Sanctions on the entertainment industry

In this AP article Gore suggest that sanctions be imposed on the entertainment industry to stop the marketing of violence to children.

If it is proven that children are adversely are affected by media violence, would the government have a justifiable state interest to censor speech?

Would sanctions be effective? Or would they push struggling independent studios out of business while major studios survive by passing the cost onto the consumer?

BTW, I understand that Gore’s suggestion doesn’t have a strong chance of passing, but am curious to hear about theoretical possibilities.

If it were proven that children are adversely affected by the media (in the sense that they would perhaps try to emulate what they saw) then the government would have a case. However the link between media violence and movie/computer game violence has yet to be proven so at the moment they don’t.
I doubt that sanctions, or the threat of sanctions, would be an effective course of action because I’m not sure it would be easy to distinguish a line between advertising, say, a new action movie for people aged 17, 18 + and people a few years younger because there are elements in action movies which appeal to people younger than the age limit which would probably be set for a film of that nature. Therefore the advertising would appeal to them, thus provoking sanctions. I don’t think that this is practical.
They would also, as you said, do severe damage to independant studios which are a rich source of cinematic creativity.

In short, I think that the idea sucks.

Unfortunately Gomez, you are in the minority. Polls have shown this proposal has given Gore’s numbers a boost. Probably all those women who believed that God awful kiss.

It seems the American people are becoming more and more willing to allow the government to protect them “cradle to grave.” To hell with personal responsibility. Mom and Dad shouldn’t have to monitor what their kids are doing- Uncle Sam will do it for them!


It’s a fantastic hypocrisy, isn’t it? The people who demand that the government take on the parental duties when they can’t be arsed are probably the same ones who rail against “The Man” telling them how to live and interfering in their lives.


Government ‘sanctions’ against various expressions of speech has got to be a violation of the 1st Amendment. Hell, the government has had a hard time distinguishing between legitimate expression and hard-core porn. So how are they supposed to distinguish between ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’?

Speaking of Pulp Fiction… It was incredibly violent, and it’s a favorite of young people. Yet most critics consider it a great movie. Would the world really be a better place if the government had instituted sanctions to prevent the making of ‘Pulp Fiction’?

Has it occured to these people that there wouldn’t be any violence in the media if there weren’t a market for it?

This is just a marketing ploy by Gore. He believes it will boost his numbers and in fact it did. But he is walking a tightrope here because he is denouncing the hand that feeds him. He is taking Hollywood for granted but he can only go so far before they turn on him… My guess is that this is only words to gain votes but he would not do anything later. He gets too much money from the people he is denouncing.

Is this even constitutional?

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What kind of sactions is he proposing? I would assume that there can be certain restrictions put on advertising that would not violate the 1st Amendment. Last night I saw a short program on CNN (I think.) it talked about this very thing. It used as an example the movie “The 5th Element”. Evidently the studio tried to buy time for a preview of this R rated movie on Nickelodeon, they refused. Which is good. Now I haven’t seen “The 5th Element” all the way through, but it does appear to be an R rated movie geared toward a younger audience, with it’s comicical looking bad guy and alien creatures.

I certainly don’t believe in censorship, but I don’t think it is a violation of anyone’s rights if the American public demands a certain amount of public responsiblity in regards to our children. Do we need legislation to do so? No we do not. We as consumers can send the necessary message ourselves. I think the current debate will see some changes go into effect. The entertainment industry is often just as sensitive to the effects of their image on the public as politicians.


I suppose we could require all R rated movie ads to be aired only on tv shows rated M or something like that. But other than rating restrictions I’m not sure that anything would be consitutional.

I did not state that we needed to legislate advertising. And if you can show me how doing so would indeed be in violation of the 1st Amendment, I’ll concede on that point too. What I said is that I do not believe it is against any Amendment for the American public to expect a certain amount of responsibility on the part of the entertainment industry. Nickelodeon’s refusal to run the commercial for “The 5th Element” is just that. But even if we did impose certain sanctions on how violent material is advertisted how would that violate our rights to free speech? We have placed certain restrictions on how pornographic material is marketed, how is this any different?


For Pauly Shore movies there should be reparations.

