The “Weekly Standard” profiled libertarian-leaning conservative and political commentator turned documentarian Evan Coyne Maloney, whose new documentary about the leftist ideological indoctrination and pervasive political correctness in the US higher education system is called “Indoctrinate U”. Saturday May 19, CSPAN ran a segment about his film on the network’s “Washington Journal”, but CSPAN posts footage of the shows online (when they have it up, I'll post it. His spot is at the two-hour mark). You can see a clip of his film on YouTube as well as the film's website, Indoctrinate-U.com.
“Indoctrinate U” focuses on the pervasive trampling of free speech and thought on college campuses and traces the modern history of free expression on campuses from the ‘60s through today. The doc covers personal stories like “the Kafka-esque nightmare faced by Steve Hinkle, a student at California Polytechnic, whothe school attempted to sanction for placing a flier in the university's multicultural center announcing a speech by conservative African-American author, Mason Weaver.” It also features a professor who “excitedly tells the camera ‘whiteness is a form of racial oppression…treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity’.”
The “Weekly Standard” highlighted what the documentary covers (my emphasis throughout):
A 12 year old girl is suing the Chicago Board of Education for negligence, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress after a substitute teacher led her 8th grade class to watch the film Brokeback Mountain with the warning, "What happens in Ms. Buford's class stays in Ms. Buford's class," according to the lawsuit.
The teacher then proceeded to show the 8th grade elementary school class the R rated gay themed film; a film that garnered its rating for sexual content, language and drug use.
According to the suit, a substitute teacher introduced herself as Ms. Buford to Jessica's class at Ashburn Community Elementary School, 8300 S. St. Louis Ave. She then said, "What happens in Ms. Buford's class stays in Ms. Buford's class," the suit claims. Buford then had a student close the door, and started showing the controversial R-rated film, which features two men engaged in sex.
David German, the AP movie writer, reported that notorious liberal bomb-thrower and fact-fudger, Michael Moore “is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for taking ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers to Cuba for a segment in his upcoming health-care documentary 'Sicko.' " The May 10 article seemed very matter of fact, but Moore and his movies were presented from the perspective that the filmmaker is controversial but accurate and is persecuted by his “adversaries.”
The AP indicated that the Treasury Department is investigating Moore because he did not follow the law. The AP obtained a copy of a letter, dated May 2, sent by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which informed Moore that it was investigating potential violations of the US trade embargo which restricts US travel to Cuba. According to an unnamed source affiliated with “Sicko,” this past February, Moore took ill Ground Zero workers to Cuba for “treatment” (my use of irony quotes because Cuba used new and unproven procedures. Emphasis mine throughout):
"This office has no record that a specific license was issued authorizing you to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba," Dale Thompson, OFAC chief of general investigations and field operations, wrote in the letter to Moore.
Kids and parents love the highly-successful series of “Shrek” movies, starring Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers and many others. “Shrek the Third” opens May 18, and that means the cast is on a promotional tour. Several cast members gave an interview to Michael Ordona for the Tribune Newspapers, which own the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times, and disclosed that “Shrek 4” might continue a relatively recent Hollywood trend.
The trend in children's movies has been propagandizing them, usually about environmental issues, and it looks like the the upcoming “Shrek 4” will be no different, especially if Diaz has anything to say about it.
Cameron Diaz wants “Shrek 4” to involve an eco-friendly story line about a threatened swamp environment. Fellow cast members Myers, Julie Andrews and Amy Poehler are also in the below interview excerpt where Diaz revealed her propagandist goal (emphasis mine):
Reminiscent of an earlier review of "Spider-Man 3" that complained about the American flag's cameo in the superhero blockbuster, Times of London film critic James Christopher added "Sunday School morality" as a black mark against the action flick.
This incessant Tom and Jerry action makes it impossible to actually
care. The Sunday School morality, and the inevitable flash of the
American flag, are perfectly irritating. It’s extraordinary how often
the third movie of a tent-pole franchise fails to deliver, in this case
by trying to deliver too much. It’s hardly the kiss of death for Raimi,
but with a budget as huge as his the pressure is surely on to pull in
more than $400 million.
That's much harsher than critic Leo Lewis, who said it was "disappointing" that director Sam Raimi was unable "to end the romp without a fleeting shot of the American flag."
You'd think that by now the left would have abandoned the ludicrous argument that businesses are inherently conservative. Simply untrue. There is so much evidence that this is not the case such as how most public TVs are tuned to CNN, not FNC, or how conservative books generally get worse placement at bookstores compared to liberals ones.
