Hollywood Propaganda

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


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The entertainment trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter commissioned a poll of 1,000 registered voters to gauge the movie-going tendencies of Democrats and Republicans. The results will shock absolutely no one: conservatives are increasingly fed up with Hollywood. Why? “Typically, when you see a movie, it will reflect a Democrat’s values,” says pollster Jon Penn. “Republicans aren’t getting the films they want.” It’s that simple.

This comes as no surprise to the center-right “flyover audiences” between the coasts, who over the years have grown to resent Hollywood’s increasingly leftist vision fare to the degree that many have simply opted out. Weary of the din of movies and TV shows that don’t reflect their values – like director James Cameron’s Avatar, which pushed a radical environmentalist agenda and denigrated the U.S. military in the process, or Glee, which fellow FrontPage contributor Ben Shapiro calls “the most subversive show in the history of television” – many conservatives are reluctant to give Hollywood a single hard-earned dime.

The poll shows that Democrats are bigger moviegoers, and are also likelier to see a movie on opening weekend, while Republicans prefer to wait for the DVD release. Penn speculates that this is because Democrats tend to embrace pop culture more and want to be “in the know.”

The two parties also diverge in their choice of entertainment. Unsurprisingly, Republicans prefer family-friendly fare; from hundreds of Oscar winners and classics, they were far more likely to name as favorites films like The Sound of Music and It’s a Wonderful Life. Democrats favor edgier movies, choosing films like Bonnie and Clyde and The Silence of the Lambs. Among more recent films, Republicans tended to choose Secretariat. Democrats? Bad Teacher.

Majorities of both parties think movies contain too much sex, violence and profane language, but greater numbers of Republicans disapprove of them. A majority of Democrats think Hollywood films are generally inspiring and morally uplifting; a majority of Republicans beg to differ. While 62% of Democrats say Hollywood portrays America in a positive light, only 39% of Republicans concur. And 44% of Republicans think Hollywood portrays the U.S. military negatively; only 21% of Democrats agree.

Perhaps the poll’s most significant result for Hollywood to take to heart lies in the large numbers of moviegoers who hold the political views of actors against them. For Republicans, 52% report that they have avoided a movie because of its star’s political views, compared to 36% of Democrats. John Nolte, editor-in-chief of Andrew Breitbart’s conservative entertainment biz site, Big Hollywood, argues however that this is not just a matter of an actor’s politics:

What causes a liberal actor to lose conservative fans has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with class. An actor who simply goes on about the business of acting and supporting left-wing causes usually generates nothing more than indifference from right-of-center fans and can generate respect because of how they handle themselves, especially when compared to their obnoxious counterparts.

Identified in the poll as those prime examples of the “obnoxious counterparts” that Republicans steer clear of are Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda and Sean Penn.

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  • BS77

    I'd like to see an updated version of Animal Farm (ORWELL)…….

    • iagff

      you realize george orwell was a socialist, right?

      • trickyblain

        They don't. That's why it's funny.

      • UCSPanther

        Orwell was a socialist, but he was willing to criticize colonialism, fascism and communism all with equal vigor (With his two last works, Animal Farm and 1984).

        Something that a lot of modern socialists are unwilling to do, especially with communism.

  • MikeWood

    I've been a big fan of Morgan Freeman…until now.

  • oldtimer

    Maybe some one could print a list of all of these Hollywood activists(for want of a better word) so I won't send my hard-earned money to support them. Haven't watched Oprah for years…I have never seen or heard a racist remark from Tea Party..

  • voted against carter

    Since Mr.Freeman feels I am a Racist for opposing Obama's Marxist policys',..

    I do NOT feel the need to see ANY movies Mr Freeman has anything to do with.

    If that makes me a racist, so be it.

  • tagalog

    When Tapson says, "Majorities of both parties think movies contain too much sex, violence and profane language, but greater numbers of Republicans disapprove of them," it confuses me; if members of both parties find there's too much of those things, don't both disapprove? If not, some explaining is needed.

    Oh wait, I see; the percentage of disapproving Republicans is larger than the percentage of disapproving Democrats. Duh. Never mind.

  • StephenD

    As soon as you challenge the views of a Lefty you are challenged with "they have a right to express their opinion. This is a free country!" As if by challenging the validity of their remarks makes you into an oligarch. Why is it when they are weighed in the balance and found wanting they attempt to shift the paradigm?