Rob Reiner made an interesting point the other day- he has made several R rated films, such as “Stand by Me”, “When Harry Met Sally”, etc. He certainly felt that these films could be distinguished from other R rated films such as “Pulp Fiction” by means of an updated rating system.

I will concede that the film rating system is a bit simplistic. The last time they tried to update it, the NC-17 rating was born. It flopped, because it is viewed as an X rating for all intents and purposes, and many theater chains will not show a film rated NC-17.

The new TV show ratings are interesting, I wonder if they are working. I know that as a teenager, if I had seen that a show about to start contained adult themes, violence & sex, I would definetly stay tuned.

I do not want the government legislating what I or my child can view or read. This is a bit of a slippery slope, yes? Who decides what is objectionable? If you want a three-lines-long rating for a film, or a synopsis in every print advertisement, fine, whatever. But you cannot make it such a burden that it prevents a film from being made in the first place.

That said, as a parent I am fully capable of raising my own child, and if these whiners are not, well… BTW, kids will be kids, they will push boundaries and take risks and seek thrills, and it probably won’t cause most of them permanent damage. You did it, I did it- it’s part of growing up and becoming a fully-rounded adult who can make reasonable decisions.

I might worry if my kid DID’NT try to sneak into the R rated movie and then try to cover it up.

‘Sanctions’ is a just a roundabout way of saying “Censorship”. If the government can impose sanctions which make a movie so unprofitable that it can no longer be made, then it censored it just as effectively as if it threatened to throw the producers in jail.

This is what the government of Chile did in the 70’s. They didn’t have censorship - anyone was free to print whatever they wanted. However, paper was taxed outrageously high, such that no one could afford to buy it. Of course, newspapers that spouted what the state wanted them to spout were eligible for tax breaks…

The CIA was accused of destabilizing the Chilean government about this time. One of the things the CIA did was smuggle cheap newsprint paper into the country for the alternative press.

So don’t let the idea of sanctions vs censorship fool you. If the government imposes any sort of discrimination against the entertainment industry which forces them to do what the government wants, then they are acting as censors.

As for ‘voluntary’ sanctions - again, no difference. If the government says, “Police yourselves, or WE will police you”, that’s no different than a thug who says, “Give me your money voluntarily, or I’ll bust your head open.” Just because the victim hands over the money without getting a scratch does not mean the transaction was unforced.

That’s one of the reasons you need a first amendment - so threats like this can be ignored. Without that protection, the government can simply make those kinds of threats and get what it wants without due process, without votes in Congress, etc. The president can just step up and say, “Have a ‘voluntary’ censorship code in place by Friday, or the giant boot of government will descend upon you.” The threat alone is enough, if the president has the power to actually carry it through, or at least has a good chance of getting such a law passed.

A question: shouldn’t the entertainment industry be responsible for teaching people how to easily kill, while doing so under the guise of ‘realism’ in a movie, designed to make as much money as possible?

I know a writer who gets frustrated because of his conscience /praise this guy/ because in his works he is very careful to disguise home made weapons or ways to get past security systems, fearing that someone might actually hurt someone else copying his directions. His work suffers some realism, but he feels he needs to act responsively.

I don’t see how or why they should be held responsible. I’ve never read a book or seen a movie that actually taught me how to do anything that I couldn’t have figured out on my own. If you watch cables stations like A&E, Discover, and TLC you can learn all sorts of ways to avoid leaving good evidence at a crime scene. And that’s educational not entertainment.


I just love the conspiracy theory idea that any control will result in total control. Sell it elsewhere. Once again I will say that I do not advocate government sanctions. And yes, the rating system is totally screwed. How in the world “When Harry Met Sally” can even be placed in the same category as a film like “Pulp Fiction” is beyond me. So yes, the rating system is pretty useless. So is the TV rating system. As for kids deliberately watching something just because of a rating that is pure shit too. A teenager isn’t going to be in the least bit interested in an R rated film like “Eyes Wide Shut” it’s MARKETED for adults, get it? But they just might be interested in “The Cell”, (don’t correct me if this is rated PG-13, I had a brain fart and couldn’t think of anything else. You get my point.) it’s marketed for young people. Don’t even try to tell me that there isn’t a market for violence and it’s targeted at our children. It is, I didn’t need a study to tell me that.

