Public relations experts who have experience working with the gun industry expressed horror at the National Rifle Association's response to the Newtown shootings.
The group's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, struck a ranting tone, blaming the video game industry and media for exposing youth to a culture of violence, and calling for armed police or security guards in schools: The only thing that stops a
bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, LaPierre claimed.
He spoke of video games and movies:
There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat ,
and Splatterhouse .
Then there's the blood-soaked slasher films like American Psycho and Natural Born Killers that are aired like propaganda loops on Splatterdays and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way
of life. And then they have the nerve to call it entertainment.
But is that what it really is? Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?
In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes every minute of every day
of every month of every year.
Public relations professionals reached by The Huffington Post said the timing of his message, which broke a week of silence in the wake of the tragic murder of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, could be an irredeemable mistake for
Senator Jay Rockefeller has introduced one of Congress' first pieces of legislation related to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut: a bill to study the
impact of violent video games on children. He said:
This week, we are all focused on protecting our children. At times like this, we need to take a comprehensive look at all the ways we can keep our kids safe. I have long expressed concern about the impact of the violent content our kids see and interact
with every day.
Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it. They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians, and psychologists know
better. These court decisions show we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional groundwork on this issue. This report will be a critical resource in this process.
Rockefeller's bill would direct the National Academy of Sciences to lead the investigation on video games' impact and submit a report on its findings within 18 months.
The legislation comes after reports suggested that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza may have played video games like Call of Duty and Starcraft .
Amid the shock and grief that followed the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been unsurprising calls
for stricter regulation of guns and rifles.
Now the National Rifle Association has decided that its strategy in the blame game will be to deflect the blame onto violent media.
An industry source relayed this strategy to Fox News:
If we're going to have a conversation, then let's have a comprehensive conversation If we're going to talk about the Second Amendment, then let's also talk about the First Amendment, and Hollywood, and the video games that teach young kids how to shoot
If you really want to stop incidents like this. Passing one more law is not going to do a damn thing. Columbine happened when? In 1999. Smack in the middle of the original assault-weapons ban.
However the lobbying group did addthat it is willing to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.
The news media, quick to find a cause for why a lone gunman would kill his mother, drive to a local elementary school, and kill 26 people (20
children) before killing himself, has turned to the usual scapegoat: video games.
Fox News wastes no time in trying to connect TV, Facebook, and computer games to the horrific actions of Lanza. As transcribed by Kotaku, a Fox News segment hosted by Megyn Kelly with guest analyst Dr. Keith Ablow waste no time pointing the finger at the
consumption of various types of media:
Kelly: The real question to you is why have there not been more things like this in the past and what is making them seem to come out now?
Ablow: You know you and I have both spoken about this on and off the air, and I fear that our level empathy just as a culture, as a society, is being diminished by things like reality TV and like Facebook that seem to take people to a kind of fictional
realm. I guess you could add gaming to that, computer games.
Later in the segment Ablow says that:
...such that now people feel less for one another, they can think of them almost as third parties, or entertainment figures or animated creatures, and for the people among us who are vulnerable to acts of violence who are violently ill, if you
will, that means they consider others even less than ever before.
On another tack, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told Fox News viewers that the separation of church and state was to blame for violence in schools. Huckabee said of this latest US atrocity:
We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?
Maybe we ought to let [God] in on the front end and we wouldn't have to call him to show up when it's all said and done at the back end.
While Fox News is blaming media and godlessness, other networks are using the tragedy as an opportunity to call for stricter gun control laws and for more funding for mental health services.
Hollywood studios have released 33 percent more R-rated films in 2012 than last year, but the wealth of adult offerings hasn't translated into a box office boom. Instead, audiences have flocked to PG-13 fare.
An actress who claimed she was duped into appearing in the anti-Islam film, The Innocence of Muslims , lost her second legal bid to force the video off
Denying a request by actress Cindy Lee Garcia for a court order requiring the popular online video site to remove the 13-minute clip, a federal judge found she was unlikely to prevail on her claims of copyright infringement.
Garcia's lawyer, Cris Armenta, told Reuters she planned to appeal the decision.
The lawsuit claimed copyright on Garcia's performance in the video and accuses Google of infringing on that copyright by distributing the video without her approval via YouTube.
But in his ruling the judge questioned the validity of such a claim. He held that even if she could prove a legitimate copyright interest in her film performance, she effectively relinquished her rights to producers of the film. Fitzgerald also ruled
that Garcia failed to show that she would suffer irreparable harm without an injunction.
Europa Editions, a publisher of world literature, wrote on their Facebook page that one of their novels, The Proof of the Honey by Salwa Al Neimi, has been removed from the iTunes bookstore due to the image on its cover.
The erotic novel discusses the role of sex in modern Arabic society, and its cover features the backside of a reclining, naked woman. This may seem worthy of removal, but, as Europa Editions points out, classical nudes by Ingres, Renoir, and
Botticelli, not to mention photography by Man Ray, are not deemed inappropriate by Apple, nor are modern books with similar covers.
The Proof of the Honey has been banned in the author's home country of Syria as well.
For that reason, publishers such as Melville House have called this censorship particularly appalling. Melville House also notes that the timing of the removal is peculiar: the book had previously been available in the iTunes store since
The National Geographic Channel's Washington, DC headquarters has increased security after being inundated with terror
threats over the upcoming release of the film Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden , according to a source.
