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Rockefeller Wants FCC to Regulate TV Violence

Mar 5, 2007  •  Post A Comment

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller is calling on Congress to give the Federal Communications Commission authority to regulate violent TV programming, declaring the content “has reached dangerous levels” and is “only going to get worse.”

As the FCC readies a report on violence, the West Virginia Democrat said relying on broadcasters to make voluntary efforts is insufficient and “the status quo is not an option.”

“I hear from parents almost every day who are alarmed by what’s on TV and who feel helpless in their ability to protect their children,” Sen. Rockefeller said. “That’s why it’s so important for the federal government now-both through the FCC and Congress-to address this issue by taking steps to reduce excessive violence on television.

The senator said he was reacting to a speech FCC commissioner Robert McDowell made last week to the National Association of Broadcasters suggesting that technology rather than government regulation would eventually find a solution.

“Commissioner McDowell’s suggestion is short-sighted,” Sen. Rockefeller said. “The broadcasters have already tried and failed in their attempts at self-regulation. The bottom line is, if they can’t or won’t do it, then the federal government must step up to the plate.”

However, Mr. McDowell said later that his speech had been mischaracterized.

“As a father of two young children with a third on the way, I am extremely concerned about the coarsening of television content. More should be done to protect our children from indecent and violent material,” he said in a statement.

“While the market is developing technological solutions that may help parents control the television content that their children view, as always, Congress may deem it necessary to place restrictions on the broadcast of violent content,” he added. “However, should the federal government pursue the noble endeavor of protecting America’s children from television violence, it should do so in a prudent and cautious manner that withstands constitutional muster.”

(Editor: Horowitz)