Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ultimate Undercover Operation: Ben Shapiro Gets TV Executives To Admit That Hollywood Pushes a Liberal Agenda

If you've taken a look at Hollywood in both TV and movies over the past 40 years you surely must have noticed the liberal propaganda being pushed on us?   Ben Shapiro does the ultimate undercover operation and interviews  Hollywood TV executives under the auspice that he is a liberal.  While doing these interviews Ben Shapiro gets the Hollywood executives to admit their liberal bias and that they do indeed promote a progressive agenda as well.  All of these interviews are in his new book "Primetime Propaganda" which was released on Tuesday.  For me, this book is a must read.

The following is from the Hollywood Reporter:

[Ben Shapiro's book] "makes the case that TV industry executives, writers and producers use their clout to advance a liberal political agenda. The author bases his thesis on, among other things, 39 taped interviews that he’ll roll out piecemeal during the next three weeks." 

In one video, Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman says that when she cast Candace Gingrich-Jones, half-sister of Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the minister of a lesbian wedding, “There was a bit of ‘fuck you’ in it to the right wing.”

Kauffman also acknowledges she “put together a staff of mostly liberal people,” which is another major point of Shapiro’s book: that conservatives aren’t welcome in Hollywood.
Maybe that’s because they’re “idiots” and have “medieval minds.” At least that’s what Soap and Golden Girls creator Susan Harris thinks of TV’s conservative critics.
However, the ranks of dumb right-wingers has dwindled, according to Harris, whose video has her saying: “At least, you know, we put Obama in office, and so people, I think, are getting – have gotten – a little bit smarter.”

Some of the videos have executives making rather obvious revelations, like when Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds talk about pacifist messages in M*A*S*H or when MacGyverproducer Vin Di Bona says anti-gun messages were a recurring theme in that show.
 But an additional video has Di Bona, who also created America’s Funniest Home Videos, becoming remarkably blunt about his approval of a lack of political diversity in Hollywood. When Shapiro asks what he thinks of conservative critics who say everyone in Hollywood is liberal, Di Bona responds: “I think it’s probably accurate, and I’m happy about it.”

Another video has Leonard Goldberg — who executive produces Blue Bloods for CBS and a few decades ago exec produced such hits as Fantasy IslandCharlie’s Angels and Starsky and Hutch — saying that liberalism in the TV industry is “100 percent dominant, and anyone who denies it is kidding, or not telling the truth.”
Shapiro asks if politics are a barrier to entry. “Absolutely,” Goldberg says.

Another video rolling out soon has House creator David Shore acknowledging that "there is an assumption in this town that everybody is on the left side of the spectrum, and that the few people on the right side, I think people look at them somewhat aghast, and I'm sure it doesn't help them."
In the book, subtitled "The true Hollywood story of how the left took over your TV," Shapiro also tells anecdotes of bias against conservatives. One example is Dwight Schultz, best known for his roles as Murdock in The A-Team and Barclay in Star Trek: The Next Generation.The late Bruce Paltrow knew that Schultz was a fan of President Ronald Reagan. When Schultz showed up to audition for St. Elsewhere, a show Paltrow produced, to read for the part of Fiscus, Paltrow told him: "There's not going to be a Reagan asshole on this show!" The part went to Howie Mandel.
"Most nepotism in Hollywood isn't familial, it's ideological," Shapiro writes in the book. "Friends hire friends. And those friends just happen to share their politics."

Another video Shapiro will release shortly has producer-director Nicholas Meyer being asked point-blank whether conservatives are discriminated against in Hollywood. "Well, I hope so," he answers. Meyer also admits his political agenda for The Day After, a  TV movie he directed for ABC that was seen by 100 million people when it aired in 1983.
"My private, grandiose notion was that this movie would unseat Ronald Reagan when he ran for re-election," Meyer says.

