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editor's note: the two versions of american porn

"American Porn" presented FRONTLINE with an interesting dilemma. Both the producers of the series and the producer/director of the report, Michael Kirk, felt the FRONTLINE audience could handle seeing and hearing some of the explicit images and language that are in the documentary. However, we knew that many PBS stations might find the material too explicit for local community standards. Since each PBS station makes an independent judgment on what and what not to broadcast, we did not want to find ourselves in a situation where large sections of the country might not get to see this important journalistic inquiry into the business, politics, and cultural aspects of pornography.

And so, in an unusual move, FRONTLINE decided to make a second version of "American Porn" in which some explicit images and language would be electronically "masked." Both versions have been offered to the stations. Both versions mask frontal nudity but in the specially edited version additional material is "black boxed" or bleeped. However, the film's sequences in both versions are exactly the same and the narration also is the same.

FRONTLINE feels both versions offer a powerful insight into this provocative subject. And for its Web visitors, FRONTLINE is streaming the version with no masking, except for frontal nudity.

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