Gore's timing was not coincidental: On Monday, the same day the vice president released his statement directing the entertainment industry to voluntarily end advertising to children, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report slamming Hollywood for marketing adult content (in other words, sex and violence) to kids. According to the study, which the White House commissioned in the wake of the Columbine shootings, 80 percent of R-rated movies are targeted at children under 17, and two thirds of the marketing plans for R-rated movies specified targeting those minors. More than two out of three M-rated ("mature") video games are aimed at kids as well generally through teen-specific magazines, television shows and movie trailers.
Helpful as the FTC numbers may have proved to be in making up his mind to go after Tinseltown, the vice president's team didn't really need them. Myriad polls show that parents, especially mothers (read: women voters) are distressed by the level of violence in movies, television shows and video games ostensibly meant for adults but increasingly viewed by children. And there's no better way for Gore to address these concerns and earn a quick moral one-up on his opponent than to issue a kid-glove warning to the industry: "OK, guys, I need you to shape up and stop marketing these adult products to kids. I'm really serious here oooh, thanks for the check, Mr. Redstone and I hate to say this, but if you all don't clean up your act in six months, I'll... I'll... OK, I'm not really sure what I'll do. But I'm going to have to think of something."
Chances are, of course, six months into a Gore presidency the same Hollywood producers and actors who spent so much time schmoozing President Clinton will be settling back under the covers in the Lincoln bedroom. Realistically, the Democratic party is far too entangled ideologically and financially in the entertainment industry to extricate itself now.