Common Sense: Ratings Promo Campaign Good as Far as It Goes

Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer says the new TV and
movie ratings promotion campaign announced Wednesday is good as far as it goes,
but that isn't far enough.

Common Sense provides reviews and recommendations on family-friendly
programming for a host of media companies including Comcast, Time Warner, Cox,
Disney and Tribune, all members of the associations who collectively announced
the new campaign, which include both new PSAs and
existing PSAs
from the last time a D.C. spotlight was put on content issues.

"We give credit to the entertainment industry for this
proactive first step in acknowledging their role in creating content that
contributes to the culture of violence in America," Steyer said, although the
associations participating in the effort -- National Association of
Broadcasters, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, American Cable
Association and the Motion Picture Association of America -- have stopped short
of acknowledging any causal connection.

Steyer said the campaign stops short of getting at some key
issues. "[T]his industry effort puts the onus entirely on parents to
screen the media that their kids consume when 75% of America's parents tell us
that -- ratings or no ratings -- they have a hard time shielding their kids
from viewing violent media," said Steyer. "The PSA campaign is a good
start, but it doesn't address the bigger issue of industry's ongoing marketing
of age-inappropriate violent content to kids. It's also a glaring omission that
the video gaming industry is absent from this initiative, when 77% of parents
believe media violence -- including video game violence -- is of concern.

"We hope the next step for the industry will be to
support the president's call for more important research into the possible
impact of media violence, and at the same time, for the industry to stop
marketing violent media to our nation's kids."

Common Sense has been pushing TV nets to stop promoting
violent action films in sports programming.

The above-mentioned associations have allsaid they are willing to be in the conversation about solving real-world
violence, and NABhas said it would support research into the impact of media violence on
real violence.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.