The full-length feature film is the first dramatization of the U.S. special forces operation that killed the mastermind of the September 11 attacks in Pakistan last May.
According to a New York Post source, the channel has been bombarded with phone calls and blogs posts from Muslim extremist groups warning that anyone airing a film like this is asking for trouble.
A spokesperson for National Geographic told the Post that the channel will air the film no matter what, adding, we are big believers in the First Amendment.
Update: Political Religious Censorship and Propaganda
A documentary on the Navy Seal raid on Osama Bin Laden is going through extensive editing, and some critics claim that the edits, which now feature more of President Obama, are purely to bolster the Obama campaign before the general election on November
The documentary, entitled SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden is set to air on November 4th, just two days before the general election. The film rights are owned by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, an avid Obama supporter.
The edits to the film were made to strengthen the image of the role of Obama in the raid that ultimately led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to a New York Times report. Filmmaker John Stockwell defended the edits, saying that Weinstein wanted
revisions that gave the movie context and helped root it in reality.
National Geographic had already removed a scene from the film that implied that Mitt Romney opposed any attempt to capture or kill bin Laden.
The US games rating group, Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) has announced three new badges describing online
The three new symbols show whether a game shares games location, other information and whether gamers interact.
The official explanations are:
Shares Info - Indicates that personal information provided by the user (e.g., e-mail address, phone number, credit card info, etc.) is shared with third parties
Shares Location - Includes the ability to display the user's location to other users of the app
Users Interact - Indicates possible exposure to unfiltered/uncensored user-generated content, including user-to-user communications and media sharing via social media and networks
The ESRB has also added 'Unrated' statements:
Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB - Warns those who intend to play the game online about possible exposure to chat (text, audio, video) or other types of user-generated content (e.g., maps, skins) that have not been considered in the ESRB
Music Downloads Not Rated by the ESRB - Warns that songs downloaded as add-ons for music-based games have not been rated and that their content has not been considered in the ESRB rating assignment
US-funded programs to beat back online censorship are finding an increased demand in repressive countries. More than 1 million people a day use online tools to get past extensive blocking programs and government surveillance
Texas Chainsaw 3D is a 2013 USA horror mystery thriller by John Luessenhop.
With Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde and Scott Eastwood.
Director John Luessenhop spoke about the film's MPAA rating:
It initially had an NC-17 rating so we recut the movie and it got an R rating. There are certainly some gory elements but I also think there is quite some suspense in the movie. I think in America it's very easy to get an R rating for violence and blood
scenes. There are plenty of those but there are also moments where it is just scary with a suspense build up so I hope some of those scenes are going to stand out, not just the gory scenes.
Hating Breitbart, about the media reaction to the late conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart, was given an R for
strong language. Director Andrew Marcus submitted an cut version to the MPAA but again was denied a PG-13.
The release of a documentary has now been delayed one week because of the rift between the filmmakers and the MPAA.
The movie originally contained several uses of the word 'fuck', which was routinely hurled at Breitbart when he'd show up at liberal gatherings. Breitbart also uses the word a few times in the film.
Under current and long standing MPAA rules, if a film uses one of the harsher sexually derived words , such as 'fuck', more than a certain number of times, usually one, it receives an R rating.
Director Andrew Marcus and distributors Rocky Mountain Pictures, who were hoping for a PG-13 rating, cut 9 uses of the word but left in some that were deemed important to the integrity of the film.
So the MPAA, consistent with its rules used all other films, still rated the film R.
Marcus has been briefed about a rare previous exception to the MPPA Rule. He argued:
I first thought the MPAA was just doing its job and I can respect that, but then I started researching. I found that The Social Network received a PG-13 and it uses the F-word twice, plus it has cocaine use, and it's all scripted.
Update: Less 'fucks' is still a few 'fucks' too many
The producers of a documentary about deceased conservative rebel Andrew Breitbart have lost a battle with the MPAA to get their film rated PG-13, so it will open in limited release with an R rating because of a few uses of the word 'fuck'.
The movie, Hating Breitbart , was to open a week earlier, but writer-director Andrew Marcus was unpleased with the R rating it received because of several utterances of the F word. He delayed the opening for seven days, took out most of the
offending words -- leaving in the ones spoken by Breitbart -- and resubmitted the movie to the MPAA hoping for a PG-13 rating. The MPAA, though, didn't budge and Marcus refuses to cut further. So an R Rating it is.
Internet users in Kashmir were unable to access Facebook and YouTube after the Indian government had issued orders to ISPs to block access to the websites,
The move is believed to be in response to the protests against the anti-Islam video on YouTube but it now seems that access to the entire websites have been restricted , IBNLive reported.
In late September, reports indicated that the Jammu & Kashmir state government had told service providers to ensure that the controversial YouTube video was not accessible by users in the troubled state. Mass protests broke out in Kashmir in
September over the anti-Islam film posted on YouTube.
Responding to the blocking of YouTube and Facebook, Hameeda Nayeem, chairperson of the Kashmir Centre of Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), told Al Jazeera:
Surveillance of social media websites in Kashmir was not new. In 2010 (during the protests), Facebook was monitored and many boys were arrested because of their activities on Facebook.
There has always been surveillance ... the latest move is based on that blasphemous film, but it is just another excuse to monitor and block communication services. For instance, SMS services have often been turned off in the state.