FTC nominee ready to take on Hollywood

Tentative topper Muris assures Commerce panel he will fight on

WASHINGTON — Hollywood won’t be cut any slack by President Bush’s pick to lead the Federal Trade Commission, which will continue to monitor the entertainment industry to make sure violence isn’t peddled to kids.

Tentative FTC topper Timothy Muris on Wednesday assured Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that he will continue the fight. McCain chairs the influential Senate Commerce Committee, which must approve Muris’ appointment to replace Democratic FTC topper Robert Pitofsky.

McCain, who signaled clear support for Muris, was the one to bring up the media violence issue during a morning confirmation hearing. Last fall, McCain requested the FTC stay on top of the issue, following the September release of the agency’s initial report blasting Hollywood.

“I just hope you can assure this committee you will continue to take this issue seriously. It is not an issue of censorship. It concerns the marketing of materials these industries themselves consider inappropriate for children,” McCain said.

Progress report

In late April, the FTC released a progress report largely commending the movie biz for carrying out a number of marketing reforms. At the same time, agency blasted the music industry for doing little to stop the marketing of explicit music to kids.

FTC will release a more comprehensive follow-up report this fall.

Hollywood has long criticized lawmakers for attacking entertainment while staying mum on the issue of guns.

McCain took some entertainment execs by surprise last week when announcing that he will appear in a movie trailer plugging gun safety. Public service announcement, produced by the Americans for Gun Safety, will begin running Friday on 2,500 screens across the country.

(Reuters contributed to this report.)