By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher, and David Outten, Production Editor
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says that she stands by an intelligence report warning about the danger of “rightwing extremists” motivating people to violence.
Where is the Homeland Security Report on the threat posed by some filmmakers? Again and again, news reports have shown that mass murderers were inspired by violent movies.
To single out so-called “rightwing extremists” while ignoring the impact of the mass media of entertainment smacks of using Homeland Security to monitor the activity of anyone opposing the current administration and its policies.
The report says, “Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms.”
Besides the fact that “many leftwing extremists” were more than antagonistic to the previous administration and the media commended them for their exercise of their right to free speech, if Napolitano wanted to target a MUCH greater danger, she should look at what’s on our movie screens.
Some Hollywood and independent filmmakers engage in an ongoing contest to see who can graphically display the most horrid acts of violence. This poses a far greater threat to the security of YOUR local high school or McDonald’s Restaurant than people politically opposed to our current president - Republican or Democrat.
The report expresses concern that “the election of the first African American president” may inspire radicals. It says, “In two instances in the run-up to the election, extremists appeared to be in the early planning stages of some threatening activity targeting the Democratic nominee, but law enforcement interceded.”
The most conservative recent President, Ronald Reagan, was actually shot by John Hinkley, a disturbed young man who patterned his behavior on the movie TAXI DRIVER.
The list of killings motivated by people mimicking movies continues to grow, but it is not be the place of government to make and edit movies, and Homeland Security forces cannot monitor all moviegoers.
The mass media of entertainment needs to have its conscience restored. That is the real answer to this threat.
Before the Motion Picture Association began rating movies G, PG and R, there existed a voluntary Motion Picture Code. No major studio would release a movie without the Motion Picture Code seal of approval. This voluntary cooperation with moral standards meant that scriptwriters knew better than to include material that would keep their movie from being distributed.
Without this moral conscience, studios and scriptwriters compete to provide more and more horrible material.
Our current economic crisis is the result of toxic home loans being written, promoted, sold, resold, and then packaged into investments passed off as Triple A investments. Anywhere in this process, someone could have said. “No, this is wicked. The long term price of making a quick buck on this will kill us.”
Likewise, some of the key players in the mass media of entertainment, especially those who run the MPAA, need to say to themselves, “No, this is wicked. The long term price of making a quick buck on this will kill us.”
What good is the profit from some violent movie if your child is gunned down in the school? Oh, but the chances of some producer’s, writer’s or executive’s child being killed are next to nil. Chances are the next killing will occur a thousand miles away. You in the mass media of entertainment can make money while someone else’s child is killed!
When I was young, we lived without locking our doors. Now producers, writers and directors have deadbolts, security systems and live in gated communities.
Do they really want to keep going the same direction? Do they really like bars on their windows? Sirens blaring all night? The sound of gunshots out their window. . . instead of on their Big Screen TVs?
The Good News is that MOVIEGUIDE® has shown for two decades, in meticulous detail, that clean family movies with uplifting Christian and biblical values and no graphic violence make much more money on average than movies with excessive violence and other offensive material. By showing these figures to the key players in Entertainment Industry, we have encouraged many people in the mass media of entertainment to make more of these family-friendly movies.
Even so, we could do a whole lot better if many more people supported our efforts to clean up the material that the Entertainment Industry puts on our theater screens, televisions and video monitors.
Will you help us?