Obama Leaves Hollywood Out of Gun Control Talks


President Barack Obama’s gun control rhetoric fails to address the influence of the media, writes Campbell Brown in the Wall Street Journal:

The president's campaign against gun violence has produced a stale debate marked by lots of speeches with little achieved. A more creative chief executive would have used this moment to widen the discussion by drawing attention to the increasingly graphic violence so pervasive in television shows, movies and videogames. Mr. Obama is particularly well positioned to challenge Hollywood because of his special relationship with the media world's elites. They might be more likely to heed criticism coming from Mr. Obama than from any other president or member of Congress.

According to Brown, Obama asked Congress in January to give a "pittance" of $10 million toward research on the "causes and prevention of gun violence, including links between videogames, media images, and violence."

However, the White House has yet to show interest on the evidence of media violence.

Mr. Biden met only with representatives of the entertainment and videogame industry and researchers who support the industry. Not a single doctor or researcher critical of media violence met with the vice president.

Brown cites evidence from studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Medical Association that all say exposure to media violence increases aggression and violent behavior in children.

Brown says in order to have a balanced gun control discussion Obama should reach out to his Hollywood friends such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and George Clooney.

The president has been more than willing to challenge the National Rifle Association, but that is like a Republican president standing up to labor unions—not a move that risks anything with his core supporters. Mr. Obama could show some real bravery by taking on Hollywood.