Thursday, 31 July 2008


Ken Berwitz

Here is a terrific article by Scott Johnson of, detailing the damage Hollywood personalities do to their careers by expressing thoughts outside the leftwing orthodoxy.  By all means click on the links, especially the one that leads you to Jeffrey Wells' commentary (along with his suckup supporters' comments) so you can see how deep it runs:

Midnight conservative

Early in his career, Jon Voight must have been stationed somewhere on the far left of the Hollywood crowd. When he came up to Dartmouth in the spring of 1970 for a showing of "The Revolutionary," he clearly identified with the film's hero. In the question-and-answer session following the showing of the film, Voight explained in all seriousness that we should know "the revolution" was going to begin in Washington on November 15. Voight's radicalism was obviously no impediment to his livelihood. Indeed, it may well have facilitated a career of great prominence and distinction, including an Academy Award for his performance in "Coming Home."

Voight's career withstood his foolish radicalism, but his turn to patriotism and the middle of the road has raised a red flag, so to speak, in Hollywood. In his Washington Times column condemning Barack Obama, Voight speaks from his own experience:

The Democrats have targeted young people, knowing how easy it is to bring forth whatever is needed to program their minds. I know this process well. I was caught up in the hysteria during the Vietnam era, which was brought about through Marxist propaganda underlying the so-called peace movement.

Such testimony is not appreciated in Hollywood, where it has elicited a remarkable column by Jeffrey Wells. Wells comments:

[I]t's only natural that industry-based Obama supporters will henceforth regard him askance. Honestly? If I were a producer and I had to make a casting decision about hiring Voight or some older actor who hadn't pissed me off with an idiotic Washington Times op-ed piece, I might very well say to myself, "Voight? Let him eat cake."

What's going on here? Roger Simon explores the phenomenon in "Hollywood's new blacklist," an excerpt from his forthcoming book. My friend Andrew Breitbart calls on the experience of his father-in-law Orson Bean to explain in "Blacklist then and now." Bean is a former Communist and current conservative. Bean has suffered under both the old and new regimes in Hollywood. Andrew has previously cited Bean's testimony that it's harder now to be an open conservative on a Hollywood set now than it was to be a Communist back then in the 1950's. In his Washington Times column this week, Andrew quotes Bean:

"When the blacklist hit, I saw actors walk across the street to avoid me. The doorman at 485 Madison Avenue (former CBS headquarters) turned his back as I walked by. But I never felt hated by the ring-wing blacklisters. They just felt we were terribly wrong," he said.

"These days, the left doesn't just disagree with right-wingers - they hate them. People actually shudder when I tell them I'm a Republican. I should have to carry a bell and yell, 'unclean.' It doesn't bother me, though. I've been on both ends. Being hated is like voodoo. It only works if you feel hated. And I just won't. I know it will pass."

I don't know how Jon Voight feels, but Jeffrey Wells seems representative of the current Hollywood state of mind described by Bean.

Funny thing, though;  the same Hollywood that has spent over 50 years doing theatrical and tv material about the blacklist of the 50's, has not done a single thing about its contemporary counterpart.  Now why do you suppose?

I'm guessing we'll see a flurry of activity on today's Hollywood blacklist just about the time when they make the first film about our actions In Afghanistan and Iraq that casts the USA in a positive light.  

Of course, in fairness, this could take some time.  Hell, all we did was remove the taliban and saddam hussein from power, liberate 50 million people and allow them to vote in the first free elections their countries ever had.  How can you expect Hollywood to find anything positive about that?


Ken Berwitz

You can always tell when a Republican candidate's strategy looks like it will be effective.  The Democratic candidate - and the media elite - quickly start trying to take it down any way they can.

Until now, the McCain campaign has tried, with much ineptitude and little success, to find a theme it can use to bring down Barack Obama. 

But the newest ad, which uses Mr. Obama's enormous celebrity status against him, appears to be a major achilles heel for Obama and is, therefore, terrifying both the Obama campaign and its media fans (which is to say most of the media). 

The idea is simple and effective.  Take those huge cheering throngs for Obama and get voters to see them in a negative rather than a positive light.   Here is how the McCain ad does it:



The story line is that Mr. Obama may be an international superstar of the first magnitude, but that doesn't mean he has any substance (this is where the Paris Hilton/Britney Spears reference kicks in).  It asks "can he lead?" and then suggests that Mr. Obama's gas and tax policies are wrong for the country.

