It's too bad John Kerry never had the courage to take on Hollywood as a presidential candidate. Then again, President Bush said next to nothing about Tinseltown's corrosive effect on America's moral values during the campaign, either. Why both camps ignored an issue with such profound political ramifications is a mystery to me.
Would it surprise you that Hillary Clinton is not going to make that mistake?
Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a new study on the media habits of children. They found that the bedrooms of America's youth have become multi-media centers, from the iPod, to the Gamecube, to the TV, ripe with raunch. Sadly, the children surveyed said most parents don't set or enforce any rules on media usage.
There, in the Kaiser spotlight, was Senator Clinton to lend her star power to the message as their keynote speaker. She noted she has worked on a bipartisan basis with Senators Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback and Joe Lieberman to get the federal government to research the media's effects on children. She expressed support for parents and even grandparents raising children and the need to support them by talking about media literacy and putting more emphasis on showing parents a program's rating after every commercial.
She effectively plucked out what may be the most disturbing study finding. According to the Kaiser study, 70 percent of teens between 15 and 17 say they have accidentally come across pornography on the web, and 23 percent report that this happens often. "More disturbing is that close to one-third of teens admit to lying about their age to access a website," she added.
She even highlighted her objections to the "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" video game, especially how it scares parents when their boys are "playing a game that encourages them to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them. You know, that's kind of hard to digest and to figure out what to say, and even to understand how you can shield your particular child from a media environment whe[n] all their peers are doing this."