Do not try to tell me that people do not learn HOW to do things, like make bombs, through violent material. You have heard of “The Turner Diaries” haven’t you? Or “How to be a Hit Man”. I would never say that a normal person who did not have serious problems that need to be addressed would use this material in a wrongful manner. But there are plenty of nutjobs and future nutjobs out there who do. And yes, it is their responsiblity. They choose to act in a violent manner.

What I don’t like about the pervasivness of violence in our culture is well…many reasons. For one thing much of it is directed toward women, and I’m a woman. I also have a daughter. Next I know it desensitizes us. I know it does. When I was a kid the scariest thing we had to look at were those cheezy black and white Frankenstein and Mummy movies. They scared the shit out of me! Now I can watch “Pulp Fiction”, “Hellraiser” and “Scream” without batting an eye, and what’s really scary is that so can most kids. Does this make us turn the other way when we see real violence? Perhaps it does.

I think it also gives us a false sense of what REAL violence is like. How many times have we seen the hero of an action film shot several times yet keep on fighting the bad guys? This is just not in the least bit realistic. Kids know it’s only a movie but do they really?

I pay attention to what my children do for the most part. I have a 9 year old son and believe me I know how aggressive boys can be. I know they’ve got “gun play” in their blood. But I don’t want his everyday life saturated with violence. Thank goodness that for the most part he chooses to watch Disney and Nickelodeon without a lot of prompting. And thank goodness for Nickelodeon for not caving in and promoting violence on their channel. That’s what I’m saying.


Dear US government,
I am too dumb to take care of myself. I need laws to take away my personal freedoms to protect me from myself. I suggest you monitor my every move. Read every e-mail that I send, listen to every telephone conversation I have, and intercept every letter that write. If I write something that goes against the status quo please look me up and throw away the key. Please make sure that I don’t watch or read anything that may corrupt my feeble mind and prosecute any one who lets this type of information available. Please take away my guns so I can never turn against you while oppress me. I am your humble servant and you always know best.

The Sheep

As members of a civilized society, we tend to forget that the blood of violence runs through our veins as much as any wild animal, and only reason or enlightenment prevents us from sinking into savagery. By nature, humans enjoy watching violence and bloodshed, and we learn only to abhor it through religion or philosophy. The media gives society what it is willing to pay for and three to one it will pay for violent entertainment over mushy emotional splendor or anything vaguely intellectual. Government regulation of the media will only encourage a black market for the merchandise and, perhaps, boost criminal organizations.

The whole Gore plan sounds like a Tipper Redux of labels for the music industry that she campaigned for ten or twelve years ago.

Not to be a smart a++, but here’s what I learned how to do from television and books;

Hot-wire a car.
Break the ignition lock with vice grips to start a car.
How to get through ‘the club.’
How to make a pipe bomb.
How to buy parts for a pipe bomb to confuse the police.
Where to buy fuse.
How to make gun powder.
From the news: How to make an acid bomb.
How to make a silencer for a gun.
How to turn a certain type of bicycle metal into a real hot incendiary material.
How to make napalm.
How to break into a house.
How to hide fingerprints in a stolen car.
How to cheaply make speed from over the counter drugs.
How to shoot up dope.
How to smoke crack.
How to make a gasoline bomb.
At least 3 ways to ruin a car engine through the fuel tank.
What clues the FBI and police look for at a crime scene.
Why not to use ones own phone if making criminal calls.
How to cut phone lines.
How to easily obtain the metal sodium for use in water explosives or making delayed fires.

That stuff is mild compared to what can be found on certain sites on the Internet.

I also learned how to burglarize a business from the roof.
That some banks do not have motion sensors or trip alarms inside the building.
How to smash and grab with a car.
How to jam a public phone or vending machine to collect the change it should have given others.
How to get things from almost any vending machine with an easily made device and no money. Plus get change back.

Along with how to take advantage of runaway teens, if I were that type of person.
How to throw off police dogs looking for a person.

Should I go on? This stuff was not available when I was just a kid.