Violent testimony


FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was unable to make the Commerce Committee hearing on media violence due to a family emergency. That left a gaping hole in the testimony which may yet be filled. Nonetheless, there was much to learn from those who were present. Timothy Winter of the Parents Television Council put forth his organization's usual stats and graphic descriptions of programming, and even showed a brief DVD on the topic which was cut off early at the request of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). He quoted former FCC Chairman Newt Minow, who said, "forty years ago I said television was a vast wasteland; now it is a toxic dump."

Communications professor Dale Kunkel of the University of Arizona and American Psychological Association exec Jeff McIntyre both mentioned the cigarette analogy, that each bit of violence experienced by a child makes them that much more prone to three effects: learning aggressive behaviors, desensitization, and exaggerated fear of becoming a victim. Fox's Peter Ligouri noted the steps his network takes to warn parents away from objectionable material, noting that it does the network no good to defeat a parent's expectations and chase them away from Fox programming.

He noted that the late Jack Valenti's TVBoss campaign has achieved a 77% awareness level among its target audience, and that the educational aspects are showing early signs of taking hold. Ligouri also made the point that will there are links established between violent media and behavior, there are no clear causal links, which greatly diminishes the justification for drastic actions.