April 25, 2007
The Federal Communications Commission has announced plans to do something about violent programming on television. It will recommend that Congress enact legislation to give the government unprecedented powers to curb violence in entertainment programming. Presumably violence in the news will not be affected.
The FCC especially wants to protect children from violent programming during periods they are most likely to be viewers, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
And for the first time, the FCC wants congress to extend these regulations to cable.
Social science research dating back to the 1950s has demonstrated that prolonged exposure to violence on TV has negative effects on children – with observed behavior ranging from heightened anxiety to aggressive acts.
I wouldn’t look for Congress to act on this. The First Amendment will keep Congress from regulating content and the programmers will sue if they try. Television has become an unfriendly guest in too many homes. I only work in it, but hardly watch it. I recommend that approach, especially for parents with young children.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.