Pornography and Hypocrisy

Concerned Women for America — which exists “to protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens” — tells us in an e-mail blast that Americans don’t like pornography:

“While cultural elites downplay the negative influences of pornography, a new study by Harris Interactive shows that the American public is not so accepting of it.”

We didn’t find the poll on the Harris Web site, but we did see a related Oct. 28 press release from the far-right group Morality in Media:

“Overall, 76% of U.S. adults disagree that ‘viewing hardcore adult pornography on the Internet is morally acceptable’ and 74% disagree that “viewing hardcore adult pornography on the Internet provides, generally, harmless entertainment,” according to a survey commissioned by Morality in Media and conducted by Harris Interactive.”

That may very well be the case, but we couldn’t help but recall how often the far right blames sexual immorality of any sort on “liberals.” In fact, the Morality in Media press release points a finger at the Clinton administration in the 1990s: “Under President Clinton, the Justice Department turned its back to the proliferation of hardcore adult pornography on the Internet.”

And then we were reminded of a Harvard study we saw earlier this year. The study indicated that eight of the top 10 online porn-consuming states lean Republican and voted for John McCain in 2008. Six of the 10 states rated as the smallest consumers of online pornography voted for Barack Obama. Hmmm…

The top 10 (in order): Utah (5.47 online adult porn subscriptions per 1,000 broadband Internet users), Alaska, Mississippi, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Dakota, Louisiana, Florida and West Virginia (2.94). From the New Scientist magazine:

“Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code’s religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, (study author Benjamin) Edelman finds.

Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages bo

Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t explicitly restrict gay marriage.

To get a better handle on other associations between social attitudes and pornography consumption, Edelman melded his data with a previous study on public attitudes toward religion.

States where a majority of residents agreed with the statement ‘I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,’ bought 3.6 more subscriptions per thousand people than states where a majority disagreed. A similar difference emerged for the statement ‘AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behaviour.’

‘One natural hypothesis is something like repression: if you’re told you can’t have this, then you want it more,’ Edelman says.”

And no, TFN is not “pro-porn.” But if social conservatives are really concerned about morals, they might start by checking out their own ranks first instead of pointing fingers at everybody else. Just sayin’.

7 thoughts on “Pornography and Hypocrisy

  1. Poll numbers and statistics of any kind in this area are not credible because people are uninclined to accurately self-report viewing of pornography. Considering the size of the pornography business in general and the volume of business that they do, I would find it hard to believe that usage numbers like less that 3 percent are credible. I would bet it is many 10’s of percentage points higher.

  2. Agreed with the weakness of self-reporting, but one good measure is comparative PPV XXX purchases in hotels during conventions. And, anecdotally at least, they skyrocket during Conservative and Religious Right gatherings. Does anyone have, or know where I can find, exact data on this. I think I’ve seen it, but don’t remember where.

  3. Somebody tell Dan we need some new meat to gnaw on here at TFN Insider. Turkey gets old pretty quickly. I am nibbling on fruitcake and sipping a little egg nog myself. “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…”

  4. Just who the hell is a “cultural elite”? ‘Elite’ used to mean the upper class so maybe they’re talking about the upper classes. Well, a lot of their own fall into that demographic so WTF?

    I would dispute the allegation that the American public is not so accepting of it [pornography]. The porn business is a multi-million dollar business so someone out there is buying it. It ain’t just foreigners who are buying it.