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 Kounji
Kounji

This is sad. I think what Clinton doesn't realize is that a lot of young people tend to vote democratic. There are a lot of people turning 18 soon who will be able to go to the polls for the 2008 election. What's she's doing is actually going to hurt the democrats in isolated areas of the country. A few thousand gamers in the right areas can actually hurt the dems chances. I can't see why no one has thought about this. The funny thing was this wasn't even an issue until Jack Thompson and Liberman and CLinton brought all this up. I guess they're hoping that bush's issues are able to polarize the new voters but man I know a lot more people who go to this site for news or watch the daily show rather than cnn.com or reuters and they're just not really helping themselves. Especially with hillary clinton being a very likely candidate for the presidency.

Avatar image for 207906790378084769405472660803

It's not violence in video games that's harmful -- it's violence! You have a country who is at war, and television shows, movies, and news programs that show gratuitous violence. How can they just isolate video games?

Not allowing minors to rent or buy video games -- fine -- but do the same for other media. Minors should be able to gain access to these media under supervision of adults.

If they go after video games, then they should also go after America's Army, which surprising to this day, was left unmentioned as a violent game. While kids have to pay to get GTA, they can get America's Army for free.

And the Democrats are wondering why they can't win an election...they're just as uptight and conservative as Republicans.
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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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OPOLO

My God, like I said B4 - "Why don't the government spend this time & money on programs & efforts teaching people how to parent."?

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edmorleysmith

I disagree.... 90 million dollars buys the answers you want out of a study, which in this case will be a positive correlation between violent media and disruptive youth. I bet it will also suggest a link between violent media and adult crime. No study can ever be 100% unbiased, but with the anti-violent views of the every politian proposing funding for it, there will only be one outcome.

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Mechakucha

kay, first of all the REPUBLICANS are just as bad as the DEMOCRATS when it comes to these game laws and useless spending in general (usually more so). The whole governement is a bipartisan effort in RETARDEDNESS. This will be the shortest session of Congress EVER in history, and they're getting absoultely NOTHING done, but spending billions of dollars we don't have to do it. second, if canada will have me, I'll be happy to go. Don't wanna be drafted when we invade Iran (hopefully that won't happen though). I live in vermont, so I think I can handle the weather =P

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racer360

all politicians ****** suck ***

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CLONING

politic sucks hard

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exterminator13

They wont find anything with that project, just a waste of money.

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Yoshi

It's nice to know that even in the 21st century the witch hunt is alive and well. No wonder the rest of the world believes we are ignorant children that lash out at anything we don't understand. We are. Please join me in swamping these 2 misguided fools with letters, faxes and phone calls stating that we as Americans would like our political systems time and money to be used to solve real problems and not chase phantoms for incompetent parents.

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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.

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Bloodzombie77

Great, first Republicans are complete idiots, but now Democrats wanna destroy the video game industry, man, you just can't win anymore.

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hungfar

How about a study and/or survey of ADULTS who have grown up playing games and still do. I bet that the majority would say that anyone who perpetrates any kind of stupid or criminal act because of a game is a slobbering retard or otherwise just isn't right in the head in the first place. I find it OFFENSIVE that $90,000,000 could potentially be pissed away over something like this. There's plenty of real issues like war (pushing the agenda forward is more like it), global famine, homelessness, health care, illegal immigration...I could go on. But the real problem is videogames apparently. Sickening.

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StillWingless

heading towards big brother man... and the CDC? so gaming is a disease now?

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ApisBee

Good use of my tax dollars, NOT! They should concentrate on the Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner cartoons first. Such violence being pumped into children well before they are old enough to operate video gaming equipment. Lets see, we had WWI and WWII without the existence of video games. Now we have video games and no WWIII. History proves that video games reduces violence to some degree.

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buniao3

Amazing. There are a lot of other problems in the United States (obesity, illegal substance abuse, poverty, gambling, rape, coporate crime, etc) and the 'Crats are gonna waste more of our time and money on something arbitrary. Good job.

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jack_kerouac

What happened the the Democratic party that upheld and fought for Civil Liberties? This is the same confederation of individuals who decried the passing of the USA PATRIOT act five years ago because of the major hypothetical dangers posed therein. It's nice to know that their concern for free speech is limited only to that which is easily understood by their constituency, rather than to the nation's citizens as a whole. 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. By cleaving to the "violent video games" issue and by vilifying the individuals that produce them, they create a peg upon which they can hang all the evils of the modern age and a speaking-point for the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election.

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curtisandre

Don't these lawmakers have anything better to do than try and regulate video games that already have a system in place to rate games from E to M. They are saying that parents need to know what there kids are playing and being exposed to from the games. Well I am a parent and I understand the difference of between Sponge Bob and GTA. These Senators should take alook at past history, I was watching the history channel and a show was on about the Comic Book industry and the government steped in back in the 1930's and recked a tone of different comic book companies because a doctor did a study and wrote a book on how comic books were bad for kids. He said that the comics were causeing kids to do bad in school, to not respect there elders, and children crime. That was a bunch of bulls--t and so is this.

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FrankSoul

yes yes join us in canada MUAHAHAHAH if you can live in really really really cold weather then you will be fine, plus as a bonus you get to see a lot more of 'girls' bar per citizen then anywhere else! ( and they have great buffet too)

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vallen1311

"Lieberman's two Republican cosponsors of the bill are senators Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Sam Brownback of Kansas." Its not just Dems. Both are equally stupid.