Even seemingly harmless shows like Happy Days and Sesame Street have been used to advance a progressive agenda, according to Shapiro.
For example, William Bickley, a writer on The Partridge Family and a producer on Happy Days, says he infused Vietnam War protest messages into the latter. “I was into all that kind of masturbation,” he says in a soon-to-be-released video.
"Television has been perhaps the most impressive weapon in the left's political arsenal," Shapiro argues in the book.
Other upcoming videos include:  Family Ties creator Gary David Goldberg explaining how he tried to make Republican character Alex Keaton the bad guy but that actor Michael J. Fox was too darn lovable; and president of MTV Networks Entertainment Group Doug Herzog talking about his network having “superpowers” when it comes to its influence over young people.
The advancement of a gay and lesbian political agenda is mentioned by multiple executives, including  Marcy Carsey, a producer of Soap and Roseanne, and Desperate Housewivesproducer Marc Cherry, who is a rarity in Hollywood: a gay Republican.In her video, Carsey also says she insisted on portraying characters smoking marijuana inThat ‘70s Show. “If this is a problem for you, we certainly understand, and we just won’t do the show,” she told executives at Fox.
Shapiro released two videos Tuesday, one featuring COPS creator John Langley saying he’s partial to segments where white people are the criminals, and the other has Fred Silverman, the former head of ABC and later NBC, saying “there’s only one perspective, and it’s a very progressive perspective” in TV comedy today. (Those videos are also posted below).
Shapiro said the executives felt comfortable talking about politics with him because they assumed, incorrectly, that he is on the left.

“Most of them didn’t Google me. If they had, they would have realized where I am politically,” he said. “I played on their stereotypes. When I showed up for the interviews, I wore my Harvard Law baseball cap — my name is Ben Shapiro and I attended Harvard, so there’s a 98.7 percent chance I’m a liberal. Except I happen not to be.”
Shapiro said he’ll time the debut of certain videos for maximum effect. One that slams Sean Hannity, for example, is reserved for his scheduled appearance on Hannity’s show on the Fox News Channel.
And conservative pundit Ann Coulter has a new book out June 7. “I have two people ripping her by name, so I’ll release those the day Ann’s book is released,” Shapiro said.
One of those slamming Coulter is George Schlatter, who directed and produced Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in the 1970s, using the show to knock Republicans and the Vietnam War. “The fact we pissed the Pentagon off, that pleased me enormously,” he says before calling Coulter “the c-word.” In his video, Schlatter also goes off on right-wing radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham.
Shapiro says he didn’t disclose that he’d be releasing the tapes, but that his subjects have no reason to complain.“I asked them for permission to tape, and there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy when you’re being interviewed for a book,” he said.“If they’re going to be shocked at something, it should be themselves, not me,” Shapiro said. “They should be shocked that opinion is so one-sided in Hollywood that it’s OK to say, ‘I’m fine with discrimination.’”“My whole book is a plea for openness in the industry,” he added. “Hire people from the other side of the aisle once in a while, or at least stop mocking them.”

We conservatives all know that Hollywood has a liberal political bias but now this is confirmation from the horses mouths.


Pedaling said...

I love how the right is FINALLY getting aggressive. It's time to expose the truth. This is going to be interesting.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

But then we knew this. It's quite evident in many TV shows. I choose not to watch them. I believe many of the new ones are disappearing through poor ratings because so many like myself won't watch them. The newest is a spin-off of Criminal Minds with Janeane Garofalo. It should be Obvious why I won't watch that one.

Most Rev. Gregori said...

Nothing new here. I think we all knew it all along. When there is a huge smelly pile of poop sitting in your living room, it is awfully hard to disguise it.

The Conservative Lady said...

I'm with Odie...I like the show "Criminal Minds", but I won't watch the spin off with Garofalo just because she's in it.
It's so obvious when watching a show and a little dig get thrown in. "Law & Order" used to be guilty of that and now I don't watch that show it still on?
That kind of stuff alienates viewers.

Teresa said...


I am in full agreement with you.

