ABC's entertainment division refused to knuckle under to intense pressure from supporters of former President Bill Clinton, including the Democratic National Committee and MoveOn.org, and aired the first part of their miniseries, "The Path to 9/11", with some additional edits:
Brent Bozell's column on the entertainment media culture this week addressed an amazing double standard from NBC. For Saturday mornings, they've picked up a Christian-media favorite, the cartoon "Veggie Tales" -- but is cutting out the religious angles. That's sort of sad when our media's more tolerant of Islam, the "religion of peace," than they seem to be of Christianity:
The early word from producers is that NBC has grown increasingly fierce about editing something out of “Veggie Tales” – those apparently unacceptable, insensitive references to God and the Bible.
So NBC has taken the very essence of “Veggie Tales” – and ripped it out. It’s like “Gunsmoke,” without the guns, or “Monday Night Football,” without the football.
Michael Moore hasn't taken time off from making films to please liberals. FoxNews.com reports he'll soon be releasing two movies (neither of which will ever be vetted for accuracy by the MSM).
In the story, Moore is also quoted defending actor Tom Cruise, saying "his religion is his own damn business." Two paragraphs later, though, the corpulent moviemaker makes fun of actor Mel Gibson's religion:
Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore unveiled two new projects last
night in Toronto: a documentary about the health insurance business
called “Sicko” and film that chronicles the aftermath of the 2004
election, entitled “Slacker.”
Moore showed clips from both
films as part of a special two-hour presentation at the famed Elgin
Theater. Larry Charles, director of the new comedy “Borat” and
well-known from his work on the TV show “Seinfeld,” conducted the
program that also consisted of a long, funny and intimate live
interview with Moore.
The evening was almost marred by a
faulty projector that caused Moore’s clips to be interrupted several
times. The same thing apparently happened one night earlier during a
screening of “Borat.” Moore jumped on stage and did shtick with Charles
for the packed house. Last night, Charles returned the favor.
while clips from both new Moore movies looked tantalizing, it was the
director himself who made the biggest headlines with revelations about
his life since becoming a lightning rod for controversy with “Roger and
Me” some 17 years ago.
Something tells me this excuse wouldn't fly with 99.9 percent of American women, much less any woman as attractive as Ms. Jolie:
NEW YORK Sep 8, 2006 (AP)— Brad Pitt, ever the social activist, says he won't be marrying Angelina Jolie until the restrictions on who can marry whom are dropped.
"Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able," the 42-year-old actor reveals in Esquire magazine's October issue, on newsstands Sept. 19.
In the article he reflects on "fifteen things I think everyone should know."
It's been natural for some to link the Clintonista campaign against ABC's "The Path to 9/11" with the efforts of MRC and other groups protesting CBS's flimsy biopic on "The Reagans." (Rich Noyes makes one obvious point of difference: Clinton is cogent enough to defend himself. In the fall of 2003, Reagan was deep into his Alzheimer's disease and dying.) Brent Bozell columns from that time are here and here. Brent still believes that if ABC corrects its docudrama if it doesn't have documentation for something being challenged, it's doing the right thing.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attack on America, ABC Entertainment is presenting a six-hour miniseries titled "The Path to 9/11," a forceful, compelling docudrama chronicling the struggles faced by America's counter-terrorist experts between the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 and the fatal one in 2001. Unlike the tone of too much of our reporting on terrorism, where anyone who fights terrorism is depicted as either assembling naked Muslim pyramids if in Iraq, or listening to Grandma's phone calls if at home, this film treats the fight against terror as deadly business, and not just deadly business but a noble struggle for the survival of our nation.
Serious scholars of current events, not to mention some of those named in the film, may take issue with parts of this presentation. The movie is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, which itself is not infallible in its conclusions on what went wrong and what needs to fixed. Moreover, up front the moviemakers note it has composite characters and manipulates the time of events for a better movie experience. As a "docudrama" it has taken certain poetic license with history.
