
The Curious Indictment of Bernie Ward
The Perils of Journalism and Child Porn 
by DEBBIE NATHAN

Bernie Ward, a San Francisco-based liberal talk show host, was indicted late last week on federal child pornography charges. His is the second such indictment brought against a media figure who then claimed he had the porn merely to do research and reporting. Meanwhile, a third journalist, a former New York Times reporter who engaged in similar behavior, has not been indicted. The inconsistency suggests that the government chooses whom to go after and whom to leave alone. And it makes clear that the media needs a First Amendment exemption or license allowing reporters to examine child pornography legally.

Before his indictment on December 6, Ward – who is 56 and married with four children—had two programs on San Francisco’s KGO-AM radio. One was a nightly political and news talk show; the other aired weekly and dealt with religion. In the 1980s Ward was an award-winning general assignment and political reporter at KGO. He is also known for conducting major fundraising drives for Bay Area non-profits that help the homeless and others in need. From 1982 to 1985 he worked for then-Rep. Barbara Boxer as her chief legislative assistant. On KGO and on national talk shows, he strenuously opposed the war in Iraq and other Bush Adminstration policies. KGO billed him as “The Lion of the Left”. Following his indictment, he has been put on leave from the station.

Ward’s lawyer, Doron Weinberg, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Ward accessed and distributed only a small amount of child pornography three years ago, for research he was doing to write a book about hypocrisy in America. The Chronicle quoted sources familiar with the case saying that “authorities noted that Ward was monitored as he went on a chat room and sent and received images.”

Indictment papers released on Friday support Ward’s claim that the government was involved in the case as early as 2004 but waited years to indict.

Ward’s case is strikingly similar to that of Larry Mathews, a media figure who faced child porn charges in the late 1990s. Mathews was a Washington DC-area radio reporter in his late 50s. He had won press awards and was known for covering social issues, including the problem of internet child porn. When arrested, he said he had acquired illegal material because he was impersonating a pedophile in order to do another story.

The government countered that Mathews had no notes or story assignment from a media outlet. The ACLU, National Public Radio, and other press and First Amendment organizations spoke out for him and filed supporting legal briefs. But an appellate court later ruled that journalists have no right to acquire or distribute child pornography while doing research. Mathews was convicted and served several months in a halfway house.

If convicted, San Francisco’s Ward faces a maximum 15 years for each of three criminal counts.

“The government knows that Bernie was doing this for an investigation he was doing for a book,” the Chronicle quoted attorney Weinberg saying. “But the government believes he violated the letter of the law, and they have gone ahead and prosecuted him….The fact that these events happened three years ago – and they are just being prosecuted – shows the fact that nobody believes that he is a child predator.” The Examiner seemingly attempted to explain how Ward could have avoided prosecution by citing a federal law—which the paper mistakenly said “forgives” possession of three child pornography images if they are destroyed and promptly reported to authorities. In fact, that statute, which is part of U.S. Code 2252, allows only two images. And some legal scholars interpret 2252 as “forgiving” someone only if he or she came to possess child porn by accident rather than intentionally. A reporter deliberately researching child pornography would thus hardly qualify for “forgiveness” under 2252. In addition, the law is merely an “affirmative defense.” To exercise it, one would have to first be indicted. There is no case law indicating that any journalist has ever used 2252 to justify their work after being charged with possession or distribution of child porn.

However, the statute was cited in August 2006 by the New York Times. Kurt Eichenwald, then a Times reporter, said he accidentally accessed a few illegal images while doing month’s-long reporting on Internet child pornography. In a sidebar to one of Eichenwald’s articles, the Times said that a law – presumably 2252– excused the reporter’s encounter with the illegal material. But Eichenwald’s published work implied he had accessed far more than two images.

Further, Eichenwald in 2005 obtained and used administrative sign-on privileges to explore a commercial porn website containing images of a 14-year-old boy masturbating. Eichenwald went on to write a major Times story based on reporting he did about this site and the people who ran it.

Eichenwald took the young man who ran the site to federal authorities, where he turned state’s evidence against his business partners in exchange for prosecutorial immunity. As a result, four people were arrested and convicted. Eichenwald’s work also led to Congressional hearings – at which he testified – where witnesses made unsubstantiated claims about the prevalence of Internet child predators and pornography. Those hearings were a run-up to passage of the 2006 Adam Walsh Act. It requires states to put children and very low-level offenders, such as public urinators and people caught with small amounts of child porn, on sexual offender registries for years – a policy that has since been condemned by Human Rights Watch. Since 9/11, the government has used unsubstantiated claims about the extent of child pornography to defend sections of the Patriot Act which intrude on internet privacy.