The structure of the ad is brilliant.  Why?  Because what it seeks to accomplish (and, in my opinion, does very effectively) is turn what should be a positive for Mr. Obama into a negative.  It creates a situation in which every time footage is aired of Obama exciting large crowds and blathering out slogans about "change" (whatever that means), millions of voters will look at it less as inspirational and more as meaningless and ridiculous.

So how do media see this?  Here are two examples - one from the mainstream and one from the left wing blogosphere:

-I watched the Today show this morning and was treated to Matt Lauer interviewing a Democrat and Republican about the ad.  Before either of the two got a chance to say anything, Lauer defined the ad as "demeaning".  That was the start of his "neutral" segment.  I literally laughed out loud at the screen.

-The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins started his analysis of the ad this way:

There's a fine line between smart and clever, and a similar border between clever and stupid, and John McCain's campaign ads keep on standing on all the wrong sides. In their desperate attempts to undo the success of the overseas trip that would probably have never happened if the McCain campaign hadn't dared the Obama team to take it in the first place, McCain's ad people have decided to attempt to try to play Obama's popularity as a bad thing - comparing the candidate to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. (Which is of real benefit to Spears and Hilton!)

But even beyond the numb-nutted concept behind this ad, look at all the things that are tactically wrong with it.......

There are many other examples like this.  You can easily find them on your own if you care to.

The bottom line for Mr. McCain?  When the people who are against you attack your ad this way, your ad is working. 


UPDATE:  Incredibly, the latest effort at neutralizing the McCain "Paris Hilton" ad appears to be that it is racist!  I call that incredible because there is no mention or allusion to race in it.

Here's some sound advice for the Obama camp:  Every time you scream "racism" about something that has no racial component to it, you define your own candidate as being in the same boat as people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.  And that is guaranteed to lose him votes.


Ken Berwitz

They're coming thick and fast now.  Here are the latest:

Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what theyre going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, hes not patriotic enough, hes got a funny name, you know, he doesnt look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.

Okayyyyyyy, let's see how this quote, which is all of 54 words, shakes out:

-No one thinks Bush or McCain has real answers?   NO ONE?  That's obviously ridiculous because, if you believe the polls, Obama and McCain are dead even.  Obama's "look at me I act just like a President" tour did exactly nothing for him.  Here are three polls, all released today, as evidence:

. In the Rasmussen poll, his one day bounce to a 6% lead on Sunday(46% - 40%) is now back to 2%.  That is less than the 4% lead he had before his trip started;

. In the Gallup poll, his one day bounce to a 9% lead on Monday ((49%-40%) is now 45%-44%.  That is less than the 3% lead he had before his trip started; 

. The Quinnipiac poll shows that McCain has erased most of Obama's lead in three all-important swing states, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

-They're going to try to make you scared of me?  I challenge you to show me a McCain ad that tries to do that.  You can't, because it doesn't exist.  Obama made this up out of thin air.

-You know, he's not patriotic enough?  Mr. Obama was nailed for refusing to wear a flag pin (until he realized it lost him votes and then started to) and was photographed not bothering to put his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance while every other politician on the stage did so.  Both of those accusations are demonstrably true.  But I have never heard McCain or any of his campaign people use the term "Unpatriotic" to describe Barack Obama.  Have you?

-He's got a funny name, you know?  Show me one quote of McCain or anyone on his campaign staff who ever said that.  You can't, because they didn't.  Like the "scared" comment, Obama made it up out of thin air.

-And my personal favorite:  "He doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills":

. How many presidents are there on dollar bills?  Do we get an assortment?  The last time I checked George Washington was the only one;

. All those OTHER PRESIDENTS?  He is literally referring to himself as President by saying this.  Read the quote again, remembering that its entire contents is supposed to detail what is being said about Mr. Obama personally.

Count 'em up, folks.  See how many gaffes and lies are in that 54 word quote.

Now, do yourself a favor and do not hang by your thumbs waiting for almost any part of mainstream media to look through, enumerate and expose these gaffes and lies.

Hey, that's what we have keith olbermann for.  I'm sure he'll do it.  That man is a paragon of evenhandedness, right?


Ken Berwitz

John Edwards apparently has fathered a love child with his mistress, while his wife is fighting cancer. 

Remember when Newt Gingrich brought divorce papers for his wife to sign while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer (yes, she was recovering and survived it)?  From then on, through the rest of Gingrich's political career and afterwards as well, media have not stopped reminding us of what a disgrace he is.

Well now we have John Edwards taking on a mistress and producing a child, as his cancer-ridden wife fights to stay alive -- with her survival seriously in doubt.  And those same media are burying the story for him and his party.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.

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