    • tagalog

      They're entitled to express their opinions. No one is under any obligation to listen to those opinions.

      You can have the right to say something even if what you have to say isn't worth saying.

    • stern

      Because only lefties are entitled to free speech. Right wingers are allowed only to shut the F up and are shouted down whenever they try to express an opinion that may differ from the politically correct.

      • intrcptr2

        I expect it is a Freudian slip; since a Leftist believes it is only natural, and proper, to silence voices with which one disagrees, they simply presume that criticism of their ideas or positions is concomitant with a desire to ban such.
        They are incapable of living with the rhetorical censure that is part and parcel of the free marketplace of ideas.

  • Marty

    Some one observed that the best way to end racism is to stop talking about it. The current administration, however, continues to blabber about the need to stop rampant racism in this country. No administration in modern times has been this racist. But, after all, this is the political party that gave us slavery, treason, and the ku klux klan.

  • RDog1

    Because of the RADICAL fringe leftist agendas so very obvious in network TV shows, there are only a very FEW we ever watch anymore!! These STUPID "reality" shows included!! (They insult my intelligence!) Also, NONE of the network "comedies" are included in my short list of shows I do watch either. They're not even FUNNY!

    Also, if a motion picture features any of a long list of leftist "actors" and "actresses" (There's NO real TALENT in Hollywood anymore for the most part – or movies really!!); then, I don't watch them. Period!!

    rdog1

  • Asher

    I predict that Hollywood and the New York Times will fall…they have become very unpopular to people who want the truth!

  • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

    Say goodbye to Hollywood….
    -Billy Joel.

  • mrbean

    Hollywood and academics desperately clings to their crusade to make life fair by spreading the wealth around. Real genius of American exceptionalism lies in her promise of limitless opportunity, not some fraudulent guarantee of similar outcomes foolishly bent upon creating social justice. As disciples of social engineering they relentlessly micromanage our all-volunteer military with the misguided repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” dramatically undermining unit cohesiveness and morale. Leftist Hollywood elites vilify, demonize and besmirch the Boy Scouts while romanticizing the Crips and Bloods as victims of an unjust society. Pop culture’s orchestrated dumbing down the male of the species dupes young men into clown-like caricatures complete with backwards ball caps and pants hugging the ankles who can't even speak coherently. They are attempting to permanently damage the fabric of the American dream inspired by the Founders’ vision, sacrifice that will give birth to a nation of sheep and gutless omega males graphically on display in France, Greece and Belgium today.

    • http://www.nightmist.us/study/ Axe

      “omega males”

      And so a man may grow wiser every day.

  • Rachelle

    I have to say that I share the view of those who participated in the poll. I cannot bear to watch actors like Sean Penn and his leftist clones. I cannot sever my disgust for them as individuals sufficiently to find any role they play to be credible. Basically, I have given up on most movies and much of television.

  • myohmy

    This article only scratches the surface of our resentment towards Hollywood. It's not just that we will avoid films staring these known leftists, I avoid everything that comes out of Hollywood because it's not just the actors, it's everybody workking in that industry. The political correct screenplays, the PC scripts, the subtle visuals are always there. Hollywood deserves to die in America.

  • howdydoody

    So your conclusion is that Republicans like boring and non-challenging movies. What a surprise.

    • pxxat5

      No, unlike spoon fed leftists liberals, Republicans can think for themselves, and form their own opinions, reflective of their beliefs and values.

  • guest

    Yes, and in the 50s and 60s conservatives lamented racial integration on screen, in the 70s they lamented women in the work force on screen, blah blah. The fact is it is not leftism in film that is the problem (how i wish that were the case) but that film – even the garbage coming out of Hollywood – does not reflect the increasingly narrow minded world view of conservative audiences. The right is increasingly detaching from normal society, which thankfully is slowly moving forward, and circling the wagons. Lament for a mythic past all you want, it ain't coming back.

    • tagalog

      Isn't he cute?

    • Mariko Nightfire

      "Yes, and in the 50s and 60s conservatives lamented racial integration on screen, in the 70s they lamented women in the work force on screen, blah blah." Typical leftist smears. I bet you can't produce a single quote with attribution to back up these smears. Not a single one.