Eichenwald claimed he became involved with child pornography to find out about the problem. In some instances, he did not tell Times editors what he was doing. Later expose of his activities provoked intense controversy in the media world, and currently he is not working as a journalist. However, he has not been criminally prosecuted.

[ DEBBIE NATHAN has covered the Eichenwald case extensively for CounterPunch. See:


If KGO’s Ward is being truthful about why he was involved with child porn, the government is treating him differently than it has former Timesman Eichenwald. Is that because the feds don’t consider Ward such a good friend as they do Eichenwald? Does the DOJ deliberately go after certain types of media people and leave others alone? It’s too early to tell, since only three such individuals have been publicly implicated as involved with child porn. Meanwhile, the media has no way to cover the topic. To accurately describe the extent of the problem, to compare government claims with reality requires work that invites prosecution.

Journalists need some kind of system or First Amendment permit to allow them to do their reporting. Otherwise, the public will remain ignorant about what’s really going on with child pornography. And media people trying to find out will risk indictment, or worse.

DEBBIE NATHAN is a New York City-based journalist who writes about sexual politics and immigration. She can be reached at naess2@gmail.com

How the tabloids encourage child abuse By Angry Harry


How the tabloids encourage child abuse  By Angry Harry

This article will show you how the tabloid newspapers purposely foment child sex abuse on a massive scale in order to make piles of money from the plight of child abuse victims.

1. The vast majority of child abusers and their victims are intimately related in some way. The perpetrators are usually family members, family friends or adults who are closely associated with the victims; e.g. school teachers.

In most cases, therefore, the victims do not see their abusers as hostile predators. They see them as nice people.

They like them.

This is true in about 95% of cases.

As such, most victims will not want to see their abusers’ lives ruined; especially if, for example, they see the inappropriate behaviour as harmless and/or pleasant.

And they will not want to see their abusers labelled as ‘disgusting perverts’ – as tabloid newspapers tend to portray them.

The upshot is that they are less likely to seek help thanks to the tabloids.

2. Indeed, most victims would hate to see their intimates vilified publicly – particularly given that such vilification would undoubtedly have disastrous consequences for their own families and intimate circles.

For example, the last thing that most victims would want to see is hostile publicity directed towards their own fathers, uncles or boyfriends etc.

Once again, therefore, the antics of the tabloids are going to reduce the likelihood that victims seek help.

3. Publicly identifying abusers very often means that the young victims cannot escape being publicly associated with them. For example, if the abuser happens to be a family member, then the whole family is, effectively, identified.

It must be a deeply unpleasant experience for child victims to have to face hundreds of schoolmates – on a daily basis – who have learned that their fathers, uncles etc., etc., are child abusers.

As such, publicity is most definitely not in the “best interest of the child” but is, in fact, seriously damaging to the child.
The tabloids are messing up the lives of abused children.

Putting it bluntly: In order to make money, the tabloids are, once again, messing up the lives of abused children.

4. Perhaps one of the most disgraceful and disgusting of antics engaged in by the tabloids is the persistent declaration that a child will necessarily be “ruined for life” following sexual abuse.

Apart from being untrue, it takes a significant degree of malevolence to tell children that their lives are now ruined as a result of some incident.

Would you, as parents, ever tell your children that their lives are now ruined as a result of some incident?

Surely not.

And yet this is what the tabloids keep injecting into the minds of victims of child abuse.

In other words, children who have already suffered abuse, are then told by the tabloids (and by everyone else who now believes this nonsense) that they are now permanently damaged beings.

How much more reprehensible can these tabloid editors become?

Surely, to attempt to convince an abused child that his or her life is now ruined, is such an appalling thing to do, that it should be regarded as a criminal offence by anyone who cares about our children.

5. The details surrounding child abuse cases as reported in the tabloids might sound horrifying to some people, but for certain types of predatory paedophiles they are likely to be exciting. Furthermore, such details are also likely to arouse inappropriate sexual thoughts in people whose minds have never previously ventured into such avenues.

The upshot is that, across the country, the likelihood of child abuse by sexual predators will increase.
The hostile hysteria over child abuse causes perpetrators to intimidate their victims into silence much more harshly

6. Persistently and purposely raising the hostile hysteria over child abuse causes perpetrators to intimidate their victims into silence much more harshly; for the obvious reason that the hostile hysteria makes them far more fearful of being caught.

In some cases they are so fearful of being caught that they kill their victims.

