The May 1 Variety reported that Warner Independent Pictures has snapped up the domestic distribution rights to Leonardo DiCaprio’s "documentary" "11th Hour," with Warner Brothers Pictures International scooping the overseas rights. The supposed documentary is produced and narrated by the former teen idol turned environmental activist, and based on what he said at a Natural Resources Defense Gala that I blogged about here at Newsbusters, the “message won’t be diluted by our having to yell over oil-company-funded ‘scientists’ .” It will be another so-called “documentary” disguised as propaganda (docuganda) like “An Inconvenient Truth” that is portrayed as legitimate evidence of anthropogenic global warming. Who needs to waste time endlessly debating AGW, when a slickly packaged promotional movie can change more minds? Variety describes the film:
Docu (sic) explores what it will take for humans to make a difference ecologically before it is too late. A variety of leading scientists, thinkers and leaders are interviewed in the film, including Stephen Hawking, former CIA topper James Woolsey and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.
As we've noted in an earlier post, Rosie O'Donnell and ABC couldn't work out a contract renewal for her slot on "The View." But when I read the "exclusive" story this morning by ABC News's Monica Nista, I noticed the reporter left out any mention of Rosie's numerous controversies such as her 9/11 conspiracy theories, her suggestion that the British hostage crisis in Iran was a conspiracy, her "ching-chong" gaffe, or her swipe at "radical Christians" being just as dangerous as "radical Muslims" like Osama bin Laden. Instead Nista focused on an a feud with rival network NBC's "Apprentice" host Donald Trump:
Barbara Walters used to have a reputation as a serious journalist. That was before the bull-in-the-china-shop that is Rosie O'Donnell came bellowing into her life. Could Walters finnaly have reached her last straw with O'Donnell, though? If rumors of Rosie leaving the daytime TV talker "The View" after a blue and vulgar performance at an award ceremony for teen girls in New York is any indication, we might soon be seeing the end of the wild-eyed, late morning rants of this uninformed wind-bag, O'Donnell.
The New York Post reported on the 24th that Barbara "lowered her head on the dais and covered her face with her hand" as Rosie spoke. During her now boring schtick, Rosie unleashed the "F" word and a slew of vulgar sexual references as she spoke before the collected elite of the female movers and shakers of the news biz as well as a bevy of teen-aged girls who were on hand to receive awards for their own efforts to enter the field of communications.
CBS ombuds-blogger Brian Montopoli advises "Taking a Step Back In the Cho Debate" in an April 23 post, as he takes issue with conservatives like Hugh Hewitt who objected to NBC News (and other media outlets) airing the videotaped "manifesto" of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. Montopoli concludes on this note:
If, as a culture, we want to suppress the Cho manifesto, than we have
to ask ourselves what else we are willing to suppress. After all, the
Cho materials at least had some value beyond entertainment; it's harder
to say the same for cultural products like "Grand Theft Auto" or "300."
It seems to me that anyone criticizing NBC News for releasing the
materials – and CBS News and its counterparts for airing them – should
be thinking long and hard about how far down that path they are willing
Alleged actor Alec Baldwin can be pretty vicious, at least verbally. He's called Vice President Dick Cheney "a lying, thieving Oil Whore." During the Clinton impeachment, he said: “If we were living in another country, what we, all of us together, would go down to Washington and stone (Republican Congressman) Henry Hyde to death, stone him to death, stone him to death! Then we would go to their house and we’d kill the family, kill the children.” (see update below for MRC coverage of same)
Kill the children? A typically measured, thoughtful comment from a member of the Hollywood Left. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Baldwin's contempt for children extends even to his own.
Today at SFGate.com, Associated Press entertainment writer Sandy Cohen reports on a recent voice mail message left by Baldwin for his 11-year-old daughter. He tells her "You are a rude, thoughtless little pig" and "You don't have the brains or the decency as a human being."
A NewsBusters reader alerted me a few minutes ago to London Times film critic Leo Lewis and how he threw in a complaint about the American flag's brief cameo in "Spider-Man 3." The superhero sequel is set for wide release in the United States on May 4, Lewis filed his review from Tokyo.
Lewis liked the film overall (3 out of 5 stars) but was disappointed that the evil alter-ego that inhabits Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) in the film is "still hopelessly mild-mannered." Of course, unlike say "Grindhouse," "Spider-Man" is intended for a wide audience from fathers and sons to teenagers on a Saturday night date.