The Washington Post continued on Wednesday its pattern of defining the news in the U.S. Senate race in Virginia as what the Democrats want the news to be. Reporter Tim Craig notes that a "nonpartisan" analysis shows Sen. George Allen has more "Hollywood" cash than his Democratic opponent:
U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) is a leading recipient of entertainment-related campaign contributions to members of Congress, a nonpartisan analysis released yesterday shows, even as the senator has been criticizing his Democratic opponent's ties to Hollywood...
The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit research group, said that Allen ranks 16th among members of Congress in campaign contributions received from the entertainment industry during the past two years. Allen has accepted $93,350 since 2004; Webb, $20,650, according to the center.
As you may or may not know, this coming weekend, ABC is presenting a movie about the events that led up to the attacks on the WTC in 2001, called "The Path to 9/11".
It has leaked out by various critics and folks who have been offered an advanced screening of this flick that the Clinton administration does not come out looking too strong on National defense in the years prior to the attacks on that fateful day. In fact, it shows them as responsible for one misstep and failure after another in the face of plenty of forewarning that the situation was quickly escalating.
In light of that depiction, for the last week or so, there have been some pretty persistent rumors that, after these screenings, various members of the Clinton administration, including the ex-president himself, began a campaign of calls, meetings and efforts to cajole ABC into altering and editing the film to make the Clintons look better.
As the summer ends, so ends the season of the superhero blockbuster, and some parents of young boys that I know are still getting over their annoyance at the superhero movie-marketing gap. The toy stores and burger joints carry all the merchandise for the grade-school set – and the movie is rated PG-13. What happens when your first-grader wants to see the movie that’s tied in with his new toy?
Suffice it to say that our news media would be more upset about the fat content in the Happy Meal food than the dangers of taking young children to movies they may not be ready to handle.
"Superman Returns" was a big, noisy, critically acclaimed blockbuster – and it was PG-13 for intense violence. But just look at how the movie was promoted by Burger King: eight different toys, including sweat bands, sunglasses, action figures, Frisbees, and fans. There was even a drawing for a Superman laptop computer.
If you want to force propaganda onto young people, shouldn't you at least find an entertaining messenger? During last night's MTV Video Music Awards, Al Gore lectured about global warming and what that generation needed to do to fix the problem.
Nekesa Mumbi Moody of the Associated Press said the award show "had about as much spontaneity as an episode of 'Cribs.'" Viewers did "NOT watch for lectures from former Vice President Al Gore on global warming. When does the phrase 'here's a photo of a glacier melting' ever fit into an awards show?"
Ankle Biting Pundits says the former vice president also remarked, "The environment was the number one response when you were asked what the biggest problem your generation will face. We can solve it but we must act quickly."
Talk about your culture clash! A hip hop music site juxtaposes a report on Bill Cosby's condemnation of that musical genre with news of the latest criminal doings of hip hop stars. AllHipHop.com bills itself as 'The World's Most Dangerous Site.' Currently up on the site is an article reporting a recent speech in which Cosby . . . "went on the offensive against rap music."
States the article:
"'They put the word 'nigga' in a song, and we get up and dance to it,' Cosby said.
"The two-hour Coppin State University-hosted event dubbed 'Fatherhood Works,' was the last stop on the entertainer's day-long visit to the city.
"In addition to hip-hop, Cosby expressed his views on teenage pregnancy, re-emphasized the importance of a good education and urged fathers to take a more active role in raising their kids, as he visited three West Baltimore elementary schools and the church."
So here was AllHipHop respectfully passing along Cosby's message. Meanwhile . . . to the right of the Cosby article is a column with links to the latest news from the hip hop world. But while reports of new record deals and other doings were mixed in, much of it read like a 'rap' sheet of an altogether different sort. Examples:
Foxy Brown Misses New Jersey Court Date, Must Attend Next Hearing
Estate of Slain Man In CCC Club Files Lawsuit Against Proof Estate
NY Times theatre critic/playwright George Hunka's "A Sermon on Corporations, Neighborhoods and Loss" celebrates a left-wing performance artist for exposing the evils of large corporations. Hunka, of course, is writing this for the New York Times, part of a modest little enterprise known as the New York Times Co., which had revenues of a mere $3.4 billion in 2005.