Via LGF, I learned of another proof of this: Virgin Airways is showing a 9/11 conspiracy film, "Loose Change," as the in-flight movie to some travelers. There's contact info for Virgin at Charles's entry.
Update 16:14. To keep track of these types of stories, I've made a new category for it "Corporate liberalism." Use our feedback form to send us examples of this when you see or read about it.
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
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:
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 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.
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:
Cinematical.com reports that the Egyptian production company, Good News, has an Osama Bin Ladin bio-pic in the pipeline. Last year, Good News made the very successful award-winning “The Yacoubian Building,” which was the most expensive film ever produced in Egypt. Now Good News is ready to tackle one of the most controversial figures in the world today, Osama Bin Ladin.
The movie is meant to appeal to Western audiences as well as those in Egypt and will “frame” the script for sensitive Westerners. Adeeb and Good News are trying to make films more palatable for Americans to swallow and the Bin Ladin bio is no exception (my emphasis throughout):
Although it didn’t get a lot of publicity – conceivably for what will end up being obvious reasons – there was a conference held last weekend by a bunch of “environmental lawyers.” Not so surprisingly, the topic of global warming was – forgive the pun – a hot one.
Yet, maybe most fascinating was that the conference’s sponsor, the American Bar Association, actually invited members of the press – mostly believers with apparently only one skeptic I might add – to address how the views of global warming alarmists need to “percolate through the media pipeline and into general public awareness.”
One such media member seemed so disappointed about the public's lack of concern about this issue that she actually stated:
"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.":
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.
UPDATE (March 9 | 13:35 EST): A very reliable source sent along an updated list that reflects 19 additional Gore critics within the scientific community. I've uploaded that new list to the media server. It's in Microsoft Excel format (29.5 KB).
On the March 5 "Hannity & Colmes," the conservative co-host ran
a scroll of nearly 80 scientists who say Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is misleading hysteria. My colleague Dan Gainor wrote about that here and here.
Well, yesterday a reader sent along a comprehensive listing of those 76 experts and after checking into it, decided to pass it along to you.
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.
Most people who tune in to morning TV "news" programs know the unbearable lightness of the product, full of celebrity cotton candy and tragic tales of tabloid woe, of climbers lost on mountains and teenagers lost in the tropics. So it was a little shocking to be diverted from that maudlin box of info-bon bons known as the Anna Nicole Smith deathmatch to questions on the grand and glorious subject of Biblical anthropology, and a "discovery" of the alleged bones of Jesus.
Why this whiplash-inducing change of subject? It's sad but true that the "Today" crew went into promotional hyperdrive for the Discovery Channel special on the alleged bones of Jesus because someone spread Hollywood glitter on it -- James Cameron, the director of "Titanic." (Christians are joking among themselves that Cameron doesn't seem to know who the real King of the World is.) The Cameron connection has been a constant attraction for The Discovery Channel.
Al and Tipper Gore just consented to an interview with Ryan Seacrest on the E! pre-Oscar festivities. (First question: Tipper's wearing Bill Blass, Al Gore reluctantly noted he's wearing Ralph Lauren.) The goofiest answer was when Seacrest asked Gore, "if you were to cast an actor to play the lead in 'The Al Gore Story,' who would you pick?" Gore quipped, "I don't know, maybe William Hung," the infamous "American Idol" reject who mangled Ricky Martin's "She Bangs." Seacrest laughed and said "I love it, I mean, the 'Idol' reference!" When Seacrest asked if that performance was one of his favorites, he said it was "right up there," and then said "no, no, no" and insisted that his favorite song is the lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge's song "I Need to Wake Up." Guess why? It's up for an Oscar for its inclusion in Gore's film. Lyrics, please:
And as a child I danced like it was 1999 My dreams were wild The promise of this new world Would be mine Now I am throwing off the carelessness of youth To listen to an inconvenient truth
Actor Forest Whitaker stars in "The Last King of Scotland," the acclaimed biopic about Uganda's bloodthirsty dictator Idi Amin, who is thought to have killed over 300,000 of his countrymen during a reign that was cruel even by the standards of African dictatorships. New York Times' Africa correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman went to Kampala for the red carpet opening and made Sunday's front page with "A Film Star in Kampala, Conjuring Amin's Ghost."
"Mr. Whitaker said it was enormously helpful to walk through the actual places Amin haunted and meet actual people he victimized.
