Clinton, Lieberman propose CDC investigate games

Democratic Senators from New York and Connecticut are asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate "impact of electronic media use."

208 Comments

A handful of US senators who are longtime foes of the video game industry took a first step Wednesday toward a future government crackdown.

Democrats Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Hillary Clinton of New York, and Dick Durbin of Illinois persuaded a Senate committee to approve a sweeping study of the "impact of electronic media use" to be organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

Even though the legislation--called the Children and Media Research Advancement Act--does not include restrictions, it appears to be intended as a way to justify them. That's because a string of court decisions have been striking down antigaming laws because of a lack of hard evidence that minors are harmed by violence in video games.

This "is a big step toward helping parents get the information they need about the effect of media on their children," Lieberman said after the vote by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Lieberman's two Republican cosponsors of the bill are senators Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Sam Brownback of Kansas.

The original version of the bill earmarked $90 million for the study, but Lieberman press secretary Rob Sawicki said that the committee had approved the measure without any dollar figure and that such a figure would be added later during the appropriations process.

Lieberman boasts on his Web site that he "held the first hearings on the threat posed to children by video game violence" and strong-armed the industry into developing a ratings system under threat of government action. He and Clinton introduced legislation late last year that would ban the sale or rental of any "mature" or "ratings pending" video game to a minor, and Lieberman has singled out Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto for particular criticism.

If the CDC eventually produces a study claiming a link between violent video games and harm to minors, the future of state and federal laws targeting such games could be radically different. So far, those laws have been ruled unconstitutional because judges have not found that kind of link to exist.

"Down the road when--if there is some sort of finding that there is harm in this--then we're going to see calls to regulate speech because of the potential harm," said Marv Johnson, legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union. "That's where there's going to be a problem."

Missouri's St. Louis County had enacted a law prohibiting anyone from selling, renting or making available "graphically violent" video games to minors without a parent's or guardian's consent. But the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that "before the county may constitutionally restrict the speech at issue here, the county must come forward with empirical support for its belief that 'violent' video games cause psychological harm to minors."

In 2004, a federal district judge in Washington state tossed out a law penalizing the distribution of games to minors in which harm may come to a "public law enforcement officer." The "state of the research" does not justify the ban, US District Judge Robert Lasnik ruled.

Lieberman's bill, called CAMRA, would provide funding to investigate the cognitive, physical, and sociobehavioral impact of electronic media on child and adolescent development--everything from physical coordination, diet, and sleeping habits to attention span, peer relationships, and aggression levels. Television, motion pictures, DVDs, interactive video games, the Internet, and cell phones would all be fair game.

But not all reception has been positive. The advocacy group Citizens Against Government Waste deemed Lieberman its "porker of the month" shortly after the measure was first introduced, criticizing him for spending taxpayer money on "redundant studies" already undertaken by groups like the Kaiser Family Foundation and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

It was not immediately clear how much the original bill was amended beyond the funding component or when it would receive a full Senate vote. A similar bill introduced by Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, has not yet been considered by the US House of Representatives.

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Supermodified

When Clinton and Lieberman team up on any issue, everyone should automatically go on alert. A conservative Sen. hooking up with an ultra-liberal Sen. on the same issue/crusade? When Clinton hit "Hot Coffee" hard with her friends, I KNEW this was getting ready for her shift to the center for a campaign run in 2008. Sickening.

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kaito2

Sorry, I forgot to add this link: << LINK REMOVED >>. I would encourage as many people as possible to e-mail to Senators Lieberman and Clinton. Nothing like using the gov't own stats against them. For those of you too lazy to actually check it out, it is the US Dept of Justice's stats on violent crime by youth. It clearly shows a DOWNWARD trend in violent crimes among youth. In fact, one stat is the lowest it has been since 1960!

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kaito2

90 million? Sounds like there is a drug problem among our politicians. Besides, I am very skeptical of any "study" done by politicians. In fact, it is false adverstising to claim that this will be "scientific," because it will not. It already is politically motivated. My guess is that they will "commision" scientist to do the study, offering them more gov't research grants if they can find a link between video games and violence in children. For sure, they won't be that obvious about it, but they will do it. They need to stop pointing their collective fingers at companies like Enron and point it at themselves. If 90 mil in taxpayer money for a reduntant study isn't greedy, I don't know what is.

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KIELW93

their studies are unreliable, as they will say whatever Mrs. Hillary and Mr. Liberman want them to say. My mind won't change, no matter what any of their little studies find.

