Sen. Rockefeller Calls Violent Media Content 'Serious Issue'

Says it Needs to be Part of Post-Newtown Discussions

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) said Monday that Congress needs to address the issue of violent images on video games and TV.

In a statement driven by the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the senator, a longtime critic of media violence, said: "We need to look at the violence our kids see every day starting at a young age.  By the time children reach 18 years old, they have seen tens of thousands of violent images -- on television, the internet, or video games.  As parents, research confirms what we already know -- these violent images have a negative impact on our children's wellbeing."

He wasn't ready to lay the blame for the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary on the media, but he suggested it was part of a conversation that includes access to guns and mental health. "While we don't know if such images impacted the killer in Newtown," he said, "the issue of violent content is serious and must be addressed."

Following the nation's deadliest mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2010, Rockefeller renewed his push for government oversight of violent media content. While the FCC has regulations on indecency, it has no similar rules limiting violent content.

Rockefeller has tried unsuccessfully on a number of occasions to pass media violence legislation that would give the FCC explicit authority to regulate TV violence.