By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
I'm not sure what to make of this.
I've chuckled for years at the conservatives' obsession with the alleged liberal media bias, and I would get an even bigger laugh out of the notion of Hollywood's "bias." Since the "left coast" is full of liberals, the argument goes, everything emanating from it must be full of either sinister political messages or out-and-out assaults upon the culture, all designed to brainwash Americans into becoming either Sodom or Gomorrah, I can never remember which.
Conservatives are sufficiently obsessed that they put together lists of best conservative movies. And if you Google "best liberal movies" you get ... lists put together by conservatives of "liberal" movies they either really hate or actually kind of like.
I always found the conservative obsession particularly amusing because they're bemoaning the work of their beloved free market. The Dark Knight wasn't the dark and violent highest-grossing movie in 2008 because of some Hollywood conspiracy (quite the opposite: NRO ranks it the 12th best conservative movie of all time) but because people voted with their pocketbooks. Temptation Island, remember, was broadcast on Fox, while the conservatives on Fox News Channel probably railed against it. Fox does good business and knows that both Temptation Island and FNC sell.
Anyway. It turns out there really is a Thank You f or Smoking-style Hollywood conspiracy to embed subtle (or not so subtle) messages into Hollywood entertainment. And it's being run by—wait for it—Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Well almost: According to the New York Times, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which has gotten a bunch of Buffett money as well) has been working as a "behind-the-scenes influencer of public attitudes toward [health and education] issues by helping to shape story lines and insert messages into popular entertainment like the television shows 'ER,' 'Law & Order: SVU' and 'Private Practice.' The foundation's messages on H.I.V. prevention, surgical safety and the spread of infectious diseases have found their way into these shows."
Like I said at the top, I'm not even sure what to make of this. The Gates Foundation appears to be conveying indisputably positive messages (organ donation is good!). And ultimately the market dictates what succeeds (so whether or not the messages are nefarious is irrelevant if the television is bad), which is ... what it is. But there's something creepy about this. Thank God the liberal media exposed it.
I guess I won't worry too much until the cops on Law & Order start trashing Macintosh and praising Windows Vista.
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