Bozell Column: Obama Protects Hollywood
President Obama and Vice President Biden gathered their children for a photo-op as Obama showily signed executive orders to prevent future mass shootings. It quickly became obvious that regulating the entertainment media wasn’t part of his solution. Politics once more trumped policy.
Hollywood not only went unregulated, it went unmentioned. Biden announced that he had met with “229 groups from law enforcement agencies to public health officials to gun officials to gun advocacy groups to sportsmen and hunters and religious leaders.”
He also met with Hollywood lobbyists and video-game manufacturers, but was there anyone really expecting those meetings to amount to anything? After all, Biden was reported to have “withheld judgment on whether graphic games fuel violence” when he met the game-makers, but added, ''You all know the judgment other people have made.''
Translation: You media executives might have an image problem. But we’re not here to worsen it.
Team Obama talked about a broad “national dialogue” about violence after Adam Lanza’s suicidal shooting spree. Instead they conducted a chummy off-the-record dialogue with their Hollywood and New York media-company campaign donors. The corporate flacks repeated all the usual moth-eaten lines to Biden about how parents can use their unreliable, self-evaluating ratings system.
These are lies. And that system has never worked, and will never work so long as those responsible for producing this violence continue to be in charge of rating it.
Biden’s meeting with the entertainment industry was a cozy D.C. lobbying confab. Guests included former Senator Chris Dodd, now in Jack Valenti’s place at the Motion Picture Association; former Senator Gordon Smith, now heading the National Association of Broadcasters; former FCC head Michael Powell, now chief lobbyist for cable TV; and an unnamed representative from Comcast. Let’s just guess that’s their chief lobbyist David Cohen, who hosted a $1.2 million fundraiser at his home with Obama in 2011.
Before he signed his executive orders on guns, Obama conducted his usual mudslinging in front of the children. “There will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty,” he warned. “Not because that’s true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the scenes, they’ll do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever.” He was, of course, referring to Fox News.
Do you know who wants to make sure nothing changes forever, and “common-sense reforms” never surface for their own financial gain and higher ratings? The makers of violent TV, movies, music, and video games. And do you know who just won re-election by constantly soliciting these blood-and-gore producers like a 24-hour ATM? It’s no wonder the NRA calls Obama an “elitist hypocrite.”
Hollywood hasn’t exactly enacted a violence moratorium since Newtown. Matthew Philbin of the Media Research Center reports last weekend’s top five movies at the box office contained 65 scenes of violence, with 185 individual victims, and 38 of the 65 scenes depicted gun violence. That’s leaving out “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D,” which led the box office receipts the previous weekend.
How is this for Hollywood sensitivity: the most violent movie of the top five was “Gangster Squad.” The ending scene was changed, since the trailer originally showed the gangsters shooting up a theater, which became a no-no after the Aurora theater shooting. They just changed the massacre setting.
The same hypocrisy was proven about violent TV. ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee proclaimed at TV’s winter press tour “We are tremendously sensitive to this issue; we think about it and talk about it all the time. We are storytellers, but we want to make sure that the stories we tell are done with moral integrity.”
On the very same day Hollywood’s lobbyists met with Biden, the ABC drama “Scandal” carried a graphic three-minute torture-and-beating scene. Viewers saw a man being waterboarded, his nose being broken, and his face pounded into a bloody mess, with blood spattering on the walls. This is ABC’s idea of “moral integrity.” They were so “tremendously sensitive” about it that they rated it TV-14...because eighth-graders apparently wouldn’t find this disturbing at all.
Obama and Hollywood want you to know they care deeply about the children.