Art has been imitating life and then putting its own spin on it since Adam and Eve. So why was everyone so surprised when on the season premiere of CSI on CBS the episode contained the subject matter of a domestic terrorist bomber? Played by Justin Bieber I might add!?!
And why am I writing about this you might inquire?
Get this. After the episode aired, Tea Party members lined up outside CBS studios to protest the airing of this broadcast. Yup. Apparently they and some in the media felt that both CBS and CSI were using this episode as anti-Tea Party propaganda, even though the Tea Party movement was never mentioned by name in the episode. Further, some questioned whether Justin Bieber was being used to take a swing at the Tea Party!!! I kid you not.
OK folks, reality check.
I live in Los Angeles, a stone’s throw from a little place called Hollywood. The mecca of the film and TV industry. Was CBS and CSI using Bieber? Yes! For ratings. It is common on season premieres or finales for TV shows to use big names. First lady Michelle Obama was on Sesame Street, Matt Damon and Julianne Moore have been on 30 Rock, Sharon Stone and numerous others have appeared on Law & Order, etc.
CSI having Justin Bieber on was a win-win for the celeb and the network. For Bieber it brings a big paycheck and shows the world he might be able to act as well as sing. For the network, it brings all those young teens who swoon over Bieber and some of their moms who swoon as well. They hope for a high hit in the ratings and for 13-26 weeks additional approval for new episodes. And they hope those young teen fans of Bieber’s will become future CSI audience members for years to come, simply for having him on. Bottom line? Yes, it’s the bottom line. Fame and cash. For Bieber, for CSI, and for CBS.
Now as for Bieber being used … I can’t believe I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. But in the more than 23 years I have been a radio talk host, I have also dabbled in acting. I have appeared on a few television shows, even crime dramas like CSI. (You might remember a little show called NYPD Blue?) Needless to say I know a bit about how these shows work. Bieber and his entourage (agent, publicist, manager, lawyer, mother, etc.) receive a script weeks in advance. It gives Bieber and his entourage time to request any rewrites of his character’s lines and gives him time to learn his lines so he is ready when the day of taping arrives. Bieber wasn’t taken advantage of. He knew what his lines were and who his character was. I am having a déjà vu moment going back to Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown! May I remind you Tea Party members that CSI is a television show?! And Mr. Bieber was playing a character!?!!
As for the idea that the episode was presenting the Tea Party in a negative light, wrong. There have been domestic terrorists and bombs in our lives—last March there was a Christian militia group that feds arrested who were plotting to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral, and Timothy McVeigh was involved in groups that used the same type of rhetoric heard on this episode.
Would it have been OK if it had been a Pakistani-American planting a bomb in a taxi in Times Square on the episode? Would the Tea Party have been OK with that?
I thought the Tea Party wanted to take their country back. The problem is I didn’t know CBS or CSI was holding America hostage. Maybe the Tea Party wants to take us back to the days when actors playing a married couple slept in separate beds and kept one foot on the floor. Back to the days of censorship? I thought the Tea Party was a political movement. And if they want to play this game of politics, they should have a thicker skin. There’s a little thing called the First Amendment which protects CBS and CSI for this broadcast. Maybe they want to take our country back from that as well. That freedom to express ourselves artistically through the medium of television. I don’t know. I’m confused. Confused as to who this party is. Confused as to what they want. And maybe they are also. Justin Bieber’s Canadian. Isn’t Canada a socialist country? The very thing they claim our country is headed toward under President Obama that they also want to take the country back from?