At any rate, Lewis then puts in his anti-American potshot with his complaint about a scene featuring an American flag. The scene is similar to one in the first movie with Spidey atop a skyscraper crowned with Old Glory:
One positive result of the Don Imus imbroglio is a renewed focus on degrading, obscene, sexist, violence-endorsing rap music. Brent Bozell's entertainment columns offer a road map for anyone seeking a refresher course on nasty rap-music controversies over the last four years. Don't miss how media people (like, oops, NBC's Matt Lauer) make excuses for rappers:
In raising her two daughters, [Washington Post writer Lonnae O'Neal] Parker had one very definitive image in mind capturing what’s wrong with today’s dominant trend in hip hop. At the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, rappers Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent added pomp to the song "P.I.M.P." by featuring black women on leashes being walked onstage. This past August, she added, MTV-2 aired an episode of the cartoon "Where My Dogs At," which had Snoop Dogg again leading two black bikini-clad women around on leashes. She explained: "They squatted on their hands and knees, scratched themselves and defecated. The president of the network, a black woman, defended this as satire."
The UK’s Telegraph reported that the BBC cancelled a 90-minute drama about the youngest surviving winner of the UK’s highest award for valor because “it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.” The BBC blocked the project that would have honored the incredible bravery and resilience of Private Johnson Beharry, a man who didn’t hesitate to risk his own life two separate times for his fellow soldiers. His Victoria Cross citation reads like a blockbuster Hollywood action script, but instead, it’s the real deal. Sounds uplifting and encouraging, and it could even be a real morale booster, right? Well, for the Beeb, that’s the problem (emphasis mine throughout):
For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict.
The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.
On the heels of last year's "documentary" by Gabriel Range concocting an assassination of President Bush in "Death of A President," Bill Hutchinson of the New York Daily News reported a new play in the Big Apple that also treads along the Bush-assassination theme. The playwright's thinly disguised Bush-resembling fictional president gets "whacked like Julius Caesar by a confidant."
A FAMED CITY theater group is inviting controversy by staging a play in which a character thinly veiled as President Bush gets assassinated. "President and Man" begins a five-day run at The Duke on 42nd St. tonight as one of eight one-act plays staged by the Naked Angels Theater Company, whose members include Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. Conservatives are already panning it as another sick liberal jab at the President.
No matter how deplorable and terrible you think Don Imus's remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team are, the fact is, that his statements pale in comparison to the stuff pumped out daily by the American music industry.
Michelle Malkin has a big list of the various vulgarities that are routinely tolerated by the same media that is currently up in arms about Imus. Here's just one song:
Rich Boy sellin' crack
F*k niggas wanna jack
Sh*t tight no slack
Just bought a Cadillac (Throw some D's on that b*tch!)
Just bought a Cadillac (Throw some D's on that b*tch!)
Just bought a Cadillac
This, along with Roseanne Barr's recent anti-gay remarks are yet another example of our "neutral" media's double standards.
Is the Clerks and Dogma creator next going to attack middle America, Conservatives, Republicans and Christians in an upcoming movie? It certainly seems so with a recent interview he gave that appears on the moviefan website called Rottentomatoes.com.
Smith, known for his irreverent skewering of conventional mores, seems to be in the midst of production on a horror movie based on a "Fred Phelps" styled character.
UK audiences recently saw documentary journalist Louis Theroux spend time with members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, a controversial church group made largely of members of the Phelps family and run by preacher Fred Phelps. Infamous in America for taking a supremely homophobic stance and for picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, the group see media interviews as a platform for airing their views and the word of their founder, Fred Phelps.
Just when you thought the New York Times couldn't sink any lower than its chairman Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger ranting how he was sorry America wasn't a socialist and pacifist nation, the money-losing paper manages to surprise you.
That's really the only thing you can say after reading Times Arts tv critic Alessandra Stanley's attempt to cast the popular-but-fading Fox show "American Idol" into the 2000 election controversy.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to the Times, the reason that teenage girls looove tuning in is because Al Gore didn't beat George W. Bush.
Two days ago NewsBusters documented how ABC's "Good Morning America"
is hyping the "latest trend" for couples tying the knot this year,
so-called green weddings. Of course, weatherman/reporter Sam Champion
left out for his audience how the bride featured in his story, Anna
Swinson, is a Sierra Club official in Atlanta, but what's a covert
liberal agenda among friends?
ABC is not the only network pushing the phenomenon as a tactic to combating global warming. "Days of Our Lives"
addicts will be treated to the earth-friendly nuptials of characters
Sami and Lucas. Of course the NBC.com Web site doesn't just plug the
liberal-friendly story arc, it also insults the intelligence
of its readership by insisting that having a "green wedding" isn't just a matter of taste, it's a matter of life and death (yes, even if green is just not the bride's color):
I suppose it's possible she could defensively argue that this refers to Iran's Ahmadinejad or North Korea's Kim Jong-il, but in context it seems NY Post columnist Liz Smith refers to President George W. Bush in her March 29 article "Cruise-ing to WWII":
March 29, 2007 -- 'EVERY SECOND is a door to eternity. The door is opened by perception," said Rumi.
does a nation's elite rid itself of a deranged chief executive or
commander who is bent on leading the country astray? No, we're not
talking here about our own life and times. We're talking Nazi Germany.
