In a Q&A-style opinion piece in Sunday's Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) spelled out her views on media violence. Here's a sample:
"There is 40 years of evidence pointing to the negative effect of violent media on children...But the impact of violence in the media on crime deserves more exploration. So, I have proposed a bipartisan bill to establish a research center on media and children at the National Institutes of Health..."
Q: How do you respond to critics who say that any attempt to curb violence in media is an attack on free speech ?
A: "As parents, we must reassert our authority over what enters our households...While the Supreme Court has never considered the constitutionality of a prohibition on distributing extremely violent or sexually explicit video games to children, other cases before the court would lead one to believe that it would be upheld."
Q: How can the entertainment industry be held more accountable for producing and promoting products that too often glamorize violence?
"I have called for legislation that would put real teeth into video game industry ratings by creating penalties for retailers that fail to enforce the system...I also have called for a universal ratings system across all media because what we have today is alphabet soup. From TV-Y7-FV to AO to PG-13, the different ratings systems for each type of entertainment - TV, video games, movies and music - are tough to navigate..."
Q: Is the government doing enough to combat the problem? If not, what do you suggest?
A: "There is a bipartisan consensus that additional action can and should be taken. For example, I introduced the CAMRA Act (Children and Media Research Advancement Act) along with Sens. Joseph Lieberman, D-Del., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Rick Santorum, R-Pa., to establish a research center at the National Institutes of Health to examine the impact of all forms of media on children.
...I also am developing legislation to put in place penalties for video game retailers that sell Mature and Adults-only rated games to minors and require the Federal Trade Commission to investigate modifications of video games so that we can ensure that what happened with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas doesn't happen again."