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Romney and the Media

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I was flipping through channels in my hotel room today when I came across Mitt Romney answering questions, town hall style, on C-SPAN. I like Romney; I think he did a decent job governing here in MA, even if he did a horrible job picking a Lt. Governor, Kerry Healey, who was clearly chosen to get votes from women and ran a terrible campaign, both votes wise and morally, in her run for governor against Deval Patrick.

The questions he answered today were all pretty standard, and normally would not be worth mentioning, but one stuck out in my mind. When asked about violence in the media, he basically said all media should be wholesome family entertainment with no violence, sex, etc… and sort of indirectly blamed those things for the Virginia Tech shootings, Columbine, and other seemingly random acts of violence in recent memory.

This worried me, because I knew that he was basing his views not on the numerous studies on whether violence in media can lead to violence in people — which it doesn't, except in the very short-term — but rather on his highly religious moral compass. Now don't get me wrong. I don't feel that religion is wrong or bad, and I think that people who don't want to vote for him simply because he is Mormon are bigots and stupid, but it still worries me.

History has a tendency to repeat itself, and attitudes like that make me think about book burnings in the Middle Ages, when media was deemed "dangerous" as well. Hell, some of the rest of the world STILL does things like that, and there but for the grace of God, go we. I know free speech is really free speech with responsibility, and probably nothing will come of this in terms of legislation banning video games or anything of that nature, but it does leave me with the nagging feeling that he is a bit behind the times in that respect.

Then again, nobody's perfect.

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  • Paotie

    I’ll take Romney any day over Bill Richardson, who keeps sounding like an idiot half-forgetting what his staff told him not to say. Richardson has spent too much time in North Korea, and ruled New Mexico much like a dictator.

    The man once had his security detail drive through Albuquerque at speeds in excess of 100 MPH. Caused a local controversy when the State Police (Richardson’s security detail) became involved in a near civil war with the Albuquerque Police Department as an APD helicopter chased the entourage.

    “A security concern,” said a Richardson spokesperson. Right. There’s so many terrorists in New Mexico.

    I don’t know. It’s still too early to say who I’d vote for – but never Richardson, even though he’s from my home state. Romney is interesting – Mormon or not – but I’m not fond of voting simply for religious purposes.

    Good article, JP.

  • Well, I’m a general Republican supporter ATM, though I’m a registered Ind., so if there were an awesome Dem candidate I wouldn’t automatically count them out.

    Richardson has no chance as far as I can tell, and , though I don’t think it’s right, I think Romney will lose votes because he’s Mormon. Personally I’m leaning towards Fred Thompson at the moment.

  • REMF

    Obama in ’08, RePo.
    – MCH

  • It could be worse. He could be a scientologist.


  • I sincerely doubt that you have anything to worry about. Do you really think that the Congress would go along with anything severely curtailing violence or porn?

  • Jon H.

    I’m LDS and I think I’ll try and guess where Mitt might be coming from.It’s an LDS perspective.

    More specifically, my memory is a bit vague as far as time, but a few years ago in an LDS publication… there was a link identified by FBI between pornography and mass murderers. FBI ALWAYS found porn in the homes of these multiple murderers. A FBI psychologist expert indicated that porn caused an eroding of self respect (or had some role) that affected the murderer and loss of respect for all human life altogether–a major breakdown of value in human life. Seems it was a process little by little. It was a sobering piece, gripping. It was likely part of a talk about loosing family,job etc through porn addiction etc. There are others studies on violence too.

    Mitt is said by those close to him about being very caring about people and human life. As a former LDS Bishop and Stake president he would know of some pretty sad stories. He himself would give talks and do research for his talks. And we know he is a thorough researcher.

    Finally, banning things, book burning isn’t the LDS way in our type of society, we prefer voting. LDS believe in “free agency” (free will). LDS believe practicing personal avoidance and developing a person from the inside out rather than outside in.

    Way too wordy but don’t have time to refine–sorry.