    • pxxat5

      That’s how Society works, it evolves and changes, to fit the social forces and parameters of the era it encompasses. An idea that is found wanting is abandoned, or supplanted with a better idea, shaped with newly acquired perspective or knowledge. Leftist liberals do not use facts, or proof to change society, they claim their ideas and beliefs are proof enough, and try to indoctrinate everyone to bow down to their new found Gods. They use force and revolution, unlike Conservatives who use reason and evolution, to make these important social adjustments.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    I am sure Morgan Freeman isn’t worried about losing your money. Nor should he be.

    • tagalog

      Morgan Freeman just gets his paycheck like any other worker. It's just that his paycheck is several hundred thousand times what the average worker gets paid.

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        He deserves every penny of it.

        • intrcptr2

          Racist!!!

        • intrcptr2

          Now pay me.

        • tagalog

          It's not a question of deserving it, is it? Isn't the issue usually framed along the line that a huge paycheck over and above some arbitrary multiple of the paycheck of the entry-level worker is JUST TOO MUCH?

          • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

            I don’t know. I’m not a socialist.

  • http://christianmeetsworld.com Jason

    Couldn't agree more with this article. I wish hollywood types would just shut up about what they believe as it really ruins the ability to get immersed in a film.

    Long ago I found I could no longer enjoy anything by George Clooney because he turned out to be such an outspoken leftist idiot. As I result I definitely avoid thing with him in it.

    The worst part is that when these morons open their mouth and spout off their leftist drivel, not only does it ruin future movies they are in that might otherwise be good, but it ruins all their old stuff as well. Oh well, can't be helped I guess. Flamin' idiots.

    Jason

  • howdydoody

    Wow… so you're all completely incapable of separating someone's art or work from their political beliefs. that's pretty narrow minded and unfortunate. Wagner was a raving anti-semite yet he composed some of the most beautiful and significant music of the 19th (and 20th Century). Einstein was a self-proclaimed socialist, yet his advances in science had an immense impact in our understanding of the universe and technology. Did these people hurt, murder or directly kill anybody? no. Did they share a few common values with some people who did, yes. Does that make them and their art guilty? No.

  • trickyblain

    It must be tough to have to research the politics of an enitre cast before making a seemingly innocent entertainment choice.

    Since I don't engage in this, could someone that doesanswer a question? If Morgan Freeman (or Sean Penn, or Clooney) co-stars in a new flick with Bruce Willis, is it ok to watch it?

    • tagalog

      I'll watch it. The fact that an artist is also a political moron doesn't have a lot to do with his art, most of the time. Read Intellectuals by Paul Johnson. There have been great minds whose lives were infinitely squalid. What makes Morgan Freeman distasteful is not his art, that's good; it's his political idiocy. When he's not being political, he's fine. The Stalinist Commie Will Geer was good as Grandpa Walton.

    • Maxie

      Sure! And it's OK for you to listen to Rush. Go for it.

  • maturin20

    Hollywood has shown, over and over, that all they care about is the bucks. There is no agenda, no message, nothing at all except money.

    • tagalog

      Respectfully disagree. The multiplicity of anti-Iraq War movies that have bombed (in a couple of cases, REALLY bombed) in recent years indicates that ideology carries some weight in Hollywood.

      The days of Samuel "If you want to send a message, call Western Union" Goldwyn are over.

      • maturin20

        What about the multiplicity of pro-war movies that have succeeded spectacularly?

    • Ghostwriter

      What pro-war movies? I haven't seen any.

      • maturin20

        You didn't see True Lies? That movie rocks.

  • Timwn

    I can stomach some of them. I usually separate their politics from their acting. I can understand the sentiment though. I used to be a big Woody Allen fan. Now the very sight of sleazy Woody turns my stomach. It's a visceral reaction like you say. I used to be fan of Charlie Sheen but he's rapidly reaching the tipping oint with me too.

  • Timwn

    What tore it for me with Woody was back when they renamed "French Fries" "Freedom Fries". Personally I thought it was pretty moronic even though I was PO'ed at the France myself. Then old Woody tried to defend them and had to shoot off his yap "I don't want to 'Freedom kiss' my wife when I want to 'French kiss' her." Or some such. Apparently the French were clueless enough to think this was helping. But the image of slimy old Woody swapping tongue with his former stepdaughter was etched so indelibly in my head that I just can't shake it. Just his name or the sight of his face evokes that image and makes my skin crawl. Yuck.