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PTC Pushes White House to Vet Violent Content on Broadcast Networks

The White House has scheduled a meeting with the video game industry's Entertainment Software Association Thursday (March 8) to talk about video game and real world violence, but the Parents Television Council wants to expand the conversation to include broadcast network TV.

The meeting comes is in the wake of the Florida school shootings, following which President Donald Trump pointed a finger at violent media.

“As the White House and other leaders work to confront societal gun violence, we hope that they will demand meaningful change from the entertainment industry, which presents dress rehearsals for gun violence on TV, in the movies, and in violent video games,” said PTC President Tim Winter in a statement.

PTC pointed to its research showing that the majority of programming in the 2017 November sweeps period, which helps determine ad rates going forward, contained violence, and more than a third guns.

“Every single broadcast TV network rate shows with graphic violence and gun violence as appropriate for children – clear evidence that the entertainment industry contributes to marketing a culture of violence to children," said Winter.

In a meeting with state and local officials about school safety, the President talked about the internet and gaming and movies, though not broadcast or cable TV.

"We have to look at the Internet because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds, and their minds are being formed," he said. "And we have to do something about maybe what they're seeing and how they're seeing it. And also video games. I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts. And then you go the further step, and that's the movies. You see these movies, they're so violent. And yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that."

There are actually already rating systems for video and film, which include violence warnings.

"[T]he fact is that you are having movies come out that are so violent, with the killing and everything else," he continued, "maybe that's another thing we're going to have to discuss. And a lot of people are saying it, you have these movies today where you can go and have a child see the movie, and yet it's so violent and so disgusting. So we may have to talk about that also."

John Eggerton
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.