Odie & TCL - I watch "Criminal Minds" also and have watched the spin-off because I love the crime dramas but I do know what you mean about poor ratings due to people turning off their TV because of an Leftist agenda being driven. I also stopped watching Law & Order (the original) before it went off the air this year. I don't watch many of the new shows except those two, NCIS, and NCIS: LA so I guess I give myself a little latitude with regards to watching those few shows which might have a liberal slant to them.

Teresa said...

Most Rev. Gregori,

Your right, when there is something that smells it stinks to high heaven today.

cube said...

We've complained about the bias for years, but it's nice to have clips of these producers actually admitting to it.

BTW I grew up watching these shows and I'm a conservative so I wonder just how effective this programming is when the audience has critical thinking skills.

I don't watch "Criminal Minds", but I do enjoy "Law & Order: Special Victims" and "L&O:Criminal Intent" reruns on cable. Yeah, they have their digs, but they're cheap shots and are hardly going to make me a liberal.

I think we're better off teaching our kids to discern the liberal crap from the entertainment.

Teresa said...


You make a great point about critical thinking skills. Many today are not taught critical thinking skills in schools today probably because if they were then that would pose a threat to the liberal agenda.

Malcolm said...

Although it's probably true that liberals outnumber conservatives in Hollywood, what is wrong with a director/writer injecting their political viewpoint into the work they produce? There are movies/TV shows with right-leaning messages. However, they don't offend me. If it's good I'll watch it, plain and simple. I agree with something "Cube" said: Any attempt to sway someone via TV programming won't work if one has critical thinking skills. I could watch a marathon of "King of the Hill" and it won't turn me into a staunch conservative.

I'm looking forward to reading the book because it sounds like Shapiro has an agenda. I'm interested to find out if he only interviewed liberals or if he also talked to conservatives, but omitted their comments because it didn't support his argument.

Here are some questions for you all:

1. If any of you were Hollywood execs, can you honestly say you wouldn't use your clout to put forth your political viewpoint?

2. Which shows suffered poor ratings due to people turning off their TV because of a leftist agenda being driven?

Teresa said...


Here is what I object to: As far as directors, producers, executives in Hollywood (those people who can affect what the messaging is going to be in movies or TV shows) presently there is a blackout if you are conservative and they aren't even allowed to compete in the industry, so there is ideological discrimination against those who are conservatives in the entertainment industry in Hollywood. Besides Clint Eastwood (pretty sure he's a conservative) and maybe Mel Gibson has any conservative been hired as a director etc. in Hollywood in the last 10 or even 20 years? I know there are conservatives in Hollywood who are backup people (photography et. al.) but they do not have an affect on the outcome of the messaging of the film or TV show.

There can be a funny, enjoyable, or action-packed, adventure movie or TV show geared to kids or teenagers that do not have either a conservative or liberal message. It was done in the past and can be done today without shoving an agenda down the throats of children or teenagers.

1) For kids and teenagers I probably wouldn't interject my political viewpoint but as far as adults go I would interject my political viewpoint.

2) I wasn't the person who made that claim and would have to do some research before answering your question.

Malcolm said...

Teresa: I think it's wrong for directors, producers, executives to refuse to hire people simply based on politics. It’s also sad that some conservatives have to (or feel they have to) keep their politics silent out of fear of being blacklisted. However, I can understand their reluctance to “come out” politically if they really feel doing so will make them unemployable. Despite Ben Shapiro’s book, we can't assume a conservative won't get hired just because of their political viewpoint. There could be other factors (age, lack of box office clout, typecasting, etc.) which have prevented them from getting jobs.

In addition to Eastwood and Gibson, here are some other conservative directors:

Sylvester Stallone, David Lynch, Kelsey Grammer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and David Zucker.

Although Chuck Norris isn't a director, he has written and produced. Also, Jerry Bruckheimer is one of the most high profile producers in the business. In 2003, Entertainment Weekly named him the powerful person in Hollywood.

