MSNBC daytime anchor Craig Melvin took minor detours in interviews this afternoon with director Ron Howard and actress Jane Lynch to ask both celebrities to weigh in on President Obama's push for higher taxes on upper income earners.
Both of them are liberals who support Obama and have given to Democrats in the past, so their answers were hardly surprising.
[Video courtesy of MRCTV editor Bob Parks embedded below the page break]
"Good Morning America" continued its hyping of "Angels & Demons" on Tuesday, a film that accuses the Catholic Church of participating in a brutal massacre of a secret society. While talking to director Ron Howard, GMA co-host Diane Sawyer mostly glossed over the film's controversial elements and again referred to the movie as a "great, spiritual scavenger hunt."
She prompted the director to spin himself as not wanting a fight, saying, "And you're relieved. 'Cause I read somewhere you said, 'I don't like controversy.'" At no point did she mention Catholic League President William Donohue and his organization's opposition to the film or the nasty column Howard wrote on the Huffington Post where he attacked, "I guess Mr. Donohue and I do have one thing in common: we both like to create fictional tales, as he has done with his silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda" (referring to the group's criticism of the film).
When the conglomerates behind the viciously anti-Catholic book "The DaVinci Code" were looking for a director, Newsweek reported Ron Howard had a secret weapon: his aw-shucks child-star Opie Taylor likeability. "Ron is not a polarizer," said one. "We all knew the book was quite controversial, and we were ready for that. But we didn’t want to add to it."
In that same article in 2006, it became clear that Howard wasn’t going to make the film less vicious (or less filled with historical lies and distortions) than the book. There would be "no placating. It would be ludicrous to take on this subject and try to take the edges off. We’re doing this movie because we like the book." (Emphasis his.)
This is where the aw-shucks routine goes out the window. It’s one thing to say you like a good mystery with historical overtones. It’s another thing to say you like a fiction book that paints the Catholic Church as an evil nest of lying murderers conspiring to protect the lie that Jesus Christ is God.
Film director Ron Howard is “very optimistic” about the future of America, so long as the nation makes an “adjustment,” to fulfill his hope a “more progressive” nation will mean “at a certain point I don't think we'll be so consumed with being the pre-eminent super-power and, you know, driven by sort of militarism and this need to export, you know, democracy.” Howard's reasoning, on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher, came in response to Maher's formulation that America has “seen better days. We're sort of in place that has made a lot of people nervous. Some people would say this country has jumped the shark.”
Howard, who is out promoting 'Angels & Demons,' a sequel to 'The Da Vinci Code,' replied: “I'm a very optimistic person and I don't want to feel like there isn't growth, but there needs to be an adjustment anyway.” He proceeded to credit the insights he gained working on his movies with Europeans: “I've actually spent a lot more time in Europe and working with crew members and actors and understanding how they live and how they think.” Howard predicted “our lives are going to be better” because “we're going to be more progressive.”
Director Ron Howard appeared for a C-SPAN Washington Journal interview Monday morning on Capitol Hill with British screenwriter Peter Morgan to discuss their new film Frost/Nixon, based on Morgan’s play on the 1977 interviews between British TV star David Frost and the Republican president who resigned. The jarring moment came near the end, when C-SPAN host Steve Scully asked "For a generation who doesn’t remember Nixon or these interviews, what do you want them to come away with?"
Howard replied that Nixon’s crimes were "quaint" compared to the current administration: "Well, it’s a great drama. It doesn’t have a political axe to grind, and yet you know, it speaks to democracy, the media, the way it all works in the modern era. The only thing that’s kind of quaint about the story at all is the fact that, you know, uh, that the Nixon crimes pale by comparison, with uh, with uh, um, um, [picks up pen] you know, what we’ve been reading about and hearing about in the last few years. Uh, and yet, it also reminds us that abuse of power at any level cannot be accepted, and, so if there’s a political point to be made, you know, I’d say it’s nonpartisan, but that’s the point."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith discussed a pro-Obama video created by actor/director Ron Howard with fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez: " You ever look at the -- Will Ferrell's website?...Well, there's some pretty interesting stuff on there from time to time...Look at -- take a look at this." In the video, posted on Will Ferrell’s website Funny or Die, Howard plays some of his past well-known television roles, Opie from the Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham from Happy Days:
RON HOWARD: When I'm a grown-up, I sure would like to vote for somebody as good as Mr. Obama.
ANDY GRIFFITH: Well, if you stay healthy and strong, avoid any felonies and stay away from the butterfly ballot, I bet you'll get a chance.
HENRY WINKLER: And after we vote, you want to double date?
WINKLER: My friend Janet Powcowski she's got this girl friend from Alaska.
HOWARD: You mean the girl who shoots moose?
WINKLER: Wait a minute. Shoots moose? I thought she said she was loose.
CNN, following in the footsteps of ABCNews.com’s overblown take on the subject, couldn’t help but to insert snotty language into its report on the Catholic Diocese of Rome’s denial to the filming of the movie adaptation of Dan Brown’s "Angels and Demons." CNN international correspondent Jennifer Eccleston, closing her report on Thursday’s "American Morning," labeled the Church’s refusal, based on "The Da Vinci Code" book and movie’s bashing of the Catholic faith, "a big problem in Rome, where some sins are just too grave to be forgiven -- even if they're for art's sake."
"Sins" that are "just too grave to be forgiven" calls to mind Matthew 12:32, where Jesus Christ refers to blasphemy against the Holy Ghost as a sin that won’t be forgiven "neither in this world, nor in the world to come." It isn’t certain that Eccleston had this scriptural quotation in mind, but she certainly gave the impression that the Church is being "un-Christian" for not letting Ron Howard and Tom Hanks film there.