Valenti to face pols on violence in media

Lieberman, Hatch to testify

WASHINGTON — At a morning Senate hearing today, Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy Jack Valenti will attempt to defend the entertainment industry against the accusation that it is poisoning the minds of children with a culture of violence.

The Senate Commerce Committee hearing, “Marketing Violence to Children,” was on the schedule before the April 20 shooting of 13 people and suicide of two others at a Colorado high school, but the latest occurrence of teenage terrorism has put the hearing in the spotlight.

Also scheduled to testify are culture critic Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Senate Judiciary chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Hatch had planned a hearing of his own but that one was canceled when it became clear that one hearing on media violence in a week was probably enough. Recording Industry of America prexy Hilary Rosen was invited to testify but declined.

On May 13, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to explore the problem of youth violence, focusing not only on the role media images play, but also on gun control and other issues.

And on May 10, the White House will host a summit on youth violence. Approximately 50 people will be invited to the White House event, with only a portion coming from the world of entertainment; teachers, clergy and parents groups also are expected to attend.