"Reverend Billy -- the alter ego of the performance artist Bill Talen, bleach-blond pompadoured and an impressive presence at 6-foot-3 in his pale brown leisure suit -- struts, preaches and sings his way across the Spiegeltent stage at the South Street Seaport, bringing his anticorporatist, environmentalist message to the converted via a sermon and several songs, accompanied by the Church of Stop Shopping gospel choir and a seven-piece band."
What does Maureen Dowd want? Her column of today is the latest evidence of a woman torn between the imperatives of modern feminism and a not-so-secret longing for more traditional domestic arrangements.
The topic of Ring-a-Ding-Bling [subscription required] is marriages in which the husband plays a decided second fiddle to the wife. You might think that Dowd-the-feminist would celebrate marriages in which women play the leading role. But, with one notable exception, she expresses little but scorn for husbands whose wives have the upper hand.
Mo's Exhibit A is the Britney Spears/Kevin Federline couple. Dowd begins by professing that "to make fun of Mr. Spears [would be] too easy — shooting tuna fish in a can, as they say." By referring to Federline as "Mr. Spears" Mo has of course mocked him already. Then, utterly ignoring her own precept, she proceeds to ruthlessly ridicule him, describing his recent attempt at rap music as "even more deliciously atrocious than anticipated," also letting us know that "the hip-hop community reacted with amused disdain."
Those poor 1940s kids were driven to smoke by the cartoon cat and mouse duo of "Tom and Jerry." This is a problem they want to prevent in Britain by cutting out scenes of feline tobacco use. Reports AFP:
Smoking scenes in "Tom and Jerry" cartoons are now banned in Britain, following a viewer's complaint to the government agency that polices the airwaves.
In one episode of the classic US cartoon series, Tom is seen smoking a roll-up cigarette in a bid to impress a female cat. In another, Tom's opponent in a tennis match was seen smoking a large cigar.
"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," the ad reads.
Some of the signatories:
Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton and William Hurt.
The list also included famous directors and producers. This takes a lot of courage, not so much because of danger from terrorists...but from their colleagues.
Update (8/17/06 8:42PM): You can read the ad with the full list of names here. Thanks to Shawn99
The opening lyrics to the signature song in the musical Grease are apt to describe the media's summer fling with global warming alarmist Al Gore.
A new study by Rachel Waters and Dan Gainor of the MRC's Business & Media Institute (BMI) documents the love affair.
Even with the extensive media coverage – more
than one network story per day on average – Gore’s film spent only one week in the top ten. The film only made
it to the number nine position.
By comparison “X-Men III – The Last Stand” had only had 25
appearances on the networks in the same three-month period. The third
installment in the X-Men series raked in more than $233 million in the U.S.
Gore’s documentary has brought in less than $22 million. That means X-Men
pulled in 10 times the money with one-third the TV appearances.
When talking with someone who isn't especially political or is
left-of-center about the topic of media bias, I will occasionally
hear the argument that the media's political orientation doesn't really matter
because most people are skeptical of what they hear on TV and
elsewhere. In the modern age of low voter turnout, anti-advertising
advertising, and the permanent campaign, people are smart enough not to
take in any media message without several large grains of salt.
Non-intelligent people don't make this argument in my experience. Only smart people do.
not everyone is smart. Many people continue to be very impressionable
as adults, especially to mass media like television and movies, as
demonstrated in this post from the Dummie Funnies, a blog run by NewsBusters user pjcomix which monitors the loonybin known as Democratic Underground.
Stand by for some really great laughs on Sunday, November 5. Some Dummies, taking their cue from the movie, "V For Vendetta,"
are actually planning to gather in front of public buildings around the
country wearing dopey Guy Fawkes masks as you can see in this THREAD
titled, "Remember, remember the 5th of November....". Yeah, that's just
the ticket, DUmmies. Leading into the midterm elections, make complete
FOOLS of yourselves. This doesn't totally surprise me since the DUmmies
instantly took to this fantasy flick in which Britain is ruled by an
EVIL rightwing regime. The DUmmies have fantasized themselves in the
masked hero's role in opposing that regime (which they have transferred
to the EVIL Bush regime). So let us now watch the DUmmies once again
make laughingstocks of themselves in Bolshevik Red while the commentary
of your humble correspondent, looking for a V For Vendetta Halloween costume at the Dollar Store, is in the [brackets]:
The fifth anniversary of the September 11 hijacking attacks on America by al-Qaeda may present a challenge to our memory as a country. How much do we remember, and how much have we forgotten? No one truly expected that the national unity in grief and anger on that day would last forever. But that unity is bound together again in the new Oliver Stone-directed movie "World Trade Center."
