Groups Ramp Up Rhetoric on Media Violence

TV and movie representative head for White House meeting

Coinciding with White House talks on preventing gun violence scheduled for later today at the White House, groups are ramping up the rhetoric and a lot of it is directed at violence in media and entertainment.

Common Sense Media and the Center for American Progress released a nationwide survey showing that 77 percent of parents believe that media violence—content in TV, movies and video games—is partially to blame for violence in real life. Even more, 88 percent, want ads for violent games, movies and TV shows to be restricted from airing in programming where a large audience of children might be watching. Ninety-one percent want theaters to limit previews for movies.

The survey, conducted in January by Survey USA Market Research, had more than 1,000 parent participants with children aged 18 and younger.

This debate over prevention of gun violence has heated up since Sandy Hook. A number of congressional leaders, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), have called for new laws to protect children from exposure to violence in media and entertainment.

"Our culture of violence seems to have made it the new normal that parents who take their kids to a movie theater or gather to watch a football game are at risk of exposing them to inappropriate content that is marketing video games or films rated for more mature audiences," James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, said in a statement.

Media and entertainment leaders are expected to meet today with vice president Joe Biden, who was tasked by President Obama to come up with ideas for legislation to curb gun violence.

The list of attendees is a who's who of the media and entertainment world, including former Sen. Chris Dodd; the president and CEO of the MPAA; former Sen. Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters; and Michael Powell, the former Federal Communications Commission chairman and president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Dodd has already ruled out any mandatory guidelines that might restrict free speech. He told The Hollywood Reporter the movie industry would, however, consider voluntary guidelines. 

The Entertainment Software Association, representing the gaming industry, often blamed by critics as one of the main culprits of a culture of violence, is meeting with with the White House Friday.