Sunday, October 23, 2005

No wonder conservatives hate Hollywood

We all know that Hollywood is dominated by liberals who are not shy about sharing their political opinions. Even though this makes little sense from a box office perspective, they are free to share their opinions with the world even if it means alienating half their potential audience. This is a free country and if they want to campaign for a candidate or a cause, more power to them.

What really gets conservatives is when their left-wing world view makes it into the movies themselves. More specifically, into movies that are "allegedly" based on true stories. Take the new Charlize Theron movie North Country for example. Looks great, right? Oscar buzz again for Theron who is playing a women fighting sexual harrassment at a MN mining company. As all the ads say, "Based on a true story".

Or is it? Conservative political blog Powerline, which is based in MN, and written by three high powered lawyers, noted the following,

I shuddered when I heard that a movie called North Country was being made out of the Jenson case, in which a group of female miners sued the owner of a taconite mine in northern Minnesota. I happen to know something about that case, which inspired a book called Class Action. The movie was said to be loosely based on the book and the actual case, and I could imagine how distorted Hollywood's product would be.

The movie is now out; it stars Charlize Theron, who was no doubt cast for her striking resemblance to the miner she plays. The film's web site is remarkably preachy, posturing the movie as a landmark in the battle against sexual harassment. The New York Post's review of North Country confirms that the movie is awash in liberal stereotypes. But one jarring note jumped out at me:

Inspired by Anita Hill's testimony at the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Josey talks Bill, a local hockey-hero-turned-lawyer (Woody Harrelson, in his best work in years) into mounting a lawsuit. And like Hill, Josey is confronted by the mine owner's "nuts and sluts" defense that focuses on her own sexual past.

The real Jenson case was filed in 1985, six years before the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing. So this particular embellishment is pure fiction. Why did the moviemakers throw it in? Why do you think? The Supreme Court is in the news, and Justice Thomas is a hero to conservatives. So the liberals who made North Country went out of their way to slime him, shifting the movie's time line by six years just so they could slander a Republican. No wonder conservatives hate Hollywood.

And, by the way, what's this about Anita Hill being "confronted" by a "defense" that "focuse[d] on her own sexual past"? I don't remember hearing anything about her sexual past; the defense put forward by Thomas and his supporters was that she was a liar, which the evidence seemed to show pretty convincingly.

This is the rule rather than the exception. Also in theaters now is a new George Clooney directed film about Edrward R. Murrow and Joe McCarthy. Even liberal commentator Jack Shafer from sees that this one doesn't pass the smell test,

But Clooney is too blinded by his love for Murrow to think his way through his hero's inconsistent relationship with the medium: Murrow both chased hard news and whipped up celebrity fluff on Person to Person, his interview program from the same period. If we're going to praise Murrow for producing fearless TV news, we should also be ready to damn him for paving the way for Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, and all the celebrity bootlickers on red carpets. Instead of grappling with the Murrow paradox, Clooney bookends the movie with the broadcaster's sanctimonious 1958 speech about television's lost promise.

If I judge it correctly, Good Night, and Good Luck intends to serve as a parable for our times and not a history lesson. Its makers want us to find contemporary "resonance" in the film and conclude that, compared to the giants of 1954, modern journalists have been cowed by those in political power. What a facile, Hollywood cliché. Journalism has improved vastly since 1954, certainly eclipsing the likes of Edward R. Murrow's overrated TV output, and today's reporters are more independent and willing to confront presidential administrations and powerful political figures than Murrow and his boys ever were.


At 1:12 PM, Blogger DougH said...

Just a comment about Murrow: Person to Person, in my understanding, was not something he engaged in willingly, but a tradeoff made in order to maintain the freedom to produce more of the type of journalism that made him the standard, like "Harvest of Shame," one of his last news documentaries.


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