on April 5, 2011
Ben Shapiro's book is exactly what it says it is: a muckraker exposing Hollywood's extreme liberal bias in its entertainment programming. Mr. Shapiro also exposes the intent of this left wing bias is to change American public opinion to its political point of view.
The best proof of the premise of Primetime Propaganda is the numerous biographical sketches of the writers and producers of the hit programs profiled in the book. This is followed up by direct quotes from interviews the author had with these same people. The book does prove that the bias is real and it has had its intended effect of changing America's political landscape.
My only negative comment is Mr. Shapiro pours on the proof to the point of boredom. Bio after bio, quote after quote, and statement after statement is provided by the author to show that there is no doubt that his premise is proven. He even goes into depth on shows that I had, prior to reading this book, thought were non-political programs, such as, Happy Days, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Three's Company, et al.
Primetime Propaganda also displays the viciousness of the liberal elite running Hollywood. The story of Michael Moriarty, the former star of Law and Order is sickening. He lost his job because he openly opposed attempts by Janet Reno to control primetime programming. Such things happen in America, and everywhere else no doubt, but they should not. Liberal viciousness is nonpareil and Mr. Shapiro proves it.
Now for my confession, I agree with everything the book says. Every word. As you may suspect I am a conservative from a rural area of the nation. I am so conservative that I think Dancing With The Stars should be forced to put clothing on its women. Any conservative will enjoy the book, but liberals will probably burn it at one of their midnight meetings.
I'm so tired of the polarized politics in the country. Everyone on the one side thinks everyone else is a nut, and everyone on the other side thinks everyone else is a moonbat. I sit more in the middle, although I do seem to have more of a conservative leaning despite a couple key conservative beliefs I hold the opposite view on...
But I think sitting more towards the middle rather than on either side of the fringe has given me a little better overall view of the battle between left and right, and one of the things I've noticed is that the news does seem to slant quite a bit towards a left bias. And while I also knew there were a lot of popular TV shows out there that seemed written more towards the liberal point of view, I never realized just how pervasive it had been, since I watch so few TV shows.
The book starts with some of the history of the political situation in hollywood, and later goes into some show by show breakdowns and details of some of the biggest shows at various times, from The Honeymooners and Dick Van Dyke clear through Family Guy and Two and a Half Men. Some were clearly obvious, but some were less so, in the messages they communicated in the shows.
He also goes into some good points about the different ways the left dominates and maintains that domination. Through some of the chapters in the middle of the book I was expecting some seriously dry, nodding-off moments when I'd see the chapter title, but it was far more engaging, and at some points, scary, than I had anticipated, since I am one of the first people to laugh at conspiracy theories. But when he broke down the top shows that were watched by self proclaimed conservative viewers, it really did show the point that there is a paucity of conservative content, that conservatives are just turning to shows that are less liberal. that they have no options but to choose shows that are "closest to being apolitical or at least not openly insulting to conservatives."
Some of the details seem to be stretching to make a point though, such as a 1979 study that had one week with over 800 "depictions" of sex incidents, but only 4 of those were actual depictions of implied intercourse... The rest were innuendo or language referencing it. To me, these examples, while factual, seem to really reach to prove the point.
I did really like the chapters about government and hollywood though, because I had seen clearly the situation through the last presidential election. These chapters had some great information I had not been at all aware of. And the section titled, "Yes, Virginia, There's Politics in Children's Television" made me laugh out loud when I got there, because with a 7 year old son, I see nothing in children's programming available other than things that swing quite a bit to the left.
Depressing though is the end where he lists the top 12 conservative shows of all time...
If you're a conservative or a middle of the road person like me, there's plenty of meat in this book to wrap your mind around.
I thought this book would be an interesting one to read since the premise is quite the bold one: for the past 40+ years, the leftist agenda has infiltrated TV - even shows you may not expect. Through the introduction and the first chapter, Mr. Shapiro kept introducing his main thesis - reminding me over and over again what the book was going to show me - and I found myself eager to actually have him get to the point (mark one against the book).
Something else off-putting: he slams his book "Porn Generation" in the introduction for making a 'moralistic argument' that is 'utterly ineffective' and fails 'miserably for one main reason: television is awesome.' Well, I guess I don't want to read that book any more (mark two against his writing). That statement though ('television is awesome') answers the comment of: "If you don't like it, turn it off." TV is an awesome drug! (I must be up front and say that our household watches little TV.)
Mr. Shapiro's explanation of why those in Hollywood criticize capitalism (a la Michael Moore) while at the same time benefitting from capitalism, is pretty plausible: vanguardism. On another level, this book explains for me personally why so much of Hollywood has a hatred of the Catholic Church (and other equally conservative religions), its teachings and its loyal followers: the liberal base of Hollywood does not allow any variation from the leftist message. Hollywood is so insular and cliquey that it simply does not allow for any outside influence or thought.
This is a well-researched, in-depth study of liberal programming and history of TV. It's often hard to see it in early shows because we are looking at those shows from our eyes colored by the past 40+ years of liberal programming. The history of the three major networks was really not all that surprising, just a confirmation of what seems obvious: NBC was started by a capitalist conservative, CBS moreso, and ABC by a die-hard liberal. "NBC became a semi-elitist mouth piece geared toward informing the public; CBS became a ratings juggernaut interested almost solely in revenue; ABC focused on sex and violence."
Mr. Shapiro also explains the small steps in the beginnings of television that started down the road towards more liberal content: creators, stars, writers, and producers that were liberal; loss of live audiences (and thus pushing the censors); the move to the West Coast; the executive-creator split; the push of sex & violence to survive the ratings; the end of profit-only TV and the beginning of social goal-oriented TV; segmented programming; leading the audience instead of mirroring the audience; just to name a few.
