Variety's Maureen Ryan struck a nerve with her recent column on TV diversity in the Age of Trump.
No, the op-ed’s portrayal of “racist” Trump voters wasn’t original. It’s the same blather we’ve been hearing across the media landscape since Nov. 8. Trump voters are racist, sexist, homophobic … you know the drill.
“They want to go backward, to a time when TV excluded and ignored creators, actors, and artists who weren’t white, straight, and middle-class.”
And, as many have rightly argued, it’s one reason a reality show star will become Commander in Chief come January. The public has had enough of these lectures. They flexed their disgust at the voting booth.
Ryan’s diversity push argument, on one level, is wholly accurate.
“As a nation, we work out social, cultural and political issues via TV, a medium that can get into our hearts and minds in ways that other forms of entertainment can’t.”
Vice President Joe Biden echoed those thoughts a few years ago when he praised NBC’s “Will & Grace” for making Americans more comfortable with their gay neighbors.
It’s why television producers must change their approach when it comes to Trump voters. Or, to be more accurate, roughly half the American population. Their ratings are depending on it, as is the industry’s reputation as a whole.
There’s more at stake than just ratings, though.
Reading Ryan’s diatribe against both Trump and his devotees is a stark lesson in entertainment media bias.
You don’t need me to tell you that Trump’s election is partly a reaction to the long-overdue progress of men and women of color in America. It’s frightening that small improvements in a limited number of areas are so hated and feared, and that justifiable demands for dignity and respect have produced such a terrifying backlash. Even modest signs of progress have been greeted with ferocious pushback.
She’s not alone, of course, with this assault on Red State America. This reporter follows a gaggle of entertainment scribes who write for mainstream publications like The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly and Variety.
They’re overwhelmingly left of center. It shows in their reportage – and disdain for conservatives. Consider how Deadline.com framed Republican Gov. John Kasich’s reaction to this week’s terror attack at Ohio State University:
Among those taking the microphone during the afternoon update was former GOP White House hopeful/Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who contributed no information but came armed with inspirational soundbites. Among them: “Think what this tragedy could have meant. A man with a butcher knife and who knows what else.” He also noted of the officer’s quick response at the scene, “it was remarkable what these first responders did” and called that, as well as the university’s system for alerting students to the danger, a “lesson for campuses all across America what you do when these things happen” adding that these “exercises are not to be taken lightly,” noting pointedly of OSU “this is where I wandered as an 18-year-old.”
The sarcasm drips from every sentence. Would this reporter react the same way had President Obama offered similar messages? It’s just a microscopic example of the bias that permeates today’s Hollywood news.
Even the article’s headline smacks of bias: “TV News Jumps On Ohio State Attack Suspect’s Identity, Refugee Status” – Isn’t information on the suspect pertinent? If he had been a Christian NRA member would Deadline.com be shocked at the inclusion of that material?
The flood of similar stories impacts heart and minds just like “Will & Grace” left a mark on our culture. What about how broadcast TV shows routinely trash conservatives and their principles? Newsbusters.org, a site this reporter contributes to, routinely calls out shows for this practice.
Here’s but one example, courtesy of “Hawaii Five-0”
Think about the recent rants from Michael Shannon, Amy Schumer and Kristin Davis. Each blew a proverbial a gasket over Trump’s victory.
Schumer compared Trump voters to KKK members
Shannon wished them dead.
Davis said she can’t stand to be around them.
Talk about pure, unadulterated hate.
Did that happen in a vacuum? These stars are fed a steady diet of anti-Trump sentiment. The shows they watch. The movies they line up to see. The entertainment outlets that cover their industry.
Ryan and her colleagues appear disinterested in true diversity, the kind that includes a variety of opinions. They want their version of it, one marked by a conformity of thought. That means castigating anyone who believes in border enforcement and the rule of law, for example. Think Hillary Clinton was a criminal masquerading as a White House hopeful? You’re a sexist.
Those voting for GOP politicians must be “othered,” to use a term favored by the social justice crowd. Their views cannot be respected.
Until that changes, the push for diversity push from sites like Variety is just “fake news” gussied up as moral outrage.