This comes as something of a surprise with the name of Stone attached. But believe it. This movie brings 9/11 back to life all its horrific immediacy in the lives of New York Port Authority cops and their families. This film is not political. This film transports us back into that day when Democrats and Republicans sang "God Bless America" on the Capitol steps, when the whole nation felt the pain of that gaping, burning hole in the center of Manhattan, the disastrous gash in the Pentagon, and the heroic downing of jihadist hopes in a Pennsylvania field.
Despite lots of promotion from the entertainment media, the Dixie Chicks seem to have offended their fan base too much. The lefty group has been forced to cancel shows in 14 states, replacing them with Canadian ones, the AP reports:
concerts on the Dixie Chicks'"Accidents & Accusations" tour have
been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has
replaced them with other dates.
City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no
longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised
itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.
Madonna's recent glittery cross and crown of thorns during her concert tour is designed to stir outrage, but at this point in her career, it screams Desperate Housewife. But then there are always the young singers who are corrupted into imitating the routine. Probably the last one you'd expect to try Sacrilege 101 would be the girl named Charlotte Church, but obviously she's trying to live her (stage) name down. Catholic News Service reports:
The U.S. publishing company Ignatius Press has refused to sell any works by Welsh singer Charlotte Church after she called German-born Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi and mocked the Catholic Church...Church, dubbed the "Voice of an Angel" before she turned her talents to popular music, also dressed up as a nun and pretended to hallucinate while eating "communion" wafers imprinted with smiling faces signifying the drug Ecstasy.She smashed open a statue of the Virgin Mary to reveal a can of hard cider inside, said she worshipped "St. Fortified Wine," and stuck chewing gum on a statue of the childJesus.
For Laura Ingraham fans, it has been quite interesting to see her so much on Fox News lately, and watch the growth of one of America’s leading female conservatives. Conceivably, her recent success and notoriety have lead ABC to create a new television series casting “Ally McBeal” star Calista Flockhart as a conservative radio talk show host (as reported by NewsBuster Matthew Sheffield Tuesday).
With that in mind, Ingraham was on “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday, and she and Bill had some fun with this issue (hat tip to Ian at Expose the Left with video to follow). O’Reilly began, “Now, to change direction here, Calista Flockhart is teeing you off.”
There’s another sequel coming out today, and this one is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the 1994 cult classic “Clerks.” Apparently, the Motion Picture Association of America gave this unbelievably vulgar film an “R” rating instead of a stricter “NC-17,” and the movie’s writer/director/star is absolutely shocked (hat tip to Town Hall’s blog). As reported by MSNBC.com:
“Clerks II” director Kevin Smith was “shocked, literally, in shock” when his slacker sequel got an R rating. Smith had fought the tougher NC-17 rating on the first film, and was prepared for a battle on this one. “The ‘questionable’ content in ‘Clerks II’ goes beyond anything we've ever presented in a film before,” he noted. “Don't know what happened in the MPAA screening that morning, and don't need to know. All I do know is that they handed us an R, without asking for a single cut. And rather than obsess over it, I just quickly [and happily] accepted the rating and moved on.”
To give one an idea of just how vulgar this movie is supposed to be, film critic Joel Siegel actually walked out of a screening. According to the Hartford Courant, this is the first time in 30 years Siegel has done that:
It's getting harder to make a blockbuster these days, and as productions costs continue to rise, making movies is no longer financially rewarding. Superstar actors are now more talked about for their private lives than for their movies, and they face cuts in salaries as studios have to worry more about digital technology and foreign marketing.
One benefit of this, hopefully, will be that Hollywood will no longer be the purveyor of the conventional wisdom and the stars, who will not burn as brightly, will no longer have their every political opinion treated as gospel by Hollywood and national reporters.
