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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Avatar image for ebolav35
ebolav35

For those who claim there's no scientific evidence supporting a link between violent games and violent attitudes/thoughts, do your homework first. I am finishing my PhD in psych and this is my research area. Read studies by Anderson, Dill, Bushman, Funk and others....then open your mouth...

Avatar image for ebolav35
ebolav35

For the people who say there's no research supporting a link, PLEASE do your homework first. I have a PhD in psych and this is my research area of interest...read work by Anderson, Dill, Bushman, Funk and many others...

Avatar image for Jedi_Osborn
Jedi_Osborn

clinton sucks, I'm embarrased to have her represent my state.

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The_People

Are you serious? When will the governemnt stop p***ing away money?

Avatar image for gzader
gzader

Gamers against wastefull government! --- Personally, every time I hear a politician say something stupid, I want to hit something. Perhaps we should prevent violence by not allowing Politicians to communicate in any form. I'm sure if we regulated policital speech and activity we could greatly improve on this country's health, moral compass, employement rate and a number of other factors.

Avatar image for wellfeedmonkey
wellfeedmonkey

They need to worry about more pressing issues than this.They need to worry about straighting up thier own acts before judging something they dont do or understand.I guess if thats to much then we can always cover our ears,sew our mouths shut,blind fold our eyes and live in a cage if that makes them happier.

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Kfoss

what a waste of money..the CDC should be looking at the millions dieing from AIDS...not media

Avatar image for hungrycat
hungrycat

First, the government could never base any law based on an ESRB rating. The ESRB is a privately controled "entity". That would be like the gov't. saying all grade "A" dariy products must be restricted to minors. The system that rates dariy products is like the ESRB. NOT GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED! Second, this is just a feable attack on a new medium of entertainment by people that could actually care less about video games. Think about it, in the 1940's there were people attacking comic books for being too violent. In the '50's and '60's Rock and Roll music was "warping our children's soul". Comics and Rock haven't harmed the general population. Sure, a couple of musicians overdose, but Suburbia, USA hasn't been effected. Don't blame these idiots in power, blame your self, for puting those idiots in power.

Avatar image for ChrisMx2
ChrisMx2

Why would the CDC even consider investigating videogames?

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Belianth

what happend to personal responsibilty. it's not the government's job it's the parents. If they are bad parents punish them not the community.

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mach-stem

[quote]Donkeljohn The CDC. . . investigating games? Perhaps they should worry more about the Bird Flu. (select an action below) ______________ Report Abuse To Moderator Posted Mar 9, 2006 12:35 pm PT [/quote] Exactly! It's a distraction by the media, controlled by...who knows. Whoever thinks the CDC should put any interest into videogames has to be one hell of an uneducated person...or just real stupid. :) The US of A should be focusing on things of actual importance (insert whichever "problem" here) instead of trying to convince their people that videogames are a virus that needs to be controlled, prevented and/or quarantined. Videogames are virtual, war, famine and viral pandemics are not. PEACE

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Nafda

Another useless study for bad parents in general to ignore. "Here ya go, Jimmy, I got you a copy of GTA." Instead of busy-body democratics blaming video games, maybe they should take a look at the kids and their parents.

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amblisnys

I'd expect no less from that stupid know-nothing clinton. As a a NY I propose she quits wasting my tax dollars an does something productive.

Avatar image for Robio_basic
Robio_basic

If you live in Connecticut, New York, or Illinois it is your sworn duty to vote these people out of office.

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StealthyBurrito

How bout they focus on real issues that plague this nation

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highlife

Maybe the goverment won't be happy intil everone everwhere are saved from the all the bad things in the world. I don't remember asking, but im sure im paying for this somehow.

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metdevthegamer

The Gulf is still a mess, thousands of people of waiting for relief from Katrina, and a number of other serious problems are happening and they're going after video games? wtf?

Avatar image for kinncolts
kinncolts

Damn u gamers!! Why can't you understand that Avian Flu and AIDS don't matter. Who cares if millions of people r diagnosed with AIDS aroudn the world and we hav found no cure. Or that the avian flu could turn into a worldwide epidemic and we hav no cure or quartine measures. Vidoe gmaes r extremely dangerous and millions upon millions of dollars must be spent on researching them. Any child whu comes in contact with a game automattiaclly becomes an enraged killer. Thank You, Jack Thompson

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mrimkeit

FACIST FACIST FACIST FACIST FACIST FACIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LETS ALL BECOME NAZIS AND CONTROL EVERYTHING YAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1984 ANYONE?!!! IS THIS AMERICA ANY MORE OR IS IT BECOMEING SOME FACIST STATE?!! DOWN WITH LEBERMAN AND CLINTON. WE NEED TO ACTIVLY OPPOSE THIER ELECTIONS AND PUT THEM IN THEIR PLACE!!!

