Lawmakers target media violence

Biz reform bill under scrutiny in Senate

WASHINGTON — The Senate began debate of the Juvenile Justice Bill on Tuesday, which provided a perfect platform for culture warriors to introduce legislation aimed at highlighting charges that an entertainment industry said to be hooked on violence is at least partly responsible for negative behavior in children.

Despite Monday’s largely amicable White House gabfest on violence and youths, members of Congress introduced a host of proposals aimed at curbing the amount of violence in the nation’s culture.

Among the amendments on the table for the Juvenile Justice Bill:

  • A national commission on violence that will cover a broad area, including the impact of the entertainment industry on the behavior of children.

  • A ban on the making of violent movies on public land.

  • An antitrust exemption that would allow studios to discuss a common code of behavior depicted in movies.

  • An investigation by the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department into the marketing practices of the studios with an eye toward proving that Hollywood uses violence to attract young auds.

Directing blame

The political dynamic is further inflamed by White House efforts to ram gun-control measures through Congress in the wake of the Littleton. Colo., tragedy. Opponents of tighter regulation have sought to deflect some of the criticism aimed at the firearms industry toward Hollywood.

Culture warriors including Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) are pointing to the shootings at Columbine High School as another example of Hollywood’s negative influence on the imaginations of the nation’s youth.

Violence is a “cultural problem that requires cultural solutions, not legislative quick fixes,” Brownback said. “Combating violence as entertainment will require a long-term view, and sustained effort.”