September 25, 2000 12:55am
Presidential Decisions for Freedom of Speech (Opinion)
Source: Letters to the Editor
by: Contributing Editor, Webmaster Mike
Yesterday on AINews I was reading an article from Reuters concerning an attempt by attorney Paul Cambria to get adult oriented sites to help endorse Al Gore. Mr. Cambria is stated as someone who specializes in 1st Amendment issues. I hardly found this surprising, as the entertainment industry as a whole has shown a strong backing for the Vice President throughout his campaign, to include notable celebrities threatening to leave the United States if George W. Bush were to become the president.
I personally find this story interesting on a number of levels. With George W. Bush is running as a republican and a conservative, it's relatively simple to throw the right-wing label upon him and move on. Perhaps this isn't totally unjust, but there are a few facts that Mr. Cambria has neglected to mention. I'm left wondering what the motivation is here, given the fact that trial lawyers provide huge sums of money to the democratic party. Seeing as how the main stream press has not covered this specific issue to any great degree, I decided to put together a few items for the AINews audience to consider when weighing the issue of Freedom of Speech.
Of the two front running candidates, one has threatened legislative action on the entertainment industry within 6 months of taking office, while the other has stated that he would not put forward any kind of legislation of this type. I'll give you a hint here, the candidate promising not to pass legislation that would inhibit the freedom of speech also never claimed to have invented the Internet.
"Gore has promised new federal legislation or regulation against the industry within six months if it doesn't stop marketing violent and sexual products to young people." AP News
In an opinion piece found on the NY Times web site is an article that is highly critical to Mr. Bush. Within it is one interesting paragraph that I would like to point out.
"Pity Mr. Bush. He's so out of it that he may be the only politician in America, regardless of party, who has not hypocritically grandstanded about the Federal Trade Commission's 'shocking' report that entertainment companies market violence and sex to kids. Instead of offering a glib governmental panacea to curb Hollywood excesses, Mr. Bush warned that Washington schemes to govern cultural content, 'no matter how well intended or well funded, are simply no match' for parental supervision." - Frank Richards, NY Times
We're supposed to pity GWB because he isn't acting like a hypocrite? Generally speaking, it's difficult to find a good reference to Mr. Bush's statement concerning not making new laws to restrict freedom of speech. For whatever reasons, there simply aren't many news articles out there that fully state Mr. Bush's position on this. If you go looking yourself I suspect you'll find, as I did, a number of comments from the Gore campaign stating that Bush has not provided an opinion on this, despite the comments he has made on the subject.
Aside from what each candidate has promised to do, let's also take into account a little history here. It was VP Al Gore that pushed forward the concept of the Clipper Chip, which would have allowed the government to tap into any modem transmission at will. It was Senator Al Gore that passed the Cable Regulation act which cost cable subscribers more money, and pretty much killed any hopes of interactive television for another decade. It was VP Al Gore that proposed legislation for the V-Chip to be installed into televisions to restrict certain types of content. It was senator's wife Tipper Gore that headed a committee looking to censor music based on content, later watered down to a system ratings labels. A friend to civil liberties the Gore family has simply not
As to the fear that George W. Bush is going to act like an angel of death to the adult industry, we'd have to go have a look at Texas. Having lived in Texas for a while myself, I can personally state that there's plenty of adult industry activity going on there. Everything from strip clubs to adult book stores which are still in operation, and quite nicely zoned into major business districts unlike other states. If Mr. Cambria has examples of legislation, even if only proposed, that Mr. Bush has put forward to either restrict or harm the adult industry, I for one would be very interested in seeing it.
In conclusion I would highly discourage you making a decision on either candidate based solely on any one issue. Furthermore, please do not take what I have stated here for granted. Below you will find links to various stories on the web that cover this subject matter. I would encourage you to read these over and come to your own conclusions as to which candidate is truly going to represent your views on issues surrounding the 1st Amendment.