HAVING 'GOVERNMENT STEP IN'
Members of Congress take an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, it's just a rote exercise for too many of them.
Take Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He doesn't like violence on television and blames "big media companies." His solution? Government intervention, of course.
"I fear that graphic violent programming has become so pervasive and has been shown to be so harmful, we are left with no choice but to have the government step in," Sen. Rockefeller said Tuesday during a meeting of his committee. ... Precisely what the senator wants the government to do remains unknown. ...
The best way to address the problem of television violence -- if you believe there is one -- remains through a combination of parental intervention, individual responsibility and the marketplace. But because many of those inside the beltway remain deeply suspicious of those three concepts, don't be surprised if some form of grandstanding legislation eventually emerges.
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent record on the First Amendment has been a mixed bag -- though the justices did toss out a previous effort by Congress to regulate Internet content. But if Sen. Jay Rockefeller and his ilk succeed in greatly expanding the role of the federal government in determining what grown men and women may watch on TV, let's hope the justices show their oath more respect than many members of Congress typically do.