Indeed, we know from the testimonies of many perpetrators who have killed their victims that the main reasons for their killings were to avoid being caught – i.e. by eliminating the witnesses to the events.

In other words, child victims are more severely intimidated or even killed thanks to the antics of the tabloids.

As such, the behaviour of the tabloids is unconscionable.

7. It is impossible to believe that the hysteria has not deterred millions of men from engaging in circumstances where children are to be found – particularly given the appalling manner in which men are treated following mere accusations.

As a result, men are turning their backs on numerous professions – teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, youth workers etc., and they are also more often avoiding contact with any children.

This increasing alienation is not good for men, women, children or society – for many reasons.
Children also have a civilising effect on men

Amongst others things, this alienation removes the influences of ordinary men on our growing boys – leaving our boys somewhat abandoned, unguided and, hence, often anti-social or feral – with similar effects going in both directions – i.e. men also have a civilising effect on children.

This leaves thousands upon thousands of our children living in circumstances and neighbourhoods that are completely infested with anti-social behaviour, violence, crime, drug-taking and inappropriate – often unprotected – sex. Sometimes an underworld of endless nastiness and cruelty.

It reduces considerably the likelihood that men will be able successfully to deal with children, understand them, or be good fathers to them. After all, how are men supposed to learn anything about children if they are too scared to relate to them?

It reduces the chances of single mothers being able to find partners willing to take on their children – or even male friends to help them out – which means that they often have to cope entirely on their own.

It reduces the likelihood that adults will even notice that children are being abused; e.g. see The Damage Caused by False Accusations.

It reduces the number of adults to whom children can turn should they ever want to talk privately about an issue concerning abuse. (For example, if teachers are not close to the children, then the children will not find them approachable with regard to personal problems.)

It reduces the chances of child porn being reported. (The evidence for this is clear. After all, who wants to admit to having come across such a thing in the current climate of hysteria?)

The above factors all increase the incidence of child abuse across the country, and the tabloids bear significant responsibility for all of them.
Young girls who live in homes wherein the tabloids are read are far more likely to be sexualised at an early age

8. It is surely undeniable that young girls who live in homes wherein the tabloids are read are far more likely to be sexualised at an early age.

The Sun and the Daily Mail, for example, are forever lauding and glamorising women (particularly celebrities) for their sexy attire, the scantiness of their dress, their lovely skin, their feminine body parts, their overall shapes and, very often, their lewd behaviours.

The message to the young girls who have this kind of material in their homes is very clear.

Don’t be shy. Be sexy. Wear little clothing. Show yourself off.

And people will love you.

This kind of thing will affect girls of very young age.

Youngsters are always trying to look older and to emulate adults.

Twelve year olds want to be like fourteen year olds, who want to be like sixteen year olds, who want to be like eighteen year olds.

The upshot is that these young girls are daily encouraged by the tabloids to behave and dress in a manner that is likely to attract sexual attention – not only from paedophiles, but from any young men or boys who happen to encounter them.

Indeed, there is nothing ‘perverted’ about men and boys finding young women or girls to be sexually attractive; especially if they encourage sexual attention.

And the tabloids are misleading the public when they are forever suggesting otherwise.
Encouraging young girls to become more attractive sexually to millions of men – i.e. not just to ‘perverts’ – results in a great deal of child abuse

Putting it bluntly: Encouraging young girls to become more attractive sexually to millions of men – i.e. not just to ‘perverts’ – results in a great deal of child abuse and child sexuality throughout the nation.

I do not have any doubt that some objective research in this area would show that the children of parents who bring such tabloids into their homes are far more likely to be sexually abused and/or are far more likely to become sexually active at an earlier age.

As such, parents who bring such newspapers into the home should be castigated for doing so.

And I think that the government should be funding such research if it really cares about our children.

Of course, in a free society, one could argue that freedom of speech is hugely important and that newspapers should be entitled to have their readers constantly drooling over young (often celebrity) women.

A fair point.

But it does not address the important issue being discussed here – viz, that these newspapers are increasing the amount of child abuse in the country by encouraging children to behave sexually.

And their editors should be criticised for this.

The tabloids seem to forget that millions of our citizens are little things with sensitive minds and immature thought processes

The tabloids seem to forget that millions of our citizens are little things with sensitive minds and immature thought processes – beings who need to be protected from hostile psychological onslaughts and from temptations to head off into sexual pathways that are difficult to negotiate – pathways which can often lead to serious problems.

And so these tabloids should not be viewable by impressionable youngsters, in my view.