As studios slash jobs and restructure to boost profits, Hollywood's creative and executive ranks are having a collective anxiety attack.
Walt Disney Co.'s move this week to lay off about 650 employees and revamp its Burbank studio to make fewer films only confirms what many in the entertainment industry have been stressing over for months: The movie business is shrinking.
Slapstick Politics has an excerpt from a recent Entertainment Weekly article on Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth." It turns out documentary films about global warming have a way of making people cool. This should be encouraging news for science club high schoolers around the country.
Minds are being changed, all right, and not just about global warming. Miraculously, over the past few months, An Inconvenient Truth has accomplished something many people once thought inconceivable: It's made Al Gore cool. The somber policy wonk who campaigned for president in 2000 with all those bland speeches about lockboxes is gone. He's now a hip and trendy (in a wonky sort of way) ecological activist. While promoting the movie this summer, Gore has been connecting with crowds more effortlessly and comfortably — even charismatically — than he ever did as a politician. He even found his sense of humor; turns out it's been hiding all this time inside daughter Kristin, a former comedy writer on Matt Groening's Futurama and the one responsible for Gore's gag
Another friend sent a giggle with the HBO press release on Spike Lee's forthcoming Katrina documentary. Is Spike Lee seeking a "wide range of opinions"? Bayou Buzz has details, including this piece of the press release:
Lee and his team selected nearly 100 people from diverse backgrounds, representing a wide range of opinions, to be featured in the film, including Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Harry Belafonte, Wynton Marsalis, CNN´s Soledad O´Brien, Terence Blanchard, Rev. Al Sharpton, Wendell Pierce, Sean Penn, Kanye West, local media and other New Orleans residents.
It might be a pretty big event: It "will have a world premiere August 16 in New Orleans before a potential 10,000 people. The premiere in New Orleans will be one year after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Acts I and II will be presented free of charge before a potential audience of 10,000 people at the New Orleans Arena."
The line between old-fashioned objective reporting and opinion writing is blurry enough on the big subjects like the war on terrorism and the economy, but in entertainment journalism, it’s becoming nearly impossible to differentiate between the two, especially since those who deliver this product don’t, and won’t.
Take it from me: This is a rough neighborhood to work in if you are lobbying for decency and family-friendly programming on television and regularly deal with the entertainment press. In the daytime, you’re working with reporters you assume are dedicated to telling the story in an objective and balanced manner. But when they go moonlighting on more opinionated Internet web logs, entertainment reporters often make it clear that the concept of upholding decency is a bad joke.
A colleague forwarded a press release from MTV titled "MTV News Presents: IraqUploaded To Air Friday, July 21st at 8PM (ET/PT)." The special will show how soldiers "document war" in Iraq and share it on the Web, but watch out for that "mujahideen" perspective:
In this half hour special report, MTV News’ Gideon Yago delves into this technological and social phenomenon [of soldier-made video] emerging from the front lines in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Through short videos on user generated content websites, OIF troops provide an unvarnished and unrefined perspective of the violence of combat, the relationships of men in uniform and the reality of war. “MTV News Presents: Iraq Uploaded” will air on Friday, July 21st at 8PM (ET/PT).
Editors of the New York Times, along with their allies in journalism, are defending the publication of anti-terrorism programs by declaring their actions to be in the “public interest,” making them a watchdog against what they view as excessive government power and secrecy. But the tables need to be turned. What about excessive media power and secrecy?
There’s something bizarre about the Times rushing out to protest excessive secrecy in the Bush administration – and then touting the testimony of secret sources as its evidence.
You're the boss at the New York Times. The warden at the jail holding celebrity snoop Anthony Pellicano issued an order barring anyone other than family and lawyers from seeing him. Getting a scoop with Pellicano will certainly boost newstainment sales.
Do you: A. Respect the order and write stories without talking to Pellicano. B. Appeal to a judge to lift the order. C. Send in a "reporter" with a 20 year old law degree and California State Bar credential card who may or may not have filled out a form stating "Purpose of the visit: legal" which forces Pellicano out of his cell and into "outrage."
If you answered C, you could be New York Times management.