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spa3040

I am 58 years old and a gamer!!! My preference is shooters such as..Halo 1 Halo2, Far Cry, Metroid Prime 1,2, Half Life 2...just to name a few!! I am not nor have ever been a violent person, however i do enjoy the virtual violence, but it is the challenge that makes it so enjoyable....this is not some kind of "vicarious" killing spree...it's just fun. That fact is, what troubles me is pols wanting to legislate what THEY think is right for our kids, my generation grew up playing all kinds of violent games...for real...with our cap guns...now banned...BB guns etc...and we did not become violent monsters, and neither will the kids today!!! If the politicians are worried about violence....let them take a look at Iraq...not what we do for recreation.

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Halo2_Norad

Do they realize how many people they are angering for doing this. Democrates are going to lose the next election because of this. I'm going to make sure that the gamers of the country do not vote for this party. I say that there are about 1in 4 people in the country that play games. Thats alot of votes going to the other team. What MORONS!!!!

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Rugby4ever

For you younger kids out there, something similar was going on back in the late 80's and early 90's after the orignal Doom came out. They were also saying similar things about D and D(pencil and paper version) back then. According to all of the so called experts back then there should have been a sharp increase in violent crime because of all the "violent fantasy" games the kids were playing. How many of you can guess what happened to most those at risk kids? Here's a hint: NOTHING. Today many of those kids have families of their own and some are even working in the game industry because they were inspired by the game they played.

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piano_pimp

I don't think family values are the problem, I think it's the generation gap.....the people who criticise gaming have never played games themselves....it's new to them, therefore it must be bad. My family's got values, sure, but even my parents enjoy playing mario party and stuff that isn't too hard for them to pick up

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Night_Frost

I guess I'll stop playing video games...haha, yeah right, CDC should worry about Bird Flu than the effects video games had, leave it alone guys, you can't stop us from playing games

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kaosprince

This is why I hate prudes and religous activists. I'm not saying Hilary is a religous activist but still. I do not want to see this country turning into Austrilia where they ban more videogames more than anywhere else in the world. God I hate people with family values.

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NightRain

Don't they have better things to worry? Yeah, like bird flu? That is a real threat. Video games aren't a big problem now. Please, leave them alone.

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SavoyPrime

Good grief. This has got to stop.

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Corvin

I really hate that this is such a monochrome subject. Both sides have to compromise. Its foolish to say either, that violent media has no effect, or is overly responsible for, violence in our society. Sure these violent video games can lead to severely altered behaviour if one is pre-disposed towards perhaps being easily manipulated, cohersed or is sensitive to subliminal or misinterpreted suggestion. Lets face it some people are. However as these games become more realistic I see it as entirely possible the opposite effect could happen: these games would disgust many children and perhaps even deter violent behaviours. This of course assumes a certain level of parental intervention and discipline, something that sadly can't be taken for granted in today's society.

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vamroc

Man is the most cunning animal to ever walk the earth, Son of Sam, Zodiac, Boston Strangler, BTK, the list goes on and on. Most of these people at most have played Pac Man or Donkey Kong and thats it. No GTA, no Doom, hell not even River City Ransom. It wasn't even a real industry up until about the mid1980's. Do you want me to go back to the James gang with Frank and Jesse. Oooh I know let's restrict history books so kids don't know the US government gave radioactive matterial to retarded people, Just to see how it would affect human tissue..That little factiod happened in the fifties and only dicovered about five years ago.

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MrPuzzlez

boolow407... Regretfully, I'm from Arkansas and I fully agree with what you said... Arkansas is mainly made of inbreds and idiots. Also, read my sig about what I think about their laws here...

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NoNameded

I am from bosnia. here we dont have even copyrigths for games. last year Microsoft came to collages to take money for Windows. all students have to pay these even if using Linux. and no one care about these. its very funny when something like that happends in "land of democracy". if that pass thrugh law system and get legaly you are all wellcome in Bosnia to enjoy noncare. my god, these world is becoming god place to live only in wilderness.

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Chaosctf2k

I Would Never EVER vote for her. I think she needs to think about the war then the media. Plus, she's not a gamer, her daughter probobably doesn't even play video games. This is BS! And you can't justify that video games cause violence in real life. I had a debate class back in 2001. We had a man come up with ideas, and he was pulling thoughts like "Oh, since Mortal Kombat has blood, then maybe Kids would want to see more blood''. That's BS, If people can't tell what's real from something plugged into a TV, then They seriously need to go see a doctor. I play for about 6 hours a day. And I'm as calm as anybody you see. I also don't think Columbine did anything. They were bullied by kids. They have videos from their business class on a productive carear. The 2 boys did a "Hitman" type video. Thats violence from kid to kid. Thats not from Media to kid to kid. This isn't a Democracy, this is men and women who can't find anything better to do, but blame the Video Game Market. They're lives suck so much that they try to manipulate US as GAMERS!!! No such thing MRS. CLINTON!! You should try to work harder on keeping a husband then trying to lower the percentage of violence in America. As I said before. She will never get my vote. I also hope those women who love this lady so much understand that once they get their own lives tampered with, with kids killing kids for immature reasons that this Lady isn't that great. Try to cure Aids!! Hell, you'll do more good there. And you'll find more supporters!

