There’s a reason Hollywood players promote their projects on social media.
Show business is brutal. The competition for our eyeballs has never been tougher. That’s especially true in our golden age of streaming TV. Artists wisely use every advantage at their disposal.
Who could blame them?
So the mind behind one of the year’s most talk-about projects must have been thrilled to hear a radio giant and podcaster sing his show’s praises?
Rush Limbaugh cheered the HBO series “Chernobyl” on air last week.
The syndicated talker said “Chernobyl” reveals how pop culture is finally capturing the ’80s as it actually happened.
I remember, folks, in the eighties during the Reagan years and the seventies, too, but the eighties is when I began talk radio, trying to convince people — the Soviet Union was every bit as much revered and lionized as Venezuela is by the Hollywood left today or Che Guevara, Cuba, the allure, the attachment to socialism, to communism back then was every bit the dream-like thing that it is today….
There’s also another thing about this that has to be said that is accurate in this portrayal, and that is the Soviet people, I mean the real prisoners in that country. They were lied to. They were sent to their deaths, at first. Eventually they had to be told the truth.
Limbaugh wasn’t the only conservative who noticed the stealth assault on Communism. Podcaster Dan Bongino raved about the series, too. The former NRA TV host hailed “Chernobyl’s” quality and accuracy on his widely downloaded podcast.
Alas, Bongino also took horror legend Stephen King to task over the author’s spin on the series. King, suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, fired off this Tweet:
It’s impossible to watch HBO’s CHERNOBYL without thinking of Donald Trump; like those in charge of the doomed Russian reactor, he’s a man of mediocre intelligence in charge of great power--economic, global--that he does not understand.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 30, 2019
Bongino refocused the argument in one Tweet:
Why do Hollywood elitists continue to publicly humiliate themselves on twitter? Chernobyl was a failure of socialism (where the govt controls the means of production), the exact opposite of the Trump deregulation and tax cut agenda. https://t.co/F1vXtlaVF1
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) May 30, 2019
That proved too much for Craig Mazin, the series’ writer/producer.
Chernobyl was a failure of humans whose loyalty to (or fear of) a broken governing party overruled their sense of decency and rationality.
You’re the old man with the cane. You just worship a different man’s portrait. https://t.co/WSDeOyzMkB
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) May 31, 2019
Bongino returned fire on his podcast Monday. The former Secret Service agent shredded the notion that “Chernobyl” had little to do with centralized government and its inevitable failings.
Accidents can happen under any government structure, he said. It’s the response that matters.
Bongino rattled off facts and figures from comparable nuclear accidents — the Chernobyl crisis and a similar disaster in Fukushima, Japan -- both level 7 events, he noted. Why did far more people die following the Chernobyl disaster?
“One government was socialist, one government was run on free-market principles,” Bongino said. “The response in the former Soviet Union was denial and secrecy … the government took days to evacuate because they tried to hide it at first,” he continued. “They were more afraid of the international P.R. damage to their Soviet brand than they were about saving their own people.”
Mazin didn’t just try to fight back against Bongino, though. He tried to make his show a swipe against President Donald Trump.
Soviet behavior didn’t arrive in Moscow via meteor. It was human behavior. The potential is within us all.
Today, I wonder… who ignores scientists? Who wraps themselves in red? Who celebrates liars? Who indulges in mindless propaganda? Who shouts “enemy of the people!”? https://t.co/1CHOgW2eN7
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) May 29, 2019
That’s a familiar refrain from someone embedded in the Hollywood ecosystem. But, if you’re an artist who just poured everything into a massive, well researched project like “Chernobyl,” wouldn’t you want as many people to see it as possible?
Not Mazin, apparently.
The HBO talent even took on Chuck Woolery, the former game show host and ardent conservative. Woolery also saw the project as a slap against the Soviet Union, something history bore out.
Again, Mazin let loose on Woolery and his half a million Twitter followers.
It is definitely tragic when leaders pathologically lie over and over and over. It’s even more tragic watching people believe those lies. And then there are the special cases, like Chuck, who are happy to call others chumps without realizing they’re the biggest chumps of all. https://t.co/ldW5TxHf5q
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) May 29, 2019
Mazin would rather score cheap shots at Trump and his supporters than see his critically hailed series snare a larger audience.
That’s show biz, 2019 style.