Record Biz Pow-Wow With Senator Canceled

Industry pulled out after Bennett was invited.

The Recording Industry Association of America abruptly

pulled out of a highly publicized meeting that was to have taken place Friday

(February 21) with Connecticut Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman after it was

announced that music censorship proponents Empower America chief and former

Education Secretary William Bennett and National Political Congress of Black

Women member C. DeLores Tucker had been invited to attend.

Senior

executives of the "Big Six" record companies (PolyGram NV, Bertelsmann Music

Group, EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and Warner) were set to

meet with Lieberman, but canceled, explaining that the presence of

Bennett and Tucker changed the focus of the meeting.

In a letter sent to Lieberman yesterday, RIAA

president Hilary Rosen wrote: "...We were looking forward to a constructive

dialogue on this sensitive issue [music lyrics]. Unfortunately, with the

addition of William Bennett and C. DeLores Tucker, the meeting has taken a path

different from its original purpose.

"We stand ready to meet with you or

any elected official to discuss our business and the music we distribute.

However, Mr. Bennett and Ms. Tucker are not elected representatives. As

citizens, they are entitled to their opinion and indeed have already had their

day. They have berated our companies repeatedly in the press, they have

aggressively sought public forums to denigrate the personal motives of our

artists and executives, and most recently, they have gone to state legislatures

to blackball company stock investments..."