There was agreement among the Democratic and Republican FCC members at the NAB convention in Las Vegas Tuesday that the FCC's violence report to Congress was about to be released.
"It's not out yet," said Commissioner Michael Copps. "But I would hope that it's imminent."
"Have you checked your Blackberry?" responded Deborah Tate.
A group of powerful Congressmen asked the FCC to produce the report back in 2004. So far, all the commissioners but one--Jonathan Adelstein--are said to be on board with the report, which a commission source says concludes that TV has become more violent. It also reveals that studies indicate violence has an adverse effect on kids, and that Congress could find a constitutional way to expand the FCC's regulatory authority to include violence.
Asked whether the Blacksburg shootings would prompt more attention on that report on Capitol Hill once it is released, Tate said that there was already urgency "on the entire topic of violence in this country."
In fact, she called the report "one tiny issue" but said she hoped it would help spur a "very public discussion about violent content, violence in America, and its effect on our children."
But Tate stopped short of saying she favored regulating TV violence. "At this point, I'm just trying to raise the issue and the consciousness and the dialog with the public."
Copps, who is also concerned about TV violence, went so far as to appear at a Parents Television Council press conference earlier this year on the topic. He deferred on the Blacksburg effect, saying he hadn't thought about it.
"Those events were so awful, I hate to make any connection between that and the pending matters.We'll just have to see how that develops," he said.