Brent Bozell's culture column this week centers on those Hollywood sore thumbs called Walden Media, who have made family-friendly and faith-friendly films. Brent told me it was a "V-8 idea," a slap-your-forehead business proposition to serve an underserved market of religious families with children. The new Walden project is the movie "Amazing Grace," as Brent explained:
It is a sad reality: Very few adults, and virtually no child can recognize the name William Wilberforce, the man Abraham Lincoln claimed was known to “every school boy” in America in 1858. Then there’s this: “Amazing Grace” is the most recognizable hymn in the land – but how many people can tell you its origin? To the rescue comes Walden again, with the movie “Amazing Grace,” which tells the true, and beautiful story of William Wilberforce, the brilliant British orator and parliamentarian who fought relentlessly to ban the slave trade in Great Britain and who ultimately succeeded, against all odds, decades before the United States fought a bloody civil war to do the same.
Diamonds don't cause conflicts in Africa, bands of armed thugs do. But you wouldn't know that if you followed the media's slant on "conflict diamonds," which, much like stories on gun control, often blame the object instead of the evil person misusing it.
After avoiding politics the previous day, the ladies on Thursday's The View seemingly compensated for their lost time. Joy Behar led the way first calling for more political speeches at the Oscars, then cheered for Gore’s nomination, apologized for Joe Biden, Rosie said she’d never run for office, and took the solemnity of a political columnist’s death to attack President Bush.
Barbara Walters returned from Los Angeles where she interviewed some Oscar nominees for her upcoming Academy Awards special. Joy Behar wants more nominees to shove their opinions on all Americans.
Joy Behar: "I pray that somebody is controversial and assertive. I pray it. Because, it’s so tedious otherwise, you know. Thank you, thank you, my piano teacher. Who cares? Say something political and interesting."
Hollywood types speak gauzily of their "art," even if nothing seems to fit the definition of some of this "art" better than "films almost no one wants to watch." Robert Redford became a hero of the "art" film world by founding the Sundance Institute in 1981, based on the call for "creative risk-taking" and "nurturing the diversity of artistic expression." But the search for risk-taking-cum-creative diversity is a hopeless free-fall into the abyss, and all too often, and too predictably, results in creative perversity. What Mapplethorpe brought to the photograph, Redford’s festival is now bringing to the silver screen.
The 2007 Sundance festival has reached a new low with a strange, yet highly publicized film called "Zoo." No, it isn’t about giraffes and hippos. "Zoo" is about "zoophiles" – you know, humans who like sex with animals. The documentary explores the activities of a group of men in the Pacific Northwest who engaged in bestiality. To be precise, they engaged in sex with Arabian stallions – until a man died from a perforated colon in 2005.
Based on what Times Watch has read, “Friends of God: A Road Trip With Alexandra Pelosi,” the documentary on Christian evangelicals airing on HBO tonight (Pelosi being the daughter of you-know-who) seems more respectful than the contemptuous anti-Christian commentary it's generated, including a paragraph Thursday from television critic Alessandra Stanley.
Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin is blogging from the annual Television Critics Association tour, and found some hot talk in recounting the Clintonista war against ABC's movie on 9/11.
Asked during his appearance on the TV critics' tour if he was embarrassed that the network had to "backpedal" on its Clinton-unfriendly movie The Path To 9/11, [ABC programming chief Stephen] McPherson took no prisoners -- particularly when it came to Clinton's national security adviser Sandy Berger, one of the film's chief critics. "We didn't backpedal," McPherson said. "We aired the movie. We didn't change anything for those guys. We aired it as planned on the dates that were planned. I mean, it's a little odd to have Sandy Berger telling you about what's truthful or not when he was indicted for stuffing documents into his pants on this very subject."
CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer interviewed Oscar-favored actress Helen Mirren for Sunday, and CBS sent out press materials highlighting her fondness for nude scenes. She even suggested she and Safer do their interview naked. At his routinely liberal blog for Broadcasting & Cable magazine, reporter John Eggerton applauded the silly idea as "a stroke of genius" in flouting those dictators downtown at the FCC:
For one brief shining moment I was ready to celebrate one of the gutsiest programming moves in recent years, one calculated to suggest the ludicrousness of a fixation on nudity. With CBS fighting the FCC's indecency crackdown, what a stroke of genius to have both Safer and Mirren in the nude for their interview about how Mirren, and her mother, think her past nude scenes (Caligula, Calendar Girls) are no big deal...