Sen. Lieberman to meet with movie moguls

Former Al Gore running mate and outspoken Hollywood critic Sen. Joe Lieberman will arrive in California on Wednesday for a powwow with the movie industry’s leading movers and shakers.

Following hot on the heels of the Connecticut senator will be colleagues Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.). Boxer recently gained a seat on the highly powerful Senate Commerce, Science and Transporation Committee, which currently has oversight of the entertainment industry.

Lieberman is a longtime critic of the way Hollywood portrays violence and what he says is the industry’s lack of a meaningful rating system. Since losing his bid for the vice presidency, Lieberman has said that he intends to bring legislation that would give the Federal Trade Commission authority – albeit limited authority – to address the movie and video game industries on false advertising, Reuters reports. That legislation has yet to be introduced.

Lieberman did introduce, along with Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the “21st Century Media Responsibility Act of 1999.” The main thrust of the bill was to enact a “uniform labeling system for all entertainment media violence” to cover motion pictures, TV programs, music and video games. The bill was read twice and referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where it remains, according to McCain’s office.

The Motion Picture Association of America criticized the act in a written statement, saying any attempt by the federal government to define such terms as “intensity of violent content,” “age appropriateness” and “context” would collapse in failure because those concepts are elusive.

Lieberman also was in the forefront of the V-chip movement, which supplied parents with news tools to screen out violent and offensive programs. This comes in the form of the V-chip blocking technology, which is now installed in all new televisions. He also has advocated efforts to promote more education programs for children on broadcast television; sponsoring legislation encouraging the industry to resurrect its longstanding code of conduct; and asking the Federal Communications Commission to determine whether broadcasters are meeting the “public interest” standard prescribed by law.

Lieberman and Gore were both criticized for accepting money from Hollywood’s bigwigs while publicly decrying the lack of morals and standards by the entertainment industry.

The MPAA has arranged all the meetings, at the request of the respective senators.

The senators are setting the agenda, and that the location of the meetings could not be revealed, said Rich Taylor, the MPAA’s head of communications.