Although the above list of conservative directors is scant, there could be others who choose (for whatever reason) to keep their politics to themselves. It’s easy to assume the reason they’d keep their politics a secret is because they fear backlash. Maybe that’s why, maybe it isn’t. Also, I think it’s possible there are liberals in Hollywood who choose not to air their political views because of a possible backlash. Some may doubt this would be a reason, but let’s consider this: they could fear a backlash from the viewing public. I have heard many conservatives say on various forums that they will boycott movies/TV shows based on the political viewpoints of the actors, directors, etc. involved. Although it’s a person’s right to take this route, I think it’s rather silly for the most part. There is no way I’m going to quit watching “Frasier” just because Kelsey Grammer is a conservative! J

Although the subject of talk radio is slightly off topic, I think it relates to your post. Last year I read a book by Bill Press titled “Toxic Talk”. Although the book may piss you off, I think it's worth reading regardless of one‘s politics. In one of the chapters, Press discusses how conservative station owners have tried to suppress progressive talk radio (despite good ratings). The chapter lists several instances of highly rated progressive talk radio stations switching to a sports format. Even though the switch meant a drop in ratings/loss of revenue, the station owners didn’t care. How is this any different from Hollywood liberals refusing to hire conservatives?

Teresa said...


I would only point out that many, if not all, of the conservative actors, producers, directors you mentioned were in Hollywood for years (when it was much more acceptable to be a conservative in Hollywood) before they came out as conservatives. Some may have already made their views known while the climate in Hollywood was less toxic to conservatives.

"Also, I think it’s possible there are liberals in Hollywood who choose not to air their political views because of a possible backlash."

I agree that it's possible but IMO seems unlikely for the most part. I haven't heard of any conservative producers et al. blacklisting liberal actors et al. I do think (depending on the content) liberals may want to stay away from what conservatives are directing - the shows, movies and the same goes for conservative actors wishing to stay away from certain types of liberal shows.

To be honest if there's a show I like I'm going to watch it no matter what and the same goes for movies. Now, there are certain actors I just don't like watching but the fact that their liberals could be a secondary factor in my not watching their movies but not the main reason for not watching them.

I'll keep an eye out for the book. Just wondering is it about Air America or other progressive talk radio hosts? The conservative talk station that I occasionally listen to here in Pittsburgh - 104.7 - at least part of the year is also relegated to airing sports radio and I know that has to affect their ratings at least a bit but even with that they've still done well in the ratings so I'm not sure whether it's just a concern for progressive radio audience or not. It might just be that there is more of a listening audience for conservative talk radio? While I am not absolutely certain that other conservative talk radio stations have the same problem I think it is more likely than not that during part of the year conservatives talk has to deal with being bumped off the radio for some sports event.

"How is this any different from Hollywood liberals refusing to hire conservatives?"

I'd have to research the reasons why the station switched to a sports format. There may be more factors that we don't know about, that went into their decision to switch formats. Well, the progressives are still being given an opportunity to express their points of view. I think the question might be why is it harder for the progressives to keep their audience? If they are having good ratings in one format why wouldn't they have good ratings in another format also? I know it's different but aren't the progressives still espousing the same basic views?

Malcolm said...

Teresa: The book "Toxic Talk" focuses mainly on conservative hosts such as Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Savage, and Levin. To give you an idea of the book's POV, the subtitle is "How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America's Airwaves". As I said, you probably won't like much of what you read, but it is still worth picking up.

However, a portion of the book does dispel the myth that progressive talk radio can't be successful. I don't have it in front of me right now, but I believe it also discusses why Air America failed. As for the dominance of right-wing talk radio, here is an interesting take by Cenk Uygur:

As you said, there could be other factors that led station owners to switch from progressive talk to a sports format. However, it wouldn't make business sense to switch if what Bill Press says is true. Also, based on Press's book, it's not a matter of progressive talk show hosts not being able to keep their audience... the station owners are pulling the plug despite their success.

By the way, I received a copy of the book "Primetime Propaganda". I haven't read it all, but I did read the section in the back that lists the best conservative shows of all time. The writer is dead wrong in his assessment that liberals hate "Leave It to Beaver". It just so happens LITB is one of my favorite sitcoms. I doubt I'm the only liberal who enjoys that show.