If you are someone toting even a modicum of conservatism in your saddlebag of viewpoints, you are more than familiar with media bias. To call the majority of the press “slanted” is to call a Park City double-black diamond slope “angular.” But there is another media offshoot that is less recognized while unsurprisingly biased.
I am not delivering breaking news to suggest the left-leaning reporters and reviewers covering the very leftist-entrenched entertainment industry have an agenda. Of note though is how those scribes on the Hollywood beat have become no less tormented by the recent election, to sometimes amusing results.
I have written in this sector for years now, and I can say most writers therein operate from a standpoint that Democrat-Liberal views are the correct stance. Have I felt at times that I had to withhold revealing my conservative positions for fear of being denied work? Sure. That is how widespread liberalism is on staffs. I am not bemoaning this. I chose this sector, so I would abide as needed. However, it also granted me an opportunity. As I began covering the business side of Hollywood, I often was able to see aspects of the economics fewer noted. This sometimes led to praise for being uniquely objective.
Now I don’t suggest they always proselytize in their work, but when the occasion arises, many do not hesitate to inject their position as the norm. This is something that is rising with ridiculous results in the wake of the election. In a fashion similar to the many celebrities melting the shimmer off of their trophies with Trump-derangement, Hollywood journalists are also becoming irrational in growing fashion.
It took almost no time. We just need to look at some reviews for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” As the film debuted in December, Salon could not refrain from injecting the election into its analysis. “It is a perfect movie, in its own way, to take us through the transition from the era of Barack Obama to the era of Donald Trump.” No less imbalanced was Variety, stating “Rogue One Is the Most Politically Relevant Movie of the Year.” The racial mixture of the cast is supposedly a shot across the bow to followers of the man yet-to-be inaugurated.
Beyond the hysterics is the way seasoned entertainment reporters allow their emotional torment to eclipse professional assessment. All they would need to do is take a deep breath and ponder. These films are years in the making, and their development in no way was formed as a commentary on the new Presidency. Trump’s triumph was secured mere weeks prior to the release of a blockbuster special-effects epic. “Rogue One” was no more an indictment on Donnie than “The Secret Life Of Pets.”
“Hidden Figures” was another title released a couple of weeks after the election, with a storyline set in the 1960s. So OF COURSE The Daily Beast saw this film as a message to Trump’s America. In December, Esquire looked back to declare the film “Hell or High Water” – released in August – foretold the election: “(The film) imagined the destructive lengths to which a certain set of people would go to hold onto something they’d always felt was theirs.” Uh, sure it did.
Another film stoking the emotions of film writers was “Patriots Day,” the dramatization of the Boston Marathon bombings. I was certain the title alone would be enough to set off certain writers, and experience had me seeking out whether a favored word would be invoked in describing the film. They did not disappoint.
● THE VERGE: This movie caters to a jingoism that the political right has spent eight years defending from the withering gaze of an incredibly enlightened President.
● THE ATLANTIC: It’s the glimpses of something more complicated than jingoism that really linger.
Much pragmatism is lost in the arrival to this use. The story depicts us as not a nation injecting our values but one being attacked. Also of a small matter: It’s a true story! Hard to suggest agitprop was in play when this was based on actual events.
But the high-minded need to display their intellectual heft, and if there is an indication of pro-America values, some will have to tamp down that poisonous message. The arrival of a president they did not support will not only expand the editorializing, it likely will be more unhinged. Their objective coverage of the arts will display more of this skewed interpretation “in the Trump era.”
It may be an era lasting eight years if this imbalanced commentary becomes more normalized.