For example, they should not be on display in areas frequented by children, and they should certainly not be brought into homes where young children can read them.

I am not suggesting that their “freedom of speech” should be curtailed, merely that it should not be so readily available to our youngsters.

An oft-used but rather weak counter-argument to this view is that, with the internet, children can seek to access, or stumble upon, such material with ease, so why point a finger at the tabloids?

But this argument fails in practice.

Firstly, it is not true to say that children cannot be protected by using filtering software or various other devices that are being developed. They most certainly can be protected to some significant extent with these methods.

Secondly, responsible parents can ensure that their children aged, say, 12 and under, do not have the opportunity to roam freely on the internet.

Thirdly, even though some children will seek to access, or stumble upon, inappropriate material on the internet, this situation is completely different from them seeing this material lying on the kitchen table on a regular basis – something which would endorse the ‘sexy lifestyle’ being depicted.
The most popular newspapers in our UK prisons – most popular also among violent prison inmates and predatory paedophiles – are the tabloids

9. The most popular newspapers in our UK prisons – most popular also among violent prison inmates and predatory paedophiles – are the tabloids; with the Sun being #1 in the UK, judging by what one forever sees inside prisons and on Police TV shows.

I do not have any doubt that this is something that needs to be looked at – because it seems to me that the tabloids are far more culpable when it comes to promoting violence, predatory sexual behaviour and criminality than is, say, general porn that can be found on the internet.

But, once again, I am not arguing for a clampdown on free speech. On the contrary, I am saying that we should use our own free speech to counter the continual purposeful hate-stirring of the tabloid press.

The tabloids are far more interested in making money by persistently making a fuss about the few perpetrators who get caught, and far less interested in protecting children.

They strongly discourage the vast majority of victims from seeking some kind of help by threatening them and their intimate abusers with publicity and hostility. They seriously damage further all victims of child abuse by persistently indoctrinating them with the view that they are now damaged for life – which is just not true. They fuel the general public’s sexual interest in children and incite fantasies of child sex in the minds of paedophiles.

They encourage child abusers to intimidate, harm or even kill their victims in order to silence them. They cause millions of decent adults to turn their backs on children – with the effects of this causing numerous problems for children and for society as a whole. They go out of their way to sexualise young girls; thus making them – particularly teenage girls – much more sexually attractive to millions of men.

Indeed, if they sexualise 50 girls, 500 men will notice them.

The fact that the tabloids are the most popular newspapers among violent offenders and sex offenders should tell us something.

Lest you think that I exaggerate about the lack of concern for the children that tabloid newspaper editors forever pretend to care about, here is one of their tweets on Twiitter – making a joke about the kidnapped child, Madeleine McCann …

Following the horrible murder of Bijan Ebrahimi , the Daily Mail continues to incite violence against paedophile suspects with an article headlined, “I beat Saville to a pulp after I heard his sickening boasts about bedding young girls’.

Needless to say, many of the comments below the piece – for which the Daily Mail is responsible – also incite both violence and murder of suspects.

All in all, therefore, one can surely conclude with a high degree of confidence that many tabloid newspapers not only encourage child abuse and paedophilia – as per my article above – but that they also incite violence and murder.

And then, of course, there are the numerous suicides that take place every year by those who have been falsely accused. After all, the public are led to believe that false allegations are rare; and so the falsely accused will automatically be seen as ‘guilty’ by most people.

These people often lose their jobs, their homes, their friends and their families – with their reputations, their careers and social prospects forever damaged horribly – sometimes even having their faces shoved into the public’s consciousness by the media; and splashed all over the internet – with the false accusations never to disappear.
According to the Daily Mirror a few days ago …

A man falsely accused of historical child abuse leapt to his death from a bridge, an inquest heard.

Graham Smith, 56, was accused last November of sexually abusing a young girl more than 20 years ago.

Police exonerated him but the dad-of-one became depressed.

His brother Michael told the hearing in Hull: “He became a hermit.”

Mr. Smith, who lived in Hull city centre, left a suicide note before jumping from the Humber Bridge in June.

Verdict: Suicide.

And I also wonder how many people have committed suicide because they were indoctrinated to believe that their abuse had damaged them irreparably?

After all, they would never be normal again.

So there was absolutely no hope for them!

Child Abuse – physical, psychological, emotional and sexual

Young/Teen Sexuality and Sexualisation

Paedophilia

Adult Interest in Child Sex

Suspicion -> alienation of men, women and children – false allegations

Violence

Murder

Suicide

All fuelled by the tabloids.

A decent society should not have to put up with this.