The Liberal Media (Part 1 of a Series)
A short while ago, I was talking with some of my co-workers and the subject of the President and political parties came up. Without revealing any opinions, myself, I asked the three twenty-something fellow employees of how they thought about Bush and the War in Iraq. I got a pretty unanimous type of response with comments like: "Bush sucks!", "Republicans are racists", "Bush only cares about oil", and "Bush overtaxes us and gives breaks to rich people". I asked where they got these opinions from. Guess what? They said they didn't know. I was very curious about this so I probed a little. Do they read newspapers? Do they watch the news? The answer to both questions among all three of them was "no". So where do these opinions come from? It's a rhetorical question because I'm pretty sure I know. The liberal media is everywhere. They are clever and most people, especially younger people, have no idea they are being brainwashed. I have a feeling that these three individuals are fairly representative of young people in our nation. So, I'm going to explore different forms of media and give my take on where this liberal bias is coming from. I'm going to start where most people can relate. The movies.
The Liberal Cinema
Most people watch movies. Whether it's Friday night at the multiplex or watching HBO or a DVD on the tube at home, movie watching is a national pastime. Movie lines have become part of our pop culture so their influence can be quite substantial. Movie producers recognize this and feel compelled to promote the liberal point of view in many films. This has been especially true since the early 1990's.
In the past, studio executives, who were typically conservative, had the power and made the decisions about what films to make. The power has shifted to the actors. Mega-stars, who happen to be devout liberals such as Tom Hanks, Barbra Steisand, and Susan Sarandon, who've made millions in the industry are now also the filmmakers and decision makers. This shift has changed the content of what we see on the screen.
Let's look at some movies involving the president of the United States. There is a prevailing theme. Democratic politicians are intelligent, broad-minded, and compassionate human beings. Republican politicians are narrow-minded and corrupt and only have self-serving interests.
The American President
This film exemplifies my point exactly. Michael Douglas plays the seemingly ideal president. He can be charming and diplomatic with the premier of France, bomb Libya, make national policy decisions, be the perfect father, and even have time to find roses for his ultra-liberal girlfriend played by Annette Bening. But Douglas' President Shepherd has a problem. For some unexplainable reason, he finds himself trying to get anti-crime legislation (a right-wing type of thing) passed through congress. Ah, but sensibility wins in the end as Shepherd tosses the bill away in the end so he can support an environmental bill (i.e. the type of legislation that Democrats are supposed to support) instead.
What really kills me in this film is Shepherd's state of the union speech at the end of the film. He makes a grand statement that being an American is "advanced citizenship". This is the motto of conservatives. It should mean that while Americans have more freedom and opportunity than the rest of the world, the price we pay for that freedom and opportunity is less government intervention. Of course, Shepherd twists that around and makes it about free speech and how it's okay to burn the flag. This was directed by Rob Reiner, a prominent Hollywood liberal.
This Kevin Kline/Sigourney Weaver film has similar themes as The American President. Dave (Kline) is an ordinary Joe who is recruited to act as President of the United States. You see, the real president (who just so happens to be Republican) died and his evil chief of staff Alexander (played by Frank Langella) schemes to have Dave replace the dead president so he can have control. So Dave, the middle of the road, average, sweet, everyday, mainstream kind of guy (in other words, a typical Democrat if you believe this) finds out he doesn't approve of the policies of the late president so he begins to change things to the way he thinks it should be. He wants to help the homeless children of America. He tries to enact some kind of program guaranteeing every American a job (Yeah, right!). This is a fairy tale and I have no problem with that. In fact, I actually like this movie. However, I get extremely annoyed at how the Republicans are so villified.
The Tom Clancy films - Clear and Present Danger/The Sum of All Fears
I'll group these two together. Both films feature a hard-core conservative president. Neither states the political party of the president, but it's pretty obvious that they are Republicans. In Clear and Present Danger, the president sacrifices American troops so he can move forward on his war on drugs agenda. In The Sum of All Fears, the president is a war-mongering, narrow-minded coward who, since an atomic bomb was detonated, concludes that it must have been the Russians without any real information. Thank goodness that in both cases, we had the clear-thinking Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford in the former, Ben Affleck in the latter) to save the day and expose the incompetence of the president.
To be fair, Air Force One is one film where there does not seem to be a sublime political agenda. Harrison Ford plays the good president but his political sway is not clear.
In part two, I'll explore some films that aren't so politically based, yet still manage to deliver the same message. That is, liberal Democrat = good, conservative Republican = bad.