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Quezakolt

..... ... .. . O_O; I'm even more glad that I don't live in the states. Have theses politicians completly lost their sense of logic?? Meanwhile in Dakota, vicitms of rape cannot have an abortion. G-R-E-A-T.

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Johnthefighter

See this is starting to look like a more controling government and that doesn't work! Somehow I don't see this "helping the people" this is an attempt to remove liberties and strike a blow against civil rights!

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cofn42

Hmmm, nice to know Video Games are as bad as Ebola. Way to go Hilary, nice to see how American Politicians think your money should be wasted, umm I meant spent. As one of the previou poster said, come to Canada, we have none of this silliness here. Sure it may be cold, but big brother lets us define what is right and wrong for each of us. So much for freedom of expression down south. You are free to express what ever you want, as long as your government approves it. Sad, really really sad.......

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remmbermytitans

again.... if something like this happens... there will be a huge problem between gamers and the government.... and don't forget when these guys get kick out of office.... we get to vote for who we want to represent us... and then there will be no more problems...

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boolow407

90 million, doesnt this b**** have anything better to do with tax payers money? When we all have bird flu, at least my TV will be safe from the likes of GTA. Her and her white trash husband need to crawl their hypocritical selves back to the trailer park they came from in Arkansas. Stupid inbreds.

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Jahalo

Blaming video games... again? I dont get into their business, why dont they stay out of mine. They always have to come back and forth with this rediculous act of ignorance. How can you argue something that you dont understand? Its just like when I was little and my Grandma asked me if I thought video games rotted my brain. She was on my side, but the fact that this has been going on since the beginning of video games and they still have not bothered to learn more about it is disturbing. Talk about judging a book by its cover. Where is Marilyn Manson when you need him? Can't we blame him for the violence instead?

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Seraphim_24

AstroCreep2007 You make a great point about tobacco because it is scientifically proven to cause lung cancer in both the smoker and those frequently exposed to 2nd hand smoke. I would think, based on that, that it would be more important to act on smoking, especially since it has a negative physical effect on everyone around teh smoker than it would be to try to impose someone's own morality on society. I always feel that as long as what you're doing does not affect others then it cannot be a sin, nor a crime. And video games aren't hurting anyone! I'm 26 and have been playing violent video games for 12 years (I started with Mortal Kombat 12 years ago) AND I'm a martial artist in one of the most brutal styles out there. I KNOW how to kill people with my bare hands, I've been professionally traied to know how and I NEVER have even been tempted! Not once have I felt the urge to wrap my arm around someone's neck and snap it. Quick, easy, and silent. But NEVER EVER have I done it. On the other hand there is debate that 2nd hand smoke may have killed Christopher Reeve's wife because she was a non-smoker who died from lung cancer, but she was also a singer in bars and was frequently exposed to 2nd hand smoke. So there you have it Hillary! Go after stuff that really IS harmful!

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ufopuller

Democrates---Figures!!

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Fatality4u

God, I wish they would concentrate on far more important things such as national security.

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50cent99

they are full of crap. they just want to tell everyone what to do.

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banyangod

$90 Million tax dollars going to this inane study. Granted M and adult-Only games should not be sold to minors but do you need a study to tell you that. There are some good points to what they are trying to do but they way they are going about it is stupid. The CDC has better things to do then to study the "disease" video games. Movies have had a rating system in place for a long time. Problem is many movie houses often do not restrict kids from watching R rated movies and rarely if ever restrict kids from PG-13 movies. How can they push all these initatives against the gaming industry and not do the same for the Movie industry. Because the MPAA have very important lobbyists. In the end it all comes down to the same thing. Parenting. Parents need to pay attention to what their kids watch and what they play. Raise the children well, and they will understand the difference between reality and the fantasy worlds of games and movies.

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Autolycus

and might I add, while H.Clinton does take things too far(along with libermann) its not nearly as bad as having an ape(no offense for the ape) of a president like we do no. Stupid right wing. All they do is steal from the poor and give to themselves. Selfish people like that are a complete waste of life.

