During a conference on children and the media in Washington last week, FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani expressed her dismay with the disparate treatment of sex and violence in our media culture. We've made the same observation ourselves. But Tristani went beyond cultural observation to suggest that TV violence has no clear First Amendment protection and that children should be protected by censoring-she calls it regulating-violence along the lines of indecency. She encouraged Congress and state governments to get into the act, again all in the name of the children.
Well, since we already oppose indecency regulation, you know where we are on this one. But to her credit, Peggy Charren-arguably the most effective advocate for children's TV-made our job a little easier by taking issue with Tristani in follow-up questions to the commissioner's speech. Charren suggested that any regulations aimed at violence would be a misguided effort to help children and that increasing the types of programming available to them was a better tack to take. Far better, we would agree, than limiting the types of programming available to all.
Like Charren, we don't believe in leaving censorship as a legacy to our children in the name of protecting them. That Tristani does suggests she belongs nowhere near the power to effect such change.