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Special Event

Clinton Remarks on FTC Violence Report

Aired September 11, 2000 - 11:06 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Want to take our viewers now live to Scarsdale, New York.

President Clinton now reacting to the FTC study that came out a short time ago about violence in the media. This report commissioned by the president, pushed by him some time ago, as a result of the shootings and the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.

The president's reaction now at the Jewish Community Center in the state of New York.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... a long- time friend of Hillary's and mine and of all the children of America.

Thank you, Andy Spino (ph), for being here.

And thank you, our great friend, Nita Lowey. What a terrific representative in Congress she is and I hope you get a little help...

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you.

I want to thank Eileen Leeher (ph) and Ellen Lazarus (ph) and all the people here at the Jaycees who made us feel so welcome today.

I even got to walk downstairs and shake hands with some of the children and teachers and parents on what I understand is the first day of school, which makes this quite appropriate.

This happens to me often, and I'm sure it will more and more now that Hillary's in politics as a candidate. But very often I get to speak last, and everything that really needs to be said has already been said.

(LAUGHTER)

You know, it's sort of everything that needs to be said been's said. But what does it all mean, and how can we distill it and -- so let me just try.

First of all, this is, in some ways, the newest of issues, and in some ways, the oldest of issues. Plato said thousands of years ago, "Those who tell the story rule society."

Whenever a young person comes to me and is interested in politics, wanting to run for office, dreaming of public service, and they ask me for advice, I always tell me two things: One is, you've got to have some reason to run bigger than yourself. And the second is, you have to learn to listen, to hear the music of other people's lives, because everybody's got a story.

Now, that's really what this is about. All this -- we live in a culture, and a lot of the stories our children have, the stories of their lives, comes direct from the accumulated experiences and memories that they absorb from their parents, their grandparents, their extended family, the people of their faith, the people of their school, the people of their community.

And then there's all the stuff they get from a further reach. And more and more and more now, over the last 40 to 50 years with the advent of television and then the computers and the video games and music video and, frankly, the 24-hour news cycle and then the explosion of cable channels, you can get more and more and more of your story by indirection from third-party sources at all hours of the day and night from all kind of sources that parents have less and less direct control over.

So what this is really about is what will be the stories that shape these children and how will they relate to it. And what specifically does this FTC report mean?

It's already been mentioned that we've known now for 30 years through some 300 studies, I might add -- 300; this is not something that's subject to debate -- that regular, persistent exposure of children at young ages to indiscriminate violence tends to make them less sensitive to the real and human impact of violence in their own lives.

It changes their story.

That's what this is about. It shapes how they think about the implications and the impact of what they do and what other people do.

So we started working on this, I guess Hillary and I did -- well, she started working on it years ago -- but from -- I think the first time I went to Hollywood to talk to people about this was December of 1993, I believe. And then we began to work, about five years ago, with the entertainment community on a rating systems for television programs and on the V-chip. And this year will be the first year, I think, that all new televisions have to have the V-chip built-in; before you had to get a little box to go with it.

And meanwhile, we've been working the video game industry, and they -- about kind of a rating system and a little control over access to that. And we've done some more things I'll mention in a minute with movies.

But the whole idea was, in the fight to save public broadcasting, to try to encourage more children and educational programming on all networks, the fight to get the TV rating system and the V-chip and deal with the video games and the movies, the whole idea was to try to give parents more control over the stories of their children's lives at their earliest and most vulnerable point.

HEMMER: President Clinton speaking in Scarsdale, New York. It is actually a political event arranged for his wife, Hillary Clinton, running for the Senate in the state of New York. President Clinton now reacting to the FTC study that came out a short time ago about violence targeting teenagers in America.

It is not the first we have heard of this story, nor is it the last we will hear of this story. Later this week, a committee in the U.S. Senate will take up this very matter.

President Clinton again live from Scarsdale, New York, speaking there.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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