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Autolycus

you cant ask the goverment to be a parent for you. If you want kids, expect to vie up your life. Stop blaming your childs bad behavior on anything other then yourselves. THIS WHOLE STUDY IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF TAX PAYERS MONEY!!!

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chrisdojo

the clintons will burn someday. (she BETTER not be the president, EVER)

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DrKill09

Oh boy, I get to have liberals crap on my rights YET AGAIN. Oh joy!

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mikekare79

I hate politicians. I wish they would all just go away! Pick on terrorists, not good Americans that work real hard and just want to be left alonw to play games. Vote them all (Elephants and Donkeys) out!!!

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CloudStrifeFFO7

Man thats some stupid people >_

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CraigH123

The Centers for Disease Control dealing with violence in video games? What a joke. I'm sure Clinton things she's appealing to some people with stunts like these but I'm sure not one of those people. I don't like opportunistic politicians jumping in on issues like this just to get votes.

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famuboy

Pssshhh...I got your disease control right here.

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MrPuzzlez

Makes tax evasion seem like a good idea...

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MrPuzzlez

You know... I really hate this country and I am a native of it... BUT... It's the only place one could live on this pile of $h1t called Earth.

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NERDSFOREVER

could they just give it a rest theres nothing wrong with violence in games because if we dont express our violence some how we gonna do it to public so why not do it for games. i mean come on people kno the difference between real and made up

Avatar image for Yoshi
Yoshi

ebolav35 said: "And I love when ppl try to explain that there CAN'T be a link by saying 'i played violent games growing up and I never killed anyone'...by that rationale a smoker who doesn't get lung cancer can claim cigarettes are harmless b/c they never affected him... " What school did you go to and can you get a refund? Did they teach you about subjective issues (like "why I might have done something violent"), and concrete issues (like "I have cancer"). Studies like these CANNOT be correct because there is NO WAY to account for all the factors (family situation, school situation, previous mental stability) as to why someone would do something. I feel there are many things that can be quantified on this planet, but stuff like this is just around to give researchers and analysts something to do. All it does is give violent people an excuse for their actions and us spending time on it gives that excuse credence.

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Briantb_2008

Who else thinks that Take-two kicked open the lid to pandoras box on video games. Ever sense GTA came out we have had this violent video game crap passed before are eyes. I'm all for GTA but sense the hot coffee bit there has been increased amounts of political garbage making fusses about the amount of violence in video games. Well most of that garbage will keep on talking but all the same there not going any for in there political career hiting this subject. Because I know most of us won't vote for the garbage come re-election.

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SASdelta762

Yet more of the same old same old. Senators on the left communisticly attempt to censor our games. It goes without saying that the pencil-pushers won't lift a finger against the media giants that put them into power, and that the bureaucrats will shamelessly exploit a budding industry in which they have no knowledge or interrest. Typical political exploitation at its finest. When will the Big-Brotherism end?

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jimbo102671

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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soulcalibur7

Just two things, first, the first post but blackjoeice or whatever, gaming might not have made you a violent person, but you sure as hell can't spell. Seriously, read your post aloud to yourself, it's painful to read. Secondly, whoever mentioned that perhaps the CDC should be investigating bird flu, haha, nice one, too true. Honestly, we does clinton and lieberman continue this charade? Don't they know we're the future and we sure as hell won't stand for their crusade for popularity votes.

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flakbait2004

Lieberman should really take his head out of his ass and drop this personal vendetta against the video game industry. Now he wants to waste $90 million tax dollars on this. Why do people keep voting for this numbnut? Please if you live in Connecticut vote him out.

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jimbo102671

I'm a Democrat, and I must say that this is an embarrassment to the party. The Citizens Against Government Waste made a good decision on "porker of the month". $90M+ for the CDC to investigate the Interactive Entertainment industry? Don't these so-called senators have ANYTHING better to do with their time and taxpayer money!?

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ebolav35

And I love when ppl try to explain that there CAN'T be a link by saying 'i played violent games growing up and I never killed anyone'...by that rationale a smoker who doesn't get lung cancer can claim cigarettes are harmless b/c they never affected him... Look up the diathesis-stress model for more info Other good studies are by sheese and graziano, and deselms and altman...

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InfectX

Well, the CDC. Hmm...last time I checked, the CDC's jurasdiction involves them dealing with things like, you know, EBOLA EPIDEMICS. Videogames? Not so much a disease in my book. Oh well; I guess we''ll just have to waste $100 mil. to prove once and for all that games don't screw kids up.

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ebolav35

Sorry for the double post