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Hill Hot Over Hip-Hop

Viacom, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group executives will be on the hot seat in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to face criticisms that racist and sexist language in the media perpetuates "damaging stereotypes."

In a hearing announced several weeks ago and billed as dealing primarily with hip-hop music and video games, the House Subcommittee on Trade and Consumer Protection will look into what it calls "increasingly coarse and vulgar language and images that have the effect of undermining important moral values in our society."

But broadcasting may come under the microscope, particularly given the title of the hearing: "From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images." Don Imus was dropped from his radio show after he made disparaging comments about the Rutgers University women's-basketball team.

At last week's media-ownership hearing in Chicago, the Federal Communications Commission members heard from one angry woman who argued that the stereotyping of minority women in the media had led to violence against them.

Somewhat ironically, the FCC several years ago cited as indecent a rap song, “Revolution,” by Sarah Jones, that criticized hip-hop songs for their sexual objectification of black women.

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m., and it will be available for streaming on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Web site.

Witnesses scheduled to testify include Viacom president Philippe Dauman, WMG president Edgar Bronfman Jr., UMG president Doug Morris and Radio One president Alfred Liggins.