ROSEN TALKS TO CONGRESS AGAIN, SIMMONS CRASHES HEARING

'Cuz The Music Biz Knows How To Represent
Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons bum rushed Joseph Lieberman’s Senate Governmental Affairs Committee entertainment industry hearing on Wednesday, telling the committee that it was off-base in its attempts to censor music and blame society's problems on music lyrics.

Lieberman brought everyone to the Hill to talk about the ratings systems used for music, films and video games and whether a universal system covering all media would be easier for parents. And who could argue with making parents’ lives easier? Not that improving the economy would make parents’ lives easier—this is the issue that your tax dollars are being spent on.

As you may have heard, the entertainment industry has been taking heat from politicos following a Federal Trade Commission report denouncing media marketing practices, which the FTC says includes targeting sexually explicit and violent content to the kiddies.

Simmons joined RIAA Chief Hilary Rosen, who talked up the Parental Advisory Program. She gave the lowdown on the new campaign to educate parents about advisory labels, including plans to have telemarketers call during dinner. The campaign also includes public service announcements starring Quincy Jones and working with the National Association of Recording Merchandisers to update retail displays regarding the stickers.

But Hilary fought to keep separate ratings systems separate: "Ratings must reflect the nature of the medium being rated," she said. "I mean, we just spent all this dough on our new campaign."

Simmons was not scheduled to appear. Lieberman earlier turned down his request to speak, saying the witness list was full. But after sitting through a full four hours of testimony from industry execs and William Baldwin, Simmons stood up and asked to speak.

When stepped to, Lieberman backed down, letting Simmons drop some science: "Some of the songs you may find offensive, protest songs and other songs, are actually a reflection of the reality that needs to be expressed. The real issue is how do we address these issues."

Bringing up N.W.A.’s "Fuck tha Police," though he didn’t say the F-word, Simmons said, "What you find offensive in lyrics today, will probably be taught as poetry in UCLA one day," Simmons said. "The disconnect between politics and young people and responsibility is clear in ‘Fuck tha Police.’"

Word up.

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