Friday, July 2, 2010

Compare, contrast

In the following, all emphasis is mine.

The, er, youtube blog, back in March:
For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt "very strongly" that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Viacom's efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.
(via Avedon)

Judith Levine, Harmful to Minors, page 37:
Attorney Lawrence Stanley, who published in the Benjamin A. Cardozo Law Review what is widely considered the most thorough research of child pornography in the 1980s, concluded that the pornographers were almost exclusively cops. In 1990 at a southern California police seminar, the LAPD's R. P. "Toby" Tyler proudly announced as much. The government had shellacked the competition, he said; now law enforcement agencies were the sole reproducers and distributors of child pornography. Virtually all advertising, distribution, and sales to people considered potential lawbreakers were done by the federal government, in sting operations against people who have demonstrated (through, for instance, membership in NAMBLA) what agents regard as predisposition to commit a crime. These solicitations were numerous and did not cease until the recipient took the bait. "In other words, there was no crime until the government seduced people into committing one," Stanley wrote.

If, as police claim, looking at child porn inspires molesters to go out and seduce living children, why were the feds doing the equivalent of distributing matches to arsonists? Their answer is: to stop the molesters before they strike again. Newspaper reports of arrests uniformly follow the same pattern: a federal agent poses as a minor online, hints at a desired meeting or agrees to one should the mark suggest it, and then arrests the would-be molester when he shows up. But another logical answer to the almost exclusive use of stings to arrest would-be criminals is that the government, frustrated with the paucity of the crime they claim is epidemic and around which huge networks of enforcement operations have been built, have to stir the action to justify their jobs.
The specific motivation may vary slightly from situation to situation (though profit and entrenchment of power are always the ultimate goals), but Power will always behave in the same manipulative, exploitative ways.

(NOTE: I am perfectly aware that the Youtube blog, being a public face of Google, is also the voice of Power. They are most certainly despicable in their own ways. That's just not particularly relevant in this particular example.)


Jack Crow said...

Spitted Christ. Great find. Thanks for this.

ejaz14357 said...

Great find. Thanks for this.

Ethan said...

ejaz, are you spam? Livetv? If you're not, thanks.

Thank you, too, Jack, who I'm pretty sure is not spam. If you are, you're the most elaborate spam I've ever encountered.

Glad you found this useful.

Richard said...

Glad you're finding the Levine book useful. Nice pairing of excerpts.

Anonymous said...

another revelation of the horror show that is the US gov't.

sounds similar to all the would-be "terrorists" they've "thwarted:" not doing anything until the federales provoked & enticed them into "plotting" something half-baked.

Ethan said...

Richard, I absolutely am. I finished it almost a week ago, but the scrap of paper I was using as a bookmark is still festooned with page numbers containing information I want to discuss.

Anony, I thought about adding a third quote, about the Fort Dix "terror plot," but my internet research skills apparently weren't up to the task of finding the particular quote I wanted, and then I eventually decided it wasn't necessary. As your comment proves!