The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

November 17, 2007

Rockefeller: It’s vital to clean up TV, ’Net

Editor’s note: This is the sixth and final story in a series based on Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s appearance before The Register-Herald’s editorial board.

Not many in Congress seem willing to saddle up and ride with Sen. Jay Rockefeller in his crusade to clean up television programming and guard young eyes from surfing in the murky waters of the Internet.

Even so, the lack of strong support hasn’t deterred the West Virginia Democrat’s feelings that his cause is just.

“It’s sort of seen as a goody-goody issue,” Rockefeller told The Register-Herald’s editorial board. “Well, it isn’t to me. And I think that people’s views toward their communities, their sense of responsibility to each other, the times of crisis, are affected by this.”

Rockefeller opened his campaign against television programming back in June, seeking to expand the Federal Communications Commission’s powers to regulate what broadcast, cable and satellite are bombarding into the eyes and ears of children.

Violent content has a way of desensitizing impressionable minds, he said, alluding more than once in the interview to school shootings, especially the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech.

To buttress his point, the senator told of an 80-year-old World War II veteran who visited him at home and described his wartime experiences, how he helped blow up German troop trains.

“He said that he just got numb, that he lost any feeling,” he said. “One thing was that he couldn’t see them. And that’s also true with troops on the ground. It gives them post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Then the senator borrowed a line from Gen. George Patton’s obscenity-laced rallying speech to troops, about making the other man die for his country — except Rockefeller omitted the salty-tongue warrior’s allusion to the enemy’s paternity.

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