President Obama’s gun-control proposal, based on the recommendations of Vice President Joe Biden, didn’t mention Hollywood at all and barely touched on the issue of violence in video games. It asked only that the Centers for Disease Control “research the causes and prevention of gun violence,” including the effects of violent imagery in video games, television shows, and movies.
In an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal published on April 4, former CNN anchor Campbell Brown said the White House gave short shrift to the issue:
Dr. Victor Strasberger, the leading researcher on media violence for the American Academy of Pediatrics, could tell the CDC and the president what to expect: “All our studies show portraying violence is extremely dangerous,” Dr. Strasberger recently told me. “Kids become desensitized, numb to suffering around them and aggressive.” He also says that when you add in other factors like poverty, abuse or mental illness, “you have a perfect storm. This can and does lead to violence.
Dr. Strasberger says he was stunned that the White House seems to have little interest in the available evidence. On the subject of media violence, Mr. Biden met only with representatives of the entertainment and videogame industry and researchers who support the industry. Not a single doctor or researcher critical of media violence met with the vice president.
That’s a shame, since there is a consensus among doctors and mental-health professionals about the danger to children from exposure to the violence depicted by movies, television and videogames.
Today Brown singled out Vice President Joe Biden, who appeared on Morning Joe this morning, for failing to seriously consider the issue:
As we wrote late last year, Twitchy does not believe that violent films and video games are to blame for the mass shooting that took place in Newtown, Conn. If we are going to have a national conversation on guns, though, can we at least ask why those in Hollywood who are so appalled by them can’t seem to find a movie prop they love more?
As for specific reforms, Brown calls for restricting violence on television that can be seen by kids; ending channel “bundling” by cable and satellite companies, the practice of forcing subscribers to pay for channels they don’t watch; and improving the movie ratings system.
Most of all, she wants President Obama to step up to the plate:
The president has been more than willing to challenge the National Rifle Association, but that is like a Republican president standing up to labor unions—not a move that risks anything with his core supporters. Mr. Obama could show some real bravery by taking on Hollywood.