Smith's piece was syndicated to other papers, including The Toledo Blade, where NewsBusters reader John Page noticed the item and forwarded it to me. The Blade headline for the Smith item: "Tom Cruise to star in film about Hitler."
Brent Bozell's culture column is early this week, since the MRC HQ is buzzing and bustling toward our big 20th anniversary gala on Thursday night. If you want to see it live, we will have a webcast. Brent's column mocks a new compilation of essays titled "South Park and Philosophy," edited by Robert Arp, a professor at Southwest Minnesota State University. You know the drill: take a crude and simplistic pop-culture phenomenon and try to make it sound philosophically deep. It's like standing in a mud puddle and pretending it's the Pacific Ocean. Here's a sample:
How do professors like this stoop to the bizarre idea that children can be enlightened by a show that labors to fit 160 uses of the S-bomb into a half-hour? A show that delights in having Jesus Christ defecate on President Bush with his “yummy, yummy crap”? How can you elevate that into the idea that watching “South Park” should really be seen as a correspondence course, like Newt Gingrich’s “Renewing American Civilization” series?
Brent Bozell's culture column this week explored the outer reaches of the movie ratings system, and how the movie industry is looking hard at creating a more "respectable" adults-only rating of NC-17, which is often considered for movies featuring topless Nazis, toothy private parts, and grossly obese men chewing on babies.
If soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore’s testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday wasn’t funny enough for you, Conan O’Brien’s satirical cast of a new NBC, made for television movie about problems facing the White House is sure to give you a chuckle.
The video is here courtesy of YouTube (h/t Allah at Hot Air), and a list of the cast follows after the break for those of you who prefer your comedy in writing.
However, please be forewarned that some degree of liberal bias is in this casting, as O’Brien clearly took stronger swings at Republicans. Yet, all in all, it’s pretty funny:
In time for the Persian New Year, CBS's Melissa McNamara trawled the blogosphere (including MySpace blog entries) and found bloggers who think Iran's Islamic extremist government has a point about "300" being "anti-Persian." In doing she, she produced a handful of blogs that appear to generate light traffic and in at least one case is just a rambling screed.
McNamara told readers that the "Islamic Republic News Agency" (IRNA) finds fault with the film's version of historical events. She left out that IRNA is Iran's official state-controlled news/propaganda service. CBSNews.com's resident "Blogophile" also noted objections from an Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, which she described simply as "Iran's biggest circulation newspaper."
That's akin to a journalist during the Cold War describing Pravda as simply the Soviet Union's best-selling newspaper. Hamshahri co-sponsored a political cartoon contest that the Iranian government held last year that generated hundreds of entries that were anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Clarification (Ken Shepherd | 10:26 EDT): The story in question was written for The Hollywood Reporter and the photo was provided by Reuters.
Yahoo News picked up a Reuters article on Yahoo that reports actress Eliza Dushku of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Tru Calling” and “Bring It On” fame has a new show lined up called, “Nurses.”
The article is a tiny little story that isn’t worth much time, except for the accompanying picture. The pic is a file photo from a 2004 John Kerry benefit concert, and a two and a half year old photo with such a visibly identifying background should have sent this photo to the back of the pile.
Potential political bias aside, I think the photo editor should have done Dushku a favor and chosen a different picture because of that outfit alone.
The new media revolution brought about by the Internet Age leaves a constant vacuum to be filled for the traditional entertainment cycle on broadcast TV. You'll notice a lot of broadcast Web sites doing what they can to fill that void with extra footage, behind-the-scenes stuff, bloopers, "webisodes," and the like.
But let's face it, when the new episodes are exhausted on the networks, we're not likely to stick around for reruns. There's too many other things to do, and we've probably already rewatched the best clips of those shows on YouTube. There goes millions in advertising revenue for the nets.
Trying to find a way around that, NBC is taking that to the airwaves with "newpeats" of "The Office." (h/t TVTattle.com)
"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," Sigmund Freud is purported to have once said, cautioning that not everything has a deeper, hidden meaning to it. Well, sometimes a blockbuster blood-soaked action flick is just that, a blood-soaked, special effects-laden action flick.
Just try telling that to cynical, left-wing European journalists.
According to Entertainment Weekly, everyone from gay interest groups to foreign journalists have engaged in armchair psychoanalysis of director Zack Snyder's screen adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel "300.":
Brent Bozell's culture column this week unfolds the new polling numbers for the MRC's Culture and Media Institute on the American people's impression of moral decline and the media's role in it:
A new cultural-values survey of 2,000 American adults performed by the polling firm of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates for the Culture and Media Institute reveals a strong majority, 74 percent, believes moral values in America are weaker than they were 20 years ago. Almost half, 48 percent, agree that values are much weaker than they were 20 years ago.
