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Report says porn Web site numbers "exploding'

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A report released Wednesday by a group of Democrats seeking a moral authority some say their party has lost says the number of pornographic Web pages has grown 3,000 percent since 1998 and federal laws must be changed to keep children away from them.

The think tank Third Way says there were 14 million pornographic Web pages in 1998 and 420 million today. Even amid broad discussion of morality issues, politicians are surprised by the sudden growth that has allowed adult Web sites to dominate the Internet almost unchecked, Third Way spokesman Matt Bennett said.

"The way this industry is exploding right now in real time is a problem," Bennett said. "And this is a cascading problem. The pornographers are getting more sophisticated to lure children to sites."

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said a common manipulation of the White House's Web site is a prime example of how the whole industry preys on children.

"It's outrageous that a 12-year-old doing a homework assignment can type in whitehouse.com instead of whitehouse.gov and get hard-core pornography," she said. "That's done on purpose to trick children."

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