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DryvBy

boo! down with Democraps!

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FourSwordsx4

Now the Disease Prevention Center is studying videogame violence? Videogames are a "disease" now? I'm moving to Canada when I hit 18, I don't want my tax dollars going to morons like this.

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SirChuckalot

Parental guidance anyone? Parental responsibility anyone? The same parent who would let their child watch a movie like SAW or some slasher flick, is the same parent who would let their child play GTA or Postal or even Doom. Clearly all adult games. When the government starts trying to raise children, it's time for people to stop making children. Unfortunately, there are parents who think children should be able to make decisions for themselves as if they are adults. There in lies the problem with a great many things...not just video gaming.

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byteme

Our tax dollars hard at work.

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ThePhantomVI

Pfft. Santorum is behind this. What a joke. That man disgusts me already, this is just icing on the cake. This is just a ploy by him to get a little more milage out of his doomed political career.

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Sparky100

Gee....too bad all this rancor wasen`t generated against the start of that foolish "war" in the mideast. You all would have saved well over 300 billion dollars by now. Oh well...I don`t really look for "reason" from people that place a minors access to video games over the life and death struggles that come with "war".

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rondalescott

OMFG, how about you stupid sluts let the CDC worry about the BIRD FLU, you morons? God damn it, if this is the best the Democrats can come up with, they're going to be effed in the elections this year. Stupid retards. Go get laid by a lobbyist, or something. Morons.

Avatar image for deactivated-59d151f079814

Why don't these jerks attack all media then, instead of just going after games.. What about movies then? Last I checked some of the most violent movies out there such as Saving Private Ryan won some of the top rewards.. Did any one say aything about it.. No.. If video games affects greatly your ability to decide then you shouldnt be playign simople as that.. its the parents decision... Top that off then go after the movies then buddy, and I would respect their claims.. Because surely violence on TV affects people just as much if not mroe (sense more watch it) then video games..

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rbc420

dosen't the government have better things to spend their money on?

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GrayWolf323

Canada is actually starting to look like a nice place to live........ scary thought

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BigV25

This stinks for two reasons. One, it is a huge waste of 90 million dollars. Two, I live in St. Louis but thankfully not in the county.

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Raven_Yuri

Man..i this just makes me want to grab the next plan to England or Canada..nice to know that my government is using my money for retarded purposes..i mean i knew before they were wasting it..but this just rediculious..any kid that sits there and says "the game made me do it!!" need to be takin out back and beat with a common sense stick..they're just games for Jebus sake!! That's like someone k1ll1ng themselfs cause they heard a depressive and $uicidal song..well at least that's my 2 cents..some of the youth of america are just fing retarded and should be whiped from the gene pool..

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MysticGenie

I hve said it before and I will say it again. Media studies have proven time and time again that violent media, not just limited to games, does not conclusively cause violent behavior. It has been shown that it may lead to episodes in people who are already predispositioned to such behavior, but this percentage is very small. It also raises the question that if the argument for banning violent media is for the protection of this small percentage of affected people, then why not ban alcohol, which causes similar behavior in a wider segment of people. Those Democrats (I'm a Democrat as well) needs to realize that there are a ton of other factors to violent behaviour (economics, education, gun access etc etc) other than trying to blame the media, which is the easiest scapegoat there is.

Avatar image for FrankSoul
FrankSoul

yet again im glad im canadian

Avatar image for Kodai_kun
Kodai_kun

>>>All I'm going to say is that I'm very, very disappointed in Rick Santorum. I expected better from him

Avatar image for Jaden_Stryfe
Jaden_Stryfe

THese people need to mind there own business and stop wasting our valuable tax dollars on stupid stuff like this. Video games contribute no more than movies or tv. It is and should always be up to the parents of a child to determine if a child should or shouldn't play a video game. I think these people who are trying to get these "laws" passed have nothing better to do so they attack whatever doesn't interest them in the least. They need to get a hobby that isn't trying to prohibit a minor from buying a video game. I don't know of any video game stores that sell games like DOOM 3 to minors without a parent anyway.

Avatar image for FreakmanJ
FreakmanJ

Oh God.

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matparkerbinbro

Come to england where we have a government that is not retarded

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m0zart

Winston Smith, welcome to the future!

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Van_Cleef

Hello, Big Government. Guess who pays for this crap?

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Rej72380

Considering that I'm an registered Democrat, Senators Clinton and Lieberman are making a huge mistake trying to pass a bill like that.

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belgarath2323

You've got it right, da_spoony! These politicks are outta control!

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RidleyTJN

Forget the Bird Flu! Forget HIV in Africa! Don't even worry about potential small pox threats anymore! The CDC has a much more important task at hand now =|

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jglove

if hillary became president i would move to canada cause she would single handedly destroy our great nation

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NinjaFoot

Is it that close to election time again already?! Sigh....Show me an honest politician and I'll show you how games ruin kids. In other words, neither is remotely true.

Avatar image for da_spoony
da_spoony

hmmm there are people starving all over the world and a city that needs rebuilding, education suxs and the economy is in a slump yep lets blow 90 mil on research that doesn't really matter. I don't see them calling the CDC on religion look how many crimes against not only the public but against humanity in general have been commited in its name throughout history.

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SpaceMatt

All I'm going to say is that I'm very, very disappointed in Rick Santorum. I expected better from him.

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blackmage0_15

Come to Canada. No laws passed like that here. If I remember, in Canada, we haven't even passed a law preventing the ripping of CD's or DVD's. :-b