For far too long, conservatives have ignored Hollywood. We have systematically overlooked the fact that Hollywood’s product has done more to shape America’s politics than thousands of elected officials. We have pooh-poohed the fact that television in particular is the most powerful form of mass communication the world has ever seen, combining reach with intimacy – and that what comes through our television screen affects us. We have neglected the fact that culture shapes politics, not the other way around.
And we have paid the price for it at the ballot box. Hollywood candidates like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have ridden the wave of Hollywood production values to the White House; issues that never should have been close (Proposition 8 in California, for example) have now become too close to call thanks to Hollywood tugging at our heartstrings day in and day out. The left’s 1960s agenda has largely been accomplished: abortion on demand, civil unions, bigger government, more sheepish foreign policy. Much of that is due to the creative and brilliant minds in Hollywood using their entertainment to propagandize, and do it often.
The conservatives that do monitor the everyday propagandizing on our televisions do so in generally “whack-a-mole” fashion: they target the worst offenders and create firestorms around them. The problem with this strategy is twofold: first, it leaves unscathed the second-, third-, and fourth-worst offenders, implicitly legitimating them; second, it is a piecemeal approach doomed to failure when scores of television shows premiere every year.
We need a systematic analysis of the television industry if we are going to defeat Hollywood.
That’s why I wrote Primetime Propaganda.
I wrote Primetime Propaganda with one goal in mind: to expose, from the inside out, how television’s creators and executives manipulate us. To that end, I armed myself with my Harvard Law baseball cap and my Jewish name, and I walked into the offices of the biggest television names of the last fifty years. Then I asked them if I could tape the conversation, and proceeded to quiz them on whether they propagandize, how they propagandize, and why they propagandize.
The answers were amazingly honest and straightforward: they do propagandize, they do it purposefully but subtly, and they do it because they feel a moral need to do it. Many also admitted to discrimination against conservatives in the business, and some even celebrated it.
Even more incredibly, though, I found that the liberalism of the television industry is based on one of the biggest business scams of the last century. Television’s honchos say they program to the left because the market demands it – but that’s like saying that Obama governs to the left because the polls demand it. It depends which market or poll you’re talking about.
In fact, the “market” that Hollywood targets is a lot like the “polls” Obama targets: wildly skewed to begin. If you poll 70 Democrats and 30 Republicans, it would make sense for Obama to come out with a 70 percent approval rating. The same holds true in television, where TV executives hone in on the 18-49 demographic to the exclusion of all else. Historically, television’s power brokers converted to the 18-49 demographic in the late 1960s, when they argued, in essence, that young people were more likely to purchase, more likely to switch brands, and most vulnerable to advertising. They did so based on flawed social science and out of business desperation, as many of them explained to me. The result: television skewing liberal, since young people like to watch libertinism (hence MTV).
There’s only one problem: it was all a lie. The 18-49 crowd isn’t worth more than those 50+ or those 18 and below. Age has no correlation with spending habits, at least when it comes to advertisers. According to CBS Corp. Chief Research Officer David Poltrack, “There is no link, none, between the age of the specified demographic delivery of the campaign and the sales generated by that campaign.” The Nielsens – who are in the business of creating the ratings – back Poltrack up.
But Hollywood liberals are appealing to something aside from their own political vanity: they’re appealing to Washington, D.C., which hands out benefits like candy to its friends. In Primetime Propaganda, I expose the link between the Democrats in Washington, D.C. and their buddies in Hollywood – a quid pro quo relationship where Tinseltown provides propaganda support to liberal candidates, and liberal politicians hand back legislative goodies.
Hollywood is corrupt, through and through. They manipulate us, and they do so with intent and malice aforethought. But we can fight back: by entering the halls of Hollywood, informing advertisers on Madison Ave. that they’ve been snookered, and exploiting the market inefficiencies created by liberal Hollywood’s discrimination against conservative Americans.
We can take our culture back. It starts here, and it starts now.