Rockefeller ropes TV content into Sandy Hook comments


John RockefellerAccess to guns and mental health care have been large topics in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown CT, and that is where Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) started when addressing the issue. But he also cited violent content in the media as something that should be addressed.

Rockefeller said, “Making sure our children and families are safe each and every day should be our top priority. Sadly, last Friday, we learned in an absolutely terrible way that we haven’t done enough. No parent, sibling, or loved one should have to endure what 26 families are suffering through right now. Unfortunately, families lose loved ones every day as a result of gun violence.
Too many young lives have been taken from us too soon, and Friday’s unspeakable actions are another stark wakeup call that we must do more. This is not the time for soft words and empty promises, but a call for strong action.”

He called for action on both guns and mental health.

Then he went after the media. “We also need to look at the violence our kids see every day starting at a young age,” said Rockefeller. “By the time children reach 18 years old, they have seen tens of thousands of violent images – on television, the internet, or video games. As parents, research confirms what we already know – these violent images have a negative impact on our children’s wellbeing. While we don’t know if such images impacted the killer in Newtown, the issue of violent content is serious and must be addressed.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We suspect the question is when, not if, a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on this topic will be put on its schedule.

We certainly do not object to making this kind of media content part of the discussion. We only caution that there are lots of things that can be tied to a tragedy like this. While we understand how the media gets targeted, and how easy it is to target, we would hate to see the media become the focus of study at the expense of focusing on far more important factors.

We believe that Rockefeller got it right in placing his emphasis on weapons and mental health. Go ahead and have a media hearing, but please remember that it is not the number one source of blame, nor is media content regulation likely to provide a solution.