Over on radical Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" propaganda-cast, they're still recycling lectures from the big National Conference on Media Reform weeks back. On Thursday, they rebroadcast a lecture from actress Geena Davis on how children's entertainment cruelly stereotypes women, especially back in the Dark Ages of the last century. Is Judy Jetson too thin? And what's up with Smurfette? Davis started a foundation to fight for the image of women in children's entertainment, as she explained:
Do you remember the kinds of stuff that they made for us, for kids, in the oldie old days? Let’s see, the first animation, of course, was Disney's Minnie Mouse and -- where is she? I’m pushing the button -- Daisy Duck, who didn’t really do much at all, except ask to go shopping, I think. There were a lot of Hanna-Barbera cartoons -- Magilla Gorilla, Wally Gator, George of the Jungle -- virtually no female characters. I had a vague recollection that Yogi Bear had a girlfriend, and I searched and searched, and I finally found her, Cindy Bear, as you all remember.
Tonight's episode of NBC's "Las Vegas" apparently has an Iraq sub-plot that, at least the abstract below suggests, may carry an anti-war message.
SEASON FINALE-- Mike finds out that Sam has been kidnapped
by one of her whales. Meanwhile, Danny takes drastic measures to help a
friend avoid being deployed to Iraq. Elsewhere, Delinda learns
life-altering news for she and Danny. James Caan and Nikki Cox also
stars in this unpredictable and explosive season four finale. TV-14
In a previous season of "Las Vegas," actor Josh Duhamel's character (Danny McCoy) suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following a harrowing tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq.
Vegas co-star Molly Sims (Delinda) and creator Gary Scott Thompson will participate in a live chat at NBC.com following the program's 9 p.m Eastern (8 p.m. Central) airing. [continued after page break]
Remember how Team Clinton always disparaged their enemies as peddlers of "trash for cash," selling their stories to book publishers and movie studios? The liberal media played along then, but not now. The March 5-11 edition of Variety notes that Warner Bros. moved quickly to secure the screen rights to "Fair Game," Valerie Plame’s upcoming memoir of her life at the CIA. Michael Fleming sells it: "It’s a delicious political thriller of secret government power, covert identity and White House manipulation tht would make for a great movie." Fleming doesn’t note the tale is much more "delicious" if you hate Team Bush.
With the story arriving before the verdict, Fleming warned "the path to release is strewn with land mines" with movies based on real life. Plame’s memoir has yet to be approved by the CIA, and sometimes real-life stories take "unpredictable turns." It turns out that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the D.C. jury that convicted Scooter Libby enhanced the bankability of Valerie Plame, The Movie.
As modern media has seen a fusion of news, opinion, and entertainment, are too many things being politicized? I think so.
The news media have contributed to this state of affairs more than any other group so it was refreshing to see the New York Times actually point out a case of inappropriate politicization in an article about "300" the new movie about a group of Spartans who held off a large Persian army.
The Times also makes the point that in many cases a media outlet will attempt to gin up controversy about its product to get the public to tune in.
Three weeks ago a handful of reporters at an international press junket here for the Warner Brothers movie “300,” about the battle of Thermopylae some 2,500 years ago, cornered the director Zack Snyder with an unanticipated question.
“Is George Bush Leonidas or Xerxes?” one of them asked.
The questioner, by Mr. Snyder’s recollection, insisted that Mr. Bush
was Xerxes, the Persian emperor who led his force against Greek’s city
states in 480 B.C., unleashing an army on a small country guarded by
fanatical guerilla fighters so he could finish a job his father had
left undone. More likely, another reporter chimed in, Mr. Bush was
Leonidas, the Spartan king who would defend freedom at any cost.
Mr. Snyder, who said he intended neither analogy when he set out to
adapt the graphic novel created by Frank Miller with Lynn Varley in
1998, suddenly knew he had the contemporary version of a water-cooler
movie on his hands. And it has turned out to be one that could be
construed as a thinly veiled polemic against the Bush administration,
or be seen by others as slyly supporting it.
In his culture column this week, Brent Bozell talks about the rare hawkish corner of entertainment, and finds it a bit troubling that while "24" sends a gung-ho message in the War on Terror, it's starting to look a bit like an FX show. (Remember that episode of "The Shield" with the face-melting-on-the-burner scene?) He starts by noting his mother was always a big John Wayne fan, that standard-bearer of red-blooded patriotism, and salutes that neglected genre of entertainment. But:
The sixth season of “24" premiered on January 14, but this time even otherwise supportive critics are worried that Fox has gone over the top, with plot twists so extreme and brutal that one concludes the network is irresponsibly falling back on the old formula: shock for the sake of shock.