|A redacted version of the nude Bill Pryor photo,
which apparently caused some readers to
become verklempt and complain to Google.
On the surface, it appears a "groundswell" of disturbed readers (maybe as few as 1) complained to Google (owner of the platform we use for Legal Schnauzer) about a nude photo we included of Pryor at the bottom of the Thursday post -- after not one, but two, warnings (one at the top of the post in bold letters) that advised readers who did not wish to view a naked judge to not scroll past the end of the post.
So what does it appear that somebody did? Naturally, they ignored both warnings, scrolled past the final words in the post, and became verklempt at the sight of Bill Pryor and his erect penis -- an image we ran twice back in September 2013, apparently without causing fainting or other symptoms. The only reason we ran the full-frontal version of the image this time -- we generally had been running a redacted version, with a black box placed strategically over Pryor's genitals -- was that we had found a higher-resolution version of the earlier photo and figured readers might as well see the whole thing.
After all, the story is about a prominent legal figure who posed nude while he was in college, so inclusion of a nude photo should not be a shock to anyone. As I read the Google content policy, it is not a violation to include nudity that has news, educational, or artistic value. (Note: Google's content policy seems to change regularly, so I'm not sure if I'm looking at the current one or not.)
Here is what readers have begun to see when they call up Legal Schnauzer. In the Web biz, it's called an "interstitial warning":
Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about our content policies, please visit the Blogger Terms of Service.
I UNDERSTAND AND I WISH TO CONTINUE
I do not wish to continue
The reader only has to click on "I understand and I wish to continue" to reach Legal Schnauzer, so it's not as if a major hurdle has been placed in our path. But there is a larger issue at play.
Donald Trump has listed Pryor as one of 21 individuals he would consider prime candidates to be nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court -- and thanks to the death of Antonin Scalia, and Republican efforts to block Obama nominee Merrick Garland, we will have an opening at the outset of the Trump era. Thanks to his close ties to U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Trump's nominee as attorney general, Pryor probably is at, or near, the top of Trump's list.
That makes Pryor's background in gay porn a potentially national news story come early 2017. With our discovery of a second Pryor nude photo, which we will be publishing soon (multiple knowledgeable individuals connected to Louisiana have confirmed it is him), that story could become super-sized big.
We are in the process of getting the interstitial warning removed. It is not justified under Google policy, and it almost certainly is based on bogus "concerns." Readers who complained likely don't care one iota about nudity, but they do care about accurate reporting on Bill Pryor, the kind that yanks his gay-porn past into public view. This provides insight, we think, into the Trump mindset. In a battle between the First Amendment and censorship, the president-elect and his followers are likely to side with "the c word" every time.
In fact, the "objectionable content" warning is a form of light, or threatened, censorship. We are in the process of getting the warning removed. If Google is hard-headed about it, I always have the option of moving to another platform.
Were the complaints that landed at Google -- again, it could be as few as one -- really about nudity? Of course not. They were about politics, about protecting Bill Pryor so that Team Trump still will think highly of him, even though he has dabbled in gay porn and probably lied about it once already to the FBI and Congress, during his original confirmation to the federal bench.
Lying to Congress and the FBI, by the way, is a crime. If proven, it could not only keep Pryor off the Supreme Court, it could get him booted from the bench altogether and land him in a federal prison. This is from a recent report about retired U.S. General James Cartwright, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI:
Cartwright's guilty plea was for his false statements to FBI agents, not for speaking to the reporters, said Cartwright's attorney Gregory Craig, of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom, in a separate statement: "His effort to prevent publication of information that might harm American lives of national security does not constitute a violation of any law."
Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the hearing. A false statements conviction carries a maximum prison sentence of five years, but prosecutors and Cartwright's attorneys agreed his offense merited a sentence ranging from zero to six months.
We explained in a previous post how a future confirmation hearing could prove hazardous for Pryor:
What is the public to make of revelations that Pryor once was featured on a gay porn Web site? It clearly raises questions about rank hypocrisy, dating to the beginnings of Pryor's political career. It also raises the specter of Pryor being ethically compromised to the point that he is the victim of not-so-subtle blackmail, forced to participate in rulings that he knows are unlawful, at risk of his secrets being revealed. Most importantly, federal nominees typically are asked during the confirmation process about potentially embarrassing or compromising information in their backgrounds. If Pryor failed to disclose the gay-porn photographs, or did not answer a specific question truthfully under oath, it could be grounds for a Senate investigation.
Is Pryor narcissistic and vainglorious enough to risk five years in the federal slammer by letting Donald Trump nominate him to the nation's highest court? Does Pryor think he can shoot for SCOTUS because Jeff Sessions will protect him from possible criminal charges? I would say the answer to those questions is yes -- in fact, even asking them makes me chuckle. Pryor long ago proved that he has an estimation of his abilities, and characteristics, that is far beyond reality.
That trait, which might have driven Pryor to appear in gay porn to begin with, could make for some very interesting news in the coming year.