CBS: Hollywood Disappointed in Obama... Except For CBS's Celebrities

On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Terrell Brown spotlighted Tinseltown discontent with President Obama, citing an unnamed Hollywood executive who lamented the Democrat is 'not the idealistic guy we thought he would be." However, the three actors Brown turned to who are regulars on CBS programming all heartily endorsed Mr. Obama: "I'm going to do everything I can to help him. He's a really good guy."

Anchor Chris Wragge noted in his introduction for the correspondent's report that the President is "going to Hollywood for a fundraiser next week. But what kind of reception he will receive, now that some of Hollywood's most liberal voices are questioning him more than ever before?" Brown picked up where Wragge left off: "For a town used to measuring success and box office numbers, Hollywood is down on President Obama and his sagging poll numbers."

Brown then recounted that "Senator Obama rode a wave of celebrity support and cash to the White House" during the 2008 campaign, but added, "Now, many of his big West Coast donors are questioning whether they can support President Obama this time around. A recent story in 'The Hollywood Reporter' highlights the growing chasm, in part, quoting an unnamed entertainment executive as saying, 'It's like he's morphed into another person. He's not the idealistic guy we thought he would be. Everyone I talk to is disappointed.'"

Near the end of his report, the CBS journalist played three sound bites from interviews taken at the Emmys on September 18, stating before playing them that "nobody we talked to on the red carpet before Sunday night's Emmy Awards was disappointed." The three actors all appear on CBS shows: LL Cool J of "NCIS: Los Angeles"; and Josh Charles and Christine Baranski of "The Good Wife." The second program has smeared the Tea Party as racist and knocked Sarah Palin with a book filled with blank pages "satirically representing the mind and thinking" of the former Alaska governor.

Christine Baranski, Actress | NewsBusters.orgLL COOL J, ACTOR: For me, it's all about America doing better at the end of the day. And, right now, I think that he is trying his best to make it happen.

JOSH CHARLES, ACTOR: And I haven't seen anybody else yet that I would be remotely interested in having as president of the United States.

CHRISTINE BARANSKI, ACTRESS: I believe in him. I think he'll be re-elected, and I'm going to do everything I can to help him. He's a really good guy.

Following Brown's report, Wragge interviewed Tina Daunt, who wrote the Obama story for "The Hollywood Reporter." Daunt outlined Hollywood's disappointment in the President:

WRAGGE: If the President is actually listening to some of these celebrities, do you think that's what he wants to hear? He's a nice guy and he's trying the best he can and that's why they're going to vote for him? Doesn't sound that great of an endorsement from the Hollywood community.

DAUNT: (laughs) Well, the biggest problem he's having right now is with the key Hollywood fundraisers out here and- you know, I'm talking about the studio heads, the agents, the managers, the ones that really make the town run, and they're the ones who raised the money for him. And, right now, a lot of them are saying that they're really disappointed with him. They thought that he would be a very different president when they supported him four years ago. And now, what they've seen is he's backed off on a lot of the key issues that were important to them, ranging from global warming, to ending the war, to closing down Guantanamo Bay. They're just wondering where he stands. And they also thought that he would be a far more charismatic president, that he would be a really strong leader and able to unite the nation, and they haven't really seen that and are disappointed.

WRAGGE: So, what does this mean from a financial standpoint? Does this mean that they're sitting on the sidelines and waiting? Are they not going to support his re-election campaign? What are they going to do with their money?

DAUNT: Well, right now, I mean, this is a very crucial time for them. This is a time when they have the most political leverage. His fundraisers are calling, you know, and asking for money, and they're saying, no, I'm not going to give right now. I am really frustrated with some of the things that he's doing. I mean, ultimately, if he ends up in a competitive race, especially against someone like Perry or Bachmann- I mean, you'll see them all coming out and supporting him. But right now, there is a tremendous amount of frustration, and a lot of them are holding out. They're on the sidelines, and although he'll be out here in a week, he's probably going to make over a million dollars and sell out the fundraisers. They're nothing compared to what it was here four years ago.

WRAGGE: Well, is a lot more of it talk, though? They say they're not going to support the President and they're not fully engaged with some of his policies, or some of the things that he said he would do that he hasn't done-

DAUNT: Right-

WRAGGE: But once he does come out on their turf, then they come out of the woodwork because they get to go to Oprah's home and they get to go to the Katzenbergs' home- (laughs) things along those lines?

DAUNT: Well, the problem is- I mean, they're not going to Oprah's home. You're not seeing those sort of fundraisers here the way you did four years ago. I mean, this time four years ago, everyone was going up to Montecito, where they raised $3 million. So he's not getting that sort of reception here. They're doing a lot of arm-twisting to get people to come to the fundraisers to support him.

Now, ultimately, that could change, depending on what kind of race he ends up in. A lot of people are waiting to see- you know, if he's going to be elected anyway, they're thinking, well, maybe our money would be better spent somewhere else.

The full transcript of Terrell Brown's report, which aired six minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour of Monday's Early Show:

Screen Cap From 19 September 2011 Edition of CBS's Early Show | NewsBusters.orgCHRIS WRAGGE: We don't know if President Obama saw the Emmys last night, but we do know that he is going to Hollywood for a fundraiser next week. But what kind of reception he will receive, now that some of Hollywood's most liberal voices are questioning him more than ever before?

CBS's Terrell Brown reports.

TERRELL BROWN (voice-over): For a town used to measuring success and box office numbers, Hollywood is down on President Obama and his sagging poll numbers. Senator Obama wrote a wave of celebrity support and cash to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1 (from YouTube.com): Yes, we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: Yes, we can.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: Yes, we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2: Yes, we can.

BROWN: But now, many of his big West Coast donors are questioning whether they can support President Obama this time around. A recent story in 'The Hollywood Reporter' highlights the growing chasm, in part, quoting an unnamed entertainment executive as saying, 'It's like he's morphed into another person. He's not the idealistic guy we thought he would be. Everyone I talk to is disappointed.'

But nobody we talked to on the red carpet before Sunday night's Emmy Awards was disappointed.


LL COOL J, ACTOR: For me, it's all about America doing better at the end of the day. And, right now, I think that he is trying his best to make it happen.

JOSH CHARLES, ACTOR: And I haven't seen anybody else yet that I would be remotely interested in having as president of the United States.

CHRISTINE BARANSKI, ACTRESS: I believe in him. I think he'll be re-elected, and I'm going to do everything I can to help him. He's a really good guy.

BROWN: With two upcoming fundraisers in Los Angeles, President Obama will get to see who's willing to put their money where their mouth is. Terrell Brown, CBS News, New York.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center