Lawmakers focus on media effects

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WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers are turning their attention to the way the media portrays people as a critical subcommittee has scheduled a hearing that includes some of the entertainment industry's top execs.

Among those scheduled to testify: Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, Warner Music chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman and Universal Music chairman and CEO Doug Morris; Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins and Strauss Zelnick, a partner in Zelnickmedia and chairman of Take-Two Interactive, also will appear. Rapper Master P is expected to testify.

The execs are scheduled to testify Tuesday at the "From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images" hearing before the House Commerce Committee's subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. Despite the hearing's title, neither Imus nor executives from CBS, NBC or MSNBC was scheduled to testify.

Imus was sacked from CBS Radio and MSNBC after he made degrading comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team.

The committee is chaired by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who has made a name for himself as an aggressive investigator on consumer product issues, holding, for example, hearings on lead-tainted toys.

One entertainment industry source said that Rush wasn't interested in pushing legislation but wants to explore the effect of media on society.

"He's not looking to legislation, but he wants to examine seriously a complex, difficult problem," the source said.
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