"The trouble with violent television is that it doesn't make you feel, it makes you cheer. It doesn't make you feel sad, or that death is bad or murder is horrible." So says Howard Stringer, president of the CBS Broadcast Group, on tonight's "Nick News Special Edition: Are You What You Watch?" (Nickelodeon, 8 p.m.)
Stringer fields questions about TV violence from host Linda Ellerbee and a group of fearless, articulate children in this half-hour special that proves the young have as few answers on the issue as their elders. Some say it's harmful, some say it just reflects the real world.
Stringer himself seems to have genuinely mixed feelings as he veers between concessions that a show such as "Rescue 911" may not be doing its job if kids only pick up on its violent content, and observing that "you can't protect everybody from reality."
Other experts, including children's activist Peggy Charren, are heard from. They disagree, too.
Ellerbee wraps things up, pointing out that television's aim is to bring an audience to advertisers and that violent programs are one sure way to do it. Speaking of which: Parents might want to be aware that this program illustrates its points with many scenes of intense violence taken from the news, movies, cartoons and episodic television.