TV stays on Brownback's plate

Meeting set to examine media's effect on kids' health

He might be a presidential candidate, but that doesn't mean Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is giving up his TV-content campaign.

On Tuesday, the lawmaker announced the first meeting of a public-private task force examining whether TV makes American kids unhealthy.

"I am concerned about links between media, advertising and children's health, but I do not necessarily think that more government regulation is the answer," Brownback said. "I'm hopeful that this task force will forge a voluntary, public-private partnership to effectively address the pressing issue of media and child health."

Brownback, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, and FCC chairman Kevin Martin announced the formation of the Media and Childhood Obesity: Today and Tomorrow task force in September.

Representatives from a range of companies, industries and associations, including the American Diabetes Assn., McDonald's and the Walt Disney Co., have agreed to participate in the Feb. 14 meeting. Also planning to attend are FCC commissioners Deborah Tate and Michael Copps and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Brownback has had a longtime interest in the effect of television on American youth. He was one of the driving forces behind legislation that increased the Broadcast Decency Act, which would increase fines for indecent broadcasts from $32,500 to $325,000 per violation.