Did you know Rotten Tomatoes is both biased and broken?
This reader sure didn’t. In fact, HiT reviews regularly appear on the aggregator site, a destination which earns north of 10 million views each month according to one estimate. More importantly, Rotten Tomatoes helps audiences choose the best movies that suit their theatrical needs.
Columbia Journalism Review begs to differ.
The site published a new article attacking Rotten Tomatoes’s current iteration. It does far more than that, though. It suggests female critics should be reviewing female-led movies, people of color need to weigh in on films about people of color, and so on.
The author goes all in on identity politics. Is that what a site dedicated to journalism, not social justice, should be doing?
Though Rotten Tomatoes is often thought of as neutral, its critics, like film critics at large, skew mostly white and male. Only 34 percent of all critics featured on Rotten Tomatoes are women, according to a recent study by Martha M. Lauzen, executive director at the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.
We’re also told the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot earned a 10 percent higher score among female critics than white male critics.
Stop the presses!
The story then praises a new review aggregator featuring “female-identifying and nonbinary critics.”
That’s fine. More voices, not less, as the late Andrew Breitbart would say.
The story’s angle isn’t as expansive as the late media mogul’s message, though. It’s clearly laying the groundwork for future Rotten Tomatoes broadsides. The site previously buckled to the social media mob following early, withering buzz on the MCU’s uber-woke “Captain Marvel.”
The article does mention how Rotten Tomatoes invited a crush of new reviewers into its exclusive club. Alas, that meant the number of top-tier female critics actually went down slightly.
Naturally, the article doesn’t feature a syllable, let alone an entire sentence, about the other issue in play.
Film critics are overwhelmingly liberal. It’s been that way for decades, and the divide has never been more pronounced. It’s why many Christian films are immediately blasted as propaganda while Michael Moore movies receive endless love.
As the wage gap increases and late capitalism takes its course, the rich better get used to being victimized on screen; Trump can’t get all of these movies cancelled. — Indiewire.com
Bias impacts movie reviews. It’s an undeniable fact. And it matters far more than any other factor when it comes to modern movie reviews.
It’s not even close.
An Entertainment Weekly critic once slapped an “F” on the 2018 film “Kin” because it featured a teen character wielding a gun.
The CJR author still can’t bring ideology, which directly impacts film review results, into the equation. A quick glimpse at his Twitter feed suggests why. He’s as liberal as most journalists today. Here’s one nasty item he retweeted:
Ah, yes, the “both sides” argument. I did Nazi that coming. https://t.co/yTkOy8dGms
— Mark Perigard (@MarkPerigard) June 18, 2019
He lets his partisan flag fly here:
This just in: Elizabeth Warren was a working woman, dared to demand compensation for her toil. https://t.co/58JtsvHD0S
— Mark Perigard (@MarkPerigard) May 23, 2019
It’s one the best arguments on social media’s behalf:
Now, you could dig up dozens (and dozens) of conservative messages from this reporter’s social media accounts. Easy peasy. Here’s the difference. I’m an openly conservative writer producing content for a right-of-center site.
The CJR contributor just penned a hard-left piece for a presumably neutral site. What’s worse? He ignored a critical part of the story – how ideology impacts film criticism.
The CJR article inelegantly backpedals at the end.
“It’s not that moviegoers should read reviews primarily written by members of the same sex,” [Lauzen] says. “The critical sphere should reflect the points of view of the moviegoing population so that we can have a robust discussion about the cultural products in our world. Otherwise, the deck is stacked in favor of the dominant critical voice.”
The deck is currently stacked against conservative film voices even though the nation is split down the middle, ideologically speaking. That’s the current market place, one that opens up opportunities for sites like this to thrive.
CJR couldn’t give that hard truth a fair hearing … because it didn’t fit the preferred progressive narrative. Seems like a topic worth exploring, eh CJR?