Broadcasters gear up for violence defense


Harvard Law School constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe is on the case. According to reports, a loose consortium of broadcast networks and media associations has hired him to mount a defense if need be. And the case is the potential First Amendment attack which may be coming from Congress on the issue of broadcast violence.

A hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee has been scheduled, then postponed, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has been promising a bill on the topic, and the FCC has been cheerleading from the sidelines. On the other hand, academics have pointed out that the oft-claimed links between violence in the media and violence in society have never been scientifically demonstrated, making this a baseless assault on broadcast First Amendment rights, particularly when parents are giving better tools with which to control what their children can and cannot see on the home television set.

RBR observation: We don't believe Congress can successfully define violence – note that the FCC didn't even try, and since there is no smoking gun evidence, it would appear that Rockefeller faces an impossible task. But that probably won't stop him from trying, and neither will it stop a lot of other politicians from signing on to "protect our children." Stay tuned.