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Thornberry in the chair. The Clerk read the title of the bill. When the Committee of the Whole rose on the legislative day of Wednesday, Centerffolds 16,a request for a recorded vote on amendment No. Souder had been postponed. It is now in order to consider amendment No. Amendment No. Emerson Mrs. Chairman, I offer an amendment. The Clerk will deate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows: Part A amendment No. Emerson: Add at the end the following: SEC. Pursuant to House Resolutionthe gentlewoman from Missouri Mrs. Emerson and a Member opposed each will control 20 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Missouri Mrs.
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Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Chairman, I think it is interesting to note that Leslie Moonves, the President of CBS television, recently said that while it is not fair to blame the media for the ram at Columbine, anyone who thinks the media has nothing to do with this is an idiot. I think Mr.
Moonves' comment really amsrican up why we are offering this amendment today. We have heard a lot about gun shows, pawn shops and ammo clips over the months since the violence at Columbine. We have been told that if we tweak the law a little bit pickreing, or add a new provision to make something else illegal, somehow people who recklessly and purposely gun down others in cold blood will not do it.
Thirty years ago, we had very few gun laws and surprisingly no high school shooting sprees to report every few days or weeks or months, but 30 years ago we also had stricter discipline in schools.
School officials did not worry about lawsuits if they expelled a violent child, and parents exerted more control and discipline over their children. They were zmerican afraid to say no to their. Now we have a new gun law every year. We have school officials who are afraid of being sued and we have a Federal law which seems deed to keep violent amwrican in classrooms, not out of them. We have an industry that in the name of entertainment produces images of violence that are so graphic and at a pace that makes one dizzy.
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Why is anyone surprised that in these modern days that some students plan mass murders instead of graduation parties? I stand here not just as a Member of Congress, I stand here as a mother who is deeply, deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of my children. The tragedy at Columbine High School and the violence close to schools and close to my district in Paducah, Kentucky, and in Jonesboro, Arkansas, should be a real wake-up call for all of us.
We have got to work together. We have got to work together to give back families a sense of security and control over their own lives. That is what our amendment to the juvenile justice bill seeks to do. It seeks to generate a serious dialogue in our Nation about the negative images that our children are exposed to when they watch television, when they go to the movies, when they play video games, and when they listen to CDs.
This dialogue needs to take place in our homes, in our communities; yes, it also needs to take place in the Halls of Congress.
Specifically, our amendment calls on the entertainment industry to recognize the power and the influence it pickerinb over our Nation's youth. We ask that the industry does everything in its power to eliminate gratuitous acts of violence in movies, on television, in music lyrics, and in video games.
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If we invest the time and the energy to have this discussion, I think we can discover ways to address the factors that contribute to youth violence in America. Now, there may be some things that we can do legislatively, but the bottom line is, quite frankly, much of the solution cannot be legislated. Our amendment does not create any new laws. It does not create any new regulations. Our amendment does not fund yet another study on the already well-documented impact that violence as entertainment has on our Nation's youth.
I hope that our amendment sends a very clear message to the entertainment industry that Congress and the American people do hold them responsible for the desensitizing images that they market to our children. After all, we would really, really have to be idiots if we think the entertainment industry does not have anything to do with youth violence in America. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time. Does the gentleman from California Mr. Berman seek to control the time in opposition?
I do, Mr. The gentleman from California is recognized for 20 minutes. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from California Mr. George Miller. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment. I do not think anyone in today's modern society can deny the power of the entertainment industry, of the movie industry, of the TV media. We know that this is an industry that can make us cry, that can raise goose pimples on our skin.
It can make the hair on the back of our neck stand up. The industry should never deny its power. In conversations with many executives, they have thought from time to time it was rather foolish for an industry that can convey all of these emotions, that can change the direction of society with uplifting movies, can repeat the history in realistic movies, to deny that power. But we also know that where we run into trouble with the media industry is where the media industry has access to our children in a vacuum, where the media, the entertainment industry has access to our children in a disproportionate of hours during the day, when the media and the entertainment industry become substitutes for what families should, in fact, be doing.
Because the same research that tells us rather convincingly that the media can have a very powerful impact on our children, that the entertainment industry can help desensitize our children to violence, to the acts of violence, that it, in fact, can teach them how to perpetrate violence, the same research and additional research makes a very important point. Where they have strong family bonding, effective teaching of moral values and norms, and effective monitoring of behavior, the effective exposure to violence on TV is probably negligible.
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So, really, what this amendment is about is about whether or not we are prepared to choose, whether or not we pickerinb families with children and grandchildren are prepared to choose. We can let the media, we can let the entertainment industry become a substitute for our families. We can let our children have access to it without guidelines, without some sense of discipline.
We [[ H]] can let it become the teacher of our children, or we can choose to become the teacher of our children. We can let it baby-sit de facto, become the baby-sitter for our children, provide day care for our children; or, in fact, we can spend time with our children. We can decide whether or not it becomes a substitute for our reading to our children. We can decide whether it becomes a substitute for our conversations with our children on values, on ethics, on sex. That is the decision that we have to make.
Because it is not the media in and of itself, it is not the entertainment industry venterfolds and of itself that creates this problem.
It is in combination with the vacuum that is created by families that creates a vacuum, because they, in fact, have made other choices in their life, some out of necessity, some out of neglect, and some because simply that is what they want to do. But they have made choices, as we have documented time and time again.
They are spending less time with their children. They are having fewer conversations with their children. They are spending less time at the breakfast table, at the dinner table, some because they have very long commutes, some because I guess they choose not to spend time with their children. That is where the problem in this intersection of this very powerful industry comes into play.
I do not think they can solve that by having a blanket condemnation of that industry. I xenterfolds not think alll can do that, because I do amerjcan think, then, it is realistic to the children who they are trying to address. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.
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Chairman, I ask the gentleman from California Mr. George Miller to take a look at the language of the amendment. It does not, in fact, condemn the industry. It simply asks them to admit that it has a responsibility for the power that violence has on television and its impact on children, but also asks them to sit down with us in serious dialogue. Chairman, if the gentlewoman will yield, I thank the gentlewoman.
I think that conversation and responsibility also has to take place in our families. That conversation has to take place.
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Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Ohio Mr. Chabota member of the Committee on the Judiciary. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman from Missouri for yielding me this time. As a member of the committee and on behalf of the subcommittee chairman and committee chairman, both of whom support the gentlewoman's amendment, I would say that our children are being desensitized by the increase of violence shown on television and in movies and in video games.
According to the American Medical Association, by the time an americann child has reached the age of 18, he or she has witnessed something likeacts of violence on television, including over 16, pickerinv. Children are particularly susceptible to the influence of violent subject matter. The entertainment industry must recognize the power and influence it has over qmerican behavior of our Nation's youth.
The entertainment industry should do everything in its power to stop these portrayals of pointless acts of brutality, pointless, by eliminating gratuitous pickwring of violence in movies and in television and in video games. Again, on behalf of the committee, I want to very much support and thank the gentlewoman from Missouri Mrs. Emerson for offering this amendment.
I think it is appropriate.
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Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Nevada Ms. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from California for yielding me this time. We are in the middle of a historic national dialogue on how zmerican reduce violence in our society and make America a safer place for children to grow up. I believe that the more this dialogue is about finding solutions, and the less it is about fixing blame, the more productive the dialogue will be.