Avatar image for wokisan
wokisan

First of all, the CDC clearly has much more important issues to study. Yet another waste of our (the taxpayers) money by politicians who are out of touch. Democrats, Republicans.....IMHO they are all full of it. It is this simple. Parents...take the time to know what kind of games your kids play. Then be a big enough person to decide if you think what they play is appropriate for their age and level of maturity. They are YOUR kids and it is YOUR responsibility. Quit passing the buck and the blame to game developers. . Nuff said.

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dru26

Hillary sucks, Monica swallows.

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billigloo

all you have to do is show up on voting day most Senators,congressman and other low life politicians are put into office by less then 20% of all eligible voters

Avatar image for AstroCreep2007
AstroCreep2007

Man, this is such a crock. Why do they even bother trying to pick on the gaming world? They couldn't do it to movies, TV or music, so what makes them think they'll be able to do this to games? It's an obvious, yet hard-to-accept fact that if a kid is so easily influenced by games (assuming that it's even true) that it's the *parent's* responsibility to see to it that the kid doesn't play such games. They rate games explicitly for that purpose. Kids can't buy video games with an M rating if they're under 17 years of age, and, when I worked at Funcoland (now Gamestop), we adamantly enforced the rule. That's like saying that we should get rid of all tobacco products just because underaged kids are somehow getting ahold of them, when we all know full-well that it's well within the power of the parents to actually do something about it. Long story, short: Bill Clinton needs to give Hilary something she's been in need of for a long time: an orgasm.

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EugeneE3RD

Ok great, the jerk-off's are at it again. Can't these idiots get it into their heads that games are not the cause of violence by young kids. Even though they say that they will look at other factors, I'll bet ya that they will single out games like they always do. If games really cause violence, every person who plays violent games would have killed somebody.

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Oni

With so many other pressing issues in this Country .. video games pose the greatest threat .. huh Hillary? But we might as well blow more tax dollars on another trivial awarness device.

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doggy47perfecto

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA that ***** just lost my vote in 2008

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Shnooper

Why cant these people understand that its not the games that are hurting people, its the people who play them and are affected by them. And the games companies arnt makeing games that make people dangerous, but when people make a big deal about it people think they are. For example a man is killed by another man who is reanacting a kill from a game. Is it the games fault? No think of all the other people who played the game and didnt kill someone. They cant see them because they can only think about the bad. And who wants somone like that in charge?

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GS_darkplayer

this is a bunch of BS. They will ban game one day. then guesdt what in five years afther that there will be killing and robbery and the crime rate will go up. And that the fact. And then they will un ban it. And then go to the real probluem. Mental illness.

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gan283

They need to outlaw trying to get laws made for regulation of video games, this is getting friggin ridiculous.

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Seraphim_24

I know we all hate the prequel trilogy, but Star Wars makes a great point about how republics become dictatorships. Between the Patriot Act on the Conservative side, and never ending attempts at government regulation of free speech on the Liberal side we're going to end up declaring an emperor at the rate we're going. The worst part is that there are so many people out there who cheer these dictators on. See me? I think there's an easy way to stop this. Hillary Clinton is running for Senate reelection THIS YEAR. PEOPLE OF NEW YORK: DON'T VOTE FOR HER! And remember not to vote for anyone else associated with this, or the Patriot Act. One by one, we the people can oust these tyrants by exercising our right to vote, and thank goodness they haven't tried to take that away yet. (Not on the surface anyway). Those who refuse to participate in politics are doomed to be ruled by their inferiors.

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solidsnake2050

Those who are trying stop games, movies, and other such things are nothing but a bunch of old polticians who are too scared of what the future is, and that is change, the death of their ways, and a new world. They try to strike at the things that represent the future: these are nothing but futile attempts by old men who are afraid to face the future, the end to the past. They can't stop the future, it's been tried before. It's just a bunch of old men who can't let go of what is already lost, so they strike at what the future offers. They don't understand games, movies and music, so they fear them.

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trogdorchief01

Leave videogames alone, they don't do anything to children.

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yanks26wsw

wow

Avatar image for John_of_Fire
John_of_Fire

To those who can please write a Congressman. Help stop this before it starts.

Avatar image for grayoldwolf
grayoldwolf

Shouldn't the CDC be more concerned with bioterrorism? Or bird flu? Or the fact that the US is the fattest nation on earth? Or that cancer rates are actually rising? Or that the use of illegal drugs is on the increase? None of these things matter because video games allegedly harm our children? Nonsense! The only benefit from all of this is that the CDC will produce quality work, and not the flawed 'scientific' studies that the anti-video games lobby produce so frequently. Perhaps when a link between video game use and harm to children is finally disproven we can forget this rubbish.

Avatar image for matparkerbinbro
matparkerbinbro

Why am I glad to be british you ask because 1. My government doesn't p--- away money 2. If we do something like this we ask the right f---ing people to do it.

