Today, January 20, 2005 is the inauguration day of President George W. Bush’s second term of office. Benjamin & Aaronson would like to share with you some of our predictions for the next four years. It is obvious that we will be living under the influence of a conservative political climate but one which never in the history of the United States has been so skewed in favor of one particular political party. We would submit to you that this Republican influence will pervasively affect the way that adult entertainment business operates.
The first phase we have already discussed in past columns. Our retiring Attorney General John Ashcroft caused over a hundred new positions to be filled in the Justice Department dealing with the investigation of alleged obscenity violations. In order for these folks to at least justify their own existence, it is predicted that by the time you read this column there will be press conferences announcing the pervasive prosecution of mainstream adult entertainment sites across the worldwide web across the United States. If not, there are a whole lot of people making a lot of money in salary doing nothing. It is probable that many of those prosecuted will simply close their doors to avoid possible jail sentences and the expense and exposure of defending Federal criminal charges. This, in and of itself, will be a form of severe censorship of material that consenting adults have enjoyed for some time now. At worse, some of those prosecuted in locations hand-picked by the government as being extremely conservative locations, will be exposed to severe jail sentences imposed by certain conservative judges. We predict that the major result of these prosecutions will be that juries made up of people just like you will find that there is absolutely nothing improper or illegal about selling adult oriented material to people that want to see that material. We feel that these juries no matter where located in the United States will realize that our government has such a full plate dealing with important issues of the day that prosecuting obscenity is so far removed from the real problems that face us each day that they will come back and find these defendants not guilty quickly and pointedly.
Another growing fear to adult entertainment should be the growing faith based initiatives where the government is directly funding religious groups in the name of providing social services. What this will do it to empower and finance numerous groups who will utilize their religion as a sword to interfere with and try to severely limit any business involving adult entertainment.
We bring this up because of the already documented government policies which may be used to affect our industry. You may recall recently that a scandal became public wherein the education department of the United States government paid over a quarter of a million dollars to syndicated commentator Armstrong Williams. Williams, a prominent black journalist went on the soapbox tour around the country and on television talk, news stations spouting propaganda that the “no child left behind” George Bush education policy was a positive and good thing for minorities. We found out that all this was was a thinly veiled propaganda attempt where our government bought publicity coverage from someone they perceived to have credibility with the black community. The right-wing fundamentalist Christian organizations have been doing this for years. They will continue to do so and the link between them and our government will become even stronger based on the Federal government policy of funding these faith based groups in the name of providing social services. What it will really do is to advance the anti-pornography, anti-adult entertainment agenda of these groups who will be more powerful and better funded after receiving these funds from the Federal government.
We also feel that the next four years will not be a very comfortable climate for adult entertainment because the Bush administration candidly owes the right-wing fundamentalist movement a great deal for getting elected to this, his last, term. All of the polls have indicated that it was this segment of the Republican party to which George W. Bush owes the most to. How does he pay them back? He does so by throwing them the proverbial “bone”. That is, prosecutions of adult entertainment to show that the Federal government is serious about prosecuting adult entertainment. What can you do? Again, we would urge you to join the Free Speech Coalition or ACE and do something combined with the rest of your organized industry to try to combat these attempts at censorship and over-regulation that are sure to come with the last four George W. Bush years.