The industry deserves an honorary Oscar for pretending its progressive content is fair and balanced.
When it comes to partisan politics, Hollywood can’t help but lie through its teeth.
Need proof? Here’s some examples.
Jimmy Kimmel recently teased his ABC “upfront” roast, aimed at announcing new broadcast content, in an unexpected fashion. He promised he wouldn’t roast President Donald Trump like he does on a nightly basis via “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Guess what happened next?
Netflix debuted a new talk show earlier this year featuring unknown comic Michelle Wolf. The company’s official press release vowed the show would “take a break from the seriousness of late night comedy. Instead of making the news fun, she’ll make fun of everything and everybody. There will be no preaching or political agenda…unless it’s funny.” (That’s a direct quote)
Guess what happened next?
Australian comic Jim Jefferies promoted his Comedy Central series last year by vowing to cut down on the Trump bashing
Guess what happened next? Oh, and he piled on First Lady Melania Trump, calling her “wooden” and worse on one episode.
Larry Wilmore described his forthcoming “Nightly Show” on Comedy Central as an aggressively centric take on politics.
Guess what happened next?
Finally, the producers of the most recent Oscars telecast predicted the ceremony would be much less political than in past years.
Some Hollywood lies are bigger than others. Netflix CEO chief content officer Ted Sarandos claims the massive deal it signed with Team Obama (an “8-figure” deal) will offer programming sans progressive bent.
“This is not The Obama Network,” Sarandos said recently. “There’s no political slant to the programming.”
The Obamas have virtually no Hollywood experience. They have plenty of political savvy, though, including eight years in the Oval Office and two terms weaponing Hollywood support for their pet causes.
Why would you hire them for such a massive sum if you didn’t seek to tap their true gifts? To make Netflix’s stance more comical, consider this:
The streaming giant just hired former Obama administration adviser Susan Rice for its board. Sarandos’ wife, Nicole Avant, worked as the U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas during President Obama’s first term. That’s besides the liberal content Netflix consistently churns out:
- “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” (David Letterman)
- “The 13th”
- “Bill Nye Saves the World”
- “Funny or Die Presents: Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie”
- And now, “The Break with Michelle Wolf.”
Guess what will happen with the Obama deal? Sometimes crystal balls aren’t required. Even that Magic 8 Ball is redundant.
Naturally, entertainment reporters dutifully passed these promises along with nary a raised eyebrow, let alone some appropriate eye rolling. Skepticism should be part of every reporter’s tool kit, but it magically disappears now and then.
Liberal media bias is a story for another day.
Need more Hollywood lies? Consider “Miss Sloane,” the late 2016 flop centered on a proposed gun control bill. Anyone with a functioning cortex could tell you which side of the gun debate the filmmakers were on.
Yet director John Madden laughingly spun his story a different way.
“It was never our intention that the film be a polemic on this issue,” Madden says of the movie’s gun control theme. “It’s the context of the story, but it’s not the subject of the story. We had no intention of coming in and pointing a long finger at the situation and saying, ‘Why can’t you guys get this right?’” The film is about a “broken political process,” he says, one that potentially became even more broken after the film was completed.
Another high-profile flop served up more Hollywood lies. If you Google “promised land anti fracking” you get roughly 784,000 results.
Yet the 2012 film’s stars, Matt Damon and John Krasinski, described the film to reporters as being anything but a message movie.
Despite the controversial subject, Damon and Krasinski were determined to not make a message movie. So to tamp down that perception, they kept a lid on talking about the movie’s central issue. “We didn’t want it to be a ‘fracking’s bad’ movie,” says Damon, who figured the best way to do that was to focus on the characters, residents of a small, unnamed town in the Midwest.
For now, let’s ask the most basic question: Why? Why lie about a program’s intentions? The answer is surprisingly straightforward, and it comes in two distinct parts.
First, Hollywood players know partisan content reduces the potential audience, sometimes by a significant factor. TV shows like “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” can thrive by catering to a hard-left crowd. Each episode doesn’t have to draw many millions of viewers. Just a handful will suffice in our splintered media age.
Still, instantly alienating a large part of the audience right out of the gate is a marketing no-no. Those aforementioned Oscar producers accessed data that showed awards viewers tune out when the show takes a political turn. So they acted, or more precisely lied, accordingly.
Amy Schumer recently admitted her hard-left politics reduced her box office appeal. Then she proved it in real time when her film “I Feel Pretty” couldn’t match the box office grosses of her first big film, “Trainwreck.”
Secondly, there’s a good reason why Hollywood cranks out progressive content. The industry wants to keep certain narratives afloat.
- Trump is a racist
- Trump voters are racist
- Gun control is overwhelmingly popular
- Enforcing immigration laws is racist
To do that, they create stories that align with those talking points. They hope to affirm those views with some while simultaneously winning converts, too. That’s much easier to do if you pretend the material in question doesn’t have an agenda.
Here’s an easy example.
It’s a snap to dismiss a Michael Moore documentary given the socialist director’s overt bias. He’s not even trying to be fair to both sides. Audiences know that going in. No one can spin it any other way.
A documentary with no unabashedly liberal folks behind the camera? That’s far more difficult to ignore.
That’s why Netflix is doing a tango about Obama-related projects. It won’t be the first, or last, time Hollywood pulls an ideological bait and switch.