Spectator: The Great TV Violence Hype

The networks' new parental advisories are almost pathetically beside the point

When five different Senators and Representatives independently attach themselves to the same second-string issue, one tends to assume the issue is a phony, a subject about which it is very easy to posture while spending nothing and upsetting no one. When the issue is television violence, which has been the subject of a dozen high-profile, low-impact congressional hearings since 1952, the Capitol Hill moralizing seems almost retro.

But the spectacle, a classic Washington combination of cynicism and naivete, seems different this time. For one thing, the lead hectors are not Helmsian right-wingers but liberal Democrats, Senator Paul Simon and Representative Edward...