Yesterday, we wrote about a government task force, in which the FCC is playing a starring role, to study the media’s impact on obesity. Now, press reports indicate that violent programming on TV may be the subject of Congressional scrutiny this year. An LA Times report cites a number of influential lawmakers as wanting to initiate a government review of violent programming and whether the FCC should regulate that programming. A study from the FCC on violent programming is expected soon. That study, coming on the heels of one released by the Parent’s Television Council, which we reported on here, may well fuel this Congressional action.
There seems to be an unending list of complaints about the broadcast media, and for each complaint, there seems to be someone ready to introduce a law to do something about it. Broadcasters need to be diligent and restrained in their conduct, as one Janet Jackson-like incident could result in new legislation getting the momentum necessary to become something more than a line in a campaign speech. In an editorial, Broadcasting and Cable has urged such restraint. With an election less than two years away that already appears to be featuring an unprecedented number of Presidential candidates and a large number of fiercely contested Senate races, no one wants to become that campaign issue that results in new regulations on broadcaster’s freedoms.