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March 25, 2005
Ah, Those Darned "Perceptions"! (Updated!)

The new president of the MPAA met with Christian Toto of the Washington Times to discuss the challenges of replacing the only other man to hold that position, Jack Valenti, in the changed political climate in which Hollywood finds itself. Dan Glickman, former Agriculture Secretary under Bill Clinton, acknowledged that working with two Republican-controlled branches of government would present some difficulties, but it seems the first hurdle for Glickman might be reality instead:

The president of the Motion Picture Association of America says Hollywood must build a bridge to the Republican-controlled Congress in order to deflate perceptions of a liberal bias. ...

"There's no question in the general world there's the perception that the entertainment community is to the left of the country as a whole," Mr. Glickman told editors and reporters at The Washington Times yesterday. "I've got to build bridges with the people who run the show."

The former congressman dismissed the notion that the movie industry acts as one entity, but admitted that's precisely how the public reacts whenever a handful of liberal actors back Democratic candidates.

No sir, that is how the public reacts when it is given a steady diet of films and television entertainment which relentless portrays Republicans as Snidely Whiplash characters and Democrats as the heroes. Watch such highly-regarded fare as West Wing, The American President, and The Contender -- all well-financed and A-list productions -- and tell me that Glickman can't see a trend. Michael Douglas provides the stirring climax at the end of TAP by loudly proclaiming every leftist talking point known to mankind in response to Richard Dreyfuss' one-dimensional portrait of a comic-book Republican attack dog. Gary Oldman -- who later complained that his attempts to moderate his portrayal were edited out of The Contender -- gets to play a creepy, loutish, and hyopcritical GOP leader while Joan Allen portrays a martyred VP nominee and Jeff Bridges plays a courageous, cigar-chomping Democratic president in one of the most politically biased A-list dramas I've ever seen. And those are just the political dramas. Let's not forget last year's The Day After Tomorrow, with its ridiculous disaster-flick treatment of global warming, complete with its own eeeeeevil Dick Cheney clone.

And Glickman ignores completely where the power brokers in Hollywood put their money. We're not talking about a "handful of liberal actors" supporting Democratic candidates. People like Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and others who have the money and power to get films made put big money into Democratic coffers while Hollywood Republicans have to hide in the shadows to get work. Michael Moore strings together a series of lies and dishonestly edited clips to make his paean to Leni Riefenstahl, Fahrenheit 9/11, and the Hollywood community hails him as a hero, while conservative Mel Gibson makes an apolitical movie about Jesus Christ -- and gets figuratively crucified for it.

Mr. Glickman may also want to review the last few Aacademy Awards presentations to understand the "perception" of liberal bias in Hollywood. Listen to Chris Rock talk about the Gap declaring war on the Banana Republic for two full minutes at the start of this year's show. Also listen to the huge reception he gets for Bush-bashing, and the almost dead silence given to his feeble and brief attempt at balancing the humor with a shot at John Kerry.

Glickman worries about perceptions. He should instead challenge his community to see their biases for what they are, and for how their audience sees straight through it. He gets one cheer for speaking to the more conservative Washington Times, but loses two for trying to spread the propaganda instead of addressing the truth.

UPDATE: Perhaps Dan Glickman can start addressing the "perception" of Hollywood bias by checking out the way money gets spent in Tinseltown for political purposes. Political donations split between the two parties between 2-1 and 3-1 for Democrats the last eight election cycles, with 2004 exactly hitting the average, 69%-31%. In 2002, Hollywood split 78%-22% for Democrats. Over the last 15 years, Hollywood has raised almost $120 million for Democrats, compared to $53 million for Republicans.

The only surprise is how much money actually went to the GOP, as far as I see.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 25, 2005 12:30 PM

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