  • Arch Conservative

    I’ve been saying for quite some time nowthat Romney is going to be our next president and it has nothing to do with him “looking presidential.”

    It has to do with two undeniable facts.

    1. Mitt Romney has been very successful both in the private and public sectors. His financial and executie skills are second to none among the current crop of candidates. The more the American people get to know Romney and see how intelligient, knowledgable and capable he is the more they will liek him. He is the GOP’s antidote to W. if you will.

    2. The Dems are intent on nominating Hillary. She is unelectable end of story.

  • bliffle

    IMO religion-deluded politicians are always dangerous. Their decisions aren’t affected by real world truths because they have placed their trust in spooks, voices in their heads, dusty old books of uncertain provenance and charismatic spell-binding orators.

    Just look at the messes our current spook-ridden leadership has gotten us into.

  • Yes, I am a bit worried that congress would try something like that, look at what happened with music explicit content stickers and ESRB ratings.

    Oh, and about finding porn on serial killers’ computers, that seems a bit silly, they’d probably find porn on the pope’s computer.

  • As a libertarian, I’m certainly sympathetic to the author’s misgivings when a politician starts talking about tv shows or records as a cause of violence. But on the other hand, there’s certainly at least some partway legitimate point to that. You’re kidding yourself if you insist that raising a child on a steady diet of anti-social gangster rap, metal music and slasher movies doesn’t have some negative effects.

    Denying reality that doesn’t fit well with your pre-ordained political ideology isn’t going to work. It seems reasonable and appropriate that people address these issues. But for a lot of reasons, starting with First Amendment values, it’s important to address these issues through persuasion rather than presuming to legislate what kind of movies and CDs you can buy.

    So then, it’s a really critical distinction to differentiate between naming such issues and emphasizing them particularly to parents, which is pro-social vs trying to command them under force of law to follow your taste as an art critic. Hey, do you really want your 4 year old watching THAT? We could use a LOT more of that in some quarters.

    As to Mitt Romney, I don’t really see a problem. He’s probably going to be pretty strongly on the right track with that kind of issue. He’s a good religious guy who’s going to lead by example in such things. But also, he seems like a pretty tolerant fellow. Indeed, the main point of resistance against Romney in the primaries seems to be basically suspicions that he’s too much of a social liberal in his heart.

    I can give you a list of reasons for being skeptical of Romney, but the fear of him leading book burnings wouldn’t be on it.

  • Paotie

    Al Barger –

    I am going to steal your line, “Denying reality that doesn’t fit well with your pre-ordained political ideology isn’t going to work.”

    That applies to so many different aspects of life in general. Thanks for a great line and perspective.

  • moonraven

    I remember that some of the porn/mass murderer connection had to do with Ted Bundy. Bundy actually blamed his becoming a serial killer on his addiction to porn from an early age.

    I don’t know how much credibility one should give to someone like Bundy, but it is well-known that porn is always used in counterinsurgency campaigns in Latin America. Both regular army soldiers as well as paramilitaries are shown porn and then sent out to kill folks in the local communities.

    Apparently that bit of training comes directly from the US School of the Americas.

  • zingzing

    “FBI ALWAYS found porn in the homes of these multiple murderers.”

    heh. show me a well-adjusted male who doesn’t have a little porn lying about.

    “Both regular army soldiers as well as paramilitaries are shown porn and then sent out to kill folks in the local communities.”

    it doesn’t ever make me want to kill. have a smoke maybe. depends really. mmm. sundays. day of rest and masturbation.

    “A FBI psychologist expert indicated that porn caused an eroding of self respect (or had some role) that affected the murderer and loss of respect for all human life altogether–a major breakdown of value in human life. Seems it was a process little by little. It was a sobering piece, gripping.”

    remember that most serial killers are sexually deranged… so having a shitload of porn around wouldn’t be all that surprising. i don’t think porn is particularily to blame…

  • the whole “we always find porn” argument is pure bullshit

    i can state that ALL killers in human history breathe air on a regular basis (when they were alive, that is)

    should we ban breathing now?

    on serial killers