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doomsoth

What a waste of tax payer's money.

Avatar image for mlbslugger86
mlbslugger86

jesus christ,why in the hell are they asking the cdc,a place where they prevent diseases,to study if video games are harmful to minors!?this is another pointless attempt to try to pin violence in real life to games,which the last time i checked where fantasy,NOT REALITY,and it's not only games that may cause someone to do something violent,movies anyone?

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NeoJedi

Seems like the US Government wants to prevent minors from having fun... Good thing I'll raise my future children in Canada, where no such laws exist and real freedom of speach reigns.

Avatar image for syxpack
syxpack

It's really too bad that one of my favorite hobbies went main stream. Does the CDC investigate the impact on a small brain from movies, or tv, or radio? Just don't know how these people who do nothing for a living but network, think they know what's best for everyone. THEY DON' EVEN KNOW WHAT'S BEST FOR THEM! Thus they become politicians, cop-outs. The movie industry has ratings, the video game industry has adapted a ratings system. Nothing else should be said or done about this subject legally after ratings were in place. "But jimmy killed a man" - jimmy is ONE person, punish the ONE person. I know I know, jimmy doesn't have the cash, so screw everyone and go after the companies that spend years trying to make a living by building a game that the main stream wants in a bloody FPS. ugh.

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anubis8515

all they are trying to do is pull atention away from the war and iraq

Avatar image for ninjacat11
ninjacat11

Silly Hilary Clinton, video games aren't a disease, though stupidheadness probably is.

Avatar image for anubis8515
anubis8515

yea i have to agree any kid who says a video game made me do it should have been whiped more as a child...and i blame it on the parents.... if parents acually wached what there kids did there would not be so many problems

Avatar image for funky_muzic
funky_muzic

In response to Jack_Kerouac who said: "The only reason these people continue to pursue this issue is that they are continually losing ground to the Republican party on 'family values' issues". I agree completely...And look who's at the forefront of the issue: Hillary Clinton. Gee, I wonder if she's planning an '08 presidential run. She made me sick when she came out and spoke about the "Hot Coffee" mod on GTA: San Andreas. Hillary actually said that these game developers should be held responsible because this content is not appropriate for children. I agree that it's not appropriate for children, but GTA already had an M rating (17+). It wasn't a game that was designed for kids. It was designed for the older gamers. I love playing those type games. Actually, I can't wait until they come out with some actual porno-style games! I know you can get some in Japan (they're not such prudes as us Americans). Maybe our government should make everything that's "bad" for you illegal. I mean, look how well the War on Drugs has worked. Please...

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Kounji

Yoshi: Its true I think that when it comes to family values the republican party does a better job in americans eyes for this sort of thing. I don't want to turn this into a which party is better sort of dance. I just think the republicans have some of their own problems to and the democratic party is not in a very good position to exploit them. I'm in independent if you must know and i enjoy a balanced government where one party doesn't hold all of the power. America would be at such a loss if there was only one party so lets hope that doesn't happen. Its sad though that democrats have to attack free speech inorder to find a hot button issue. WHy don't they spend money on trying to educate parents on the esrb and what all that stuff means. Why don't I see any esrb commercials on tv. GOds wouldn't that solve everything! While you're chomping own popcorn watching lost or the apprentice or what eve ryou could have an esrb commercial or something. I mean its like they're ignoring the tools out there just so they can make a point. The point was already made after mortal kombat came out and the system started. Use what we have already! Otherwise we're going to end up like austrailia where you can't even play violent games already. THis is why we have freedom of speech and I'm starting to wonder whether or not either party has this in their best interest. If everything that people fought for in every racial community throughout american history is just going to go down the toilet because of everyone's political aims. Government in its entirety seems like hypocritical nonsense

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CluelessOne

Just another attempt of the Democrats trying to gain the conservative parent's vote

Avatar image for vallen1311
vallen1311

Edit: Double post.

Avatar image for vallen1311
vallen1311

YukoAsho "The Republicans' aren't stomping on this nearly as much as the Democrats, who - in typical Democrat fashion - look like double-talkers. I predict these problems go away in a decade, coinciding with the death of the Democratic party." That gov from Utah is a Republican and if the law he wants isn't "stomping" much then I don't know what is. I'm not a Dem or Rep or anything else, but I am tired of people blaming one side when the other is just as screwed up. That Utah law was going to make it illegal for parents to let their children play violent games. Bottom line is they are supposed to serve us, but with stuff like this they are trying to rule us.

Avatar image for JivexDragon
JivexDragon

I mean, sure a video game can influence someone. But in every case of "video games leading to violence" the person convicted either had a history of extreme violence (which may be amplified by video games) or some type of disorder. Video games can amplify the impulses of a sickly violent person, but so can friends, family, school, movies, music... Maybe we should use this money to further investigate these sickly violent people instead of something through which they channel their violence.