To be clear, the minor criticisms I have are not enough to dissuade anyone from reading this book. Your eyes will be opened by how much liberal programming has infected TV, with the help of the government, with almost a dearth of any conservative programming. Don't regret not getting this book.
Graduate of Harvard law, Shapiro proved there was a blacklist for conservatives in Hollywood in the simplest way possible.
He was blacklisted.
He had submitted a script. And everybody liked it. Until he got a call from his agent announcing that we "found your website...your political views will make it impossible for you to get a job in this town'" (p xvii).
And that was that. No glamorous jobs available unless you tow the liberal line.
Ah, hypocrisy. Because the same leftists still treat the blacklist against themselves in the 50s as one of the greatest human evils on record.
In this blistering, witty book Shapiro takes on the liberal Hollywood establishment with the gusto of a knight errant out to save the world.
Shapiro finds indisputable evidence of bias. When 'Star Trek' movie director Nicholas Meyer was asked whether "right-wingers were discriminated against in Hollywood he answered, ''Well, I hope so'" (p 62). Fred Silverman "former head of NBC, ABC, and CBS. ... (said) 'There's only one perspective. And its a very progressive perspective'" (p 61). Balcer, producer for 'Law and Order' even refused to come back to the show unless Fred Thompson, a Republican, was not on it. Apparently even the thought of having to speak to a Republican occasionally was enough to make him quake in his $1000 shoes.
Perhaps most troubling for America was the truly unfair, one-sided slant from Hollywood during the last presidential election. Oprah practically "turned her show into a yearlong infomercial" (p 305) for Obama. Stewart and Colbert and Leno used every opportunity refer to the Republicans as stupid, McCain as too old, and Palin--the sheer hatred against Palin was palpable.
No doubt about it. The entertainment industry pushed Obama in every way and in every venue they could. The idea of fair play never entered their heads.
Apparently liberals do not 'do' fair play.
Troubling also is the utterly one sided treatment of all sexual issues. As the country staggers under the consequences of a illegitimacy rate of over 40%, Hollywood liberals continue to shove promiscuity down our throats. And the harm done to children? Utter silence on that subject.
Shapiro relishes ripping to shreds the usual Hollywood lines on why nothing can be changed. The old 'turn the channel' stuff, if you don't like what you see? Right, because there are so many conservative shows on. Oh wait...
The book is worth the price for this line alone: "They've bamboozled advertisers into believing the twenty-one-year-olds with $100,000 in college debts are more valuable as consumers than fifty-five-year-olds who own their own houses and are on the verge of retirement" (p 335).
I hope this is widely read.
Wow! What a read! You will not view television the same way after reading this book. I was skeptical before reading the book and felt that this book was going to be filled with conservative paranoia. This book is well written and explains the history of television programming. It progresses from family shows to the 2008 elections. It's interesting how family programming has changed throughout the years. While documenting research and interviews, it explains how television clearly is left leaning and can and has been used to promote left wing values. The chapter discussing politics and the 2008 elections is quite insightful. The relationship between "hollywood"/ television networks and politicians is clearly outlined. Very interesting. Even some children's programming (funded by the government) is sprinkled with liberalism. I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. I am not a conservative by any means, but I still found this book insightful and thought provoking.
The liberal agenda on primetime television is pretty obvious, even to the most oblivious among us, but in this book Ben Shapiro does more than merely point that out. With a lot of wit and profound insight, he identifies what Hollywood's agenda really is and how Hollywood manages to pursue that agenda through sitcoms such as The Simpsons and Friends. Shapiro deconstructs the liberal media--which, in effect, are pretty much all the media--and explains both the strategies used and the implications. As a conservative, I found this book utterly fascinating. I have seen the constant encroachment of liberal ideas on television to the point where there are only a couple of shows I even watch anymore, and Shapiro's explanation, as a resident of the area, of the Hollywood mentality and propaganda machine clarified a lot of things for me. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding how the liberal agenda has taken over the media, and especially how the problem can be addresssed.
on March 29, 2011
I couldn't put this book down. It is well written and makes one think. I for one want my television to be entertaining, NOT indoctrinating! It's totally understandable that some of the writer's views may creep into a few episodes of a television series. but when it is done deliberately in order to push immoral views in the hopes of changing the audiences beliefs it is wrong.
Ben Shapiro does a good job making his case. It is not really his case, because we have quote after quote from the creators of shows, the writers of shows, the actors from shows and television executives who make the case themselves.
He rightly points out that many of the shows used to spread propaganda are well written, creative and done well. Sometimes the propagandistic theme is well buried in the program, but the scary part is, it is there.
The brashness of these media progandists has become greater over the years! Now I know why that I don't currently watch any television shows.
My biggest fault with this book is Shapiro's claim that Hogan's Heroes wasn't a good show!
on July 9, 2013
We already know Hollywood is totally liberal, immersed in pushing every kind of sexual perversion, but how did it get that way and what does the conservative majority in this country do to reverse this and get truly family friendly programing back on television? Ben Shapiro, in his well researched book which includes numerous interviews with television industry insiders gives us all the details concerning the problem and its solution.
For all the shows Shapiro critiques, I agree with the reviewer who says he should have reviewed "Little House On the Prairie" and "Touched By An Angel." Also what about "My Three Sons?" These were extremely popular shows. Also I disagree with the author that all conservatives watch the television trash that calls itself entertainment. Nobody I know does. I haven't watched it in years, and the longer I stay away from it the more repulsive it becomes.
I agree with Shapiro that television as we know it is a thing of the past. Stuck in their liberal rut, trashing and ostracizing talented conservative writers, technicians and others and unfairly keeping them from working in tinsel town, they are set to self destruct. The internet with its freedom of choice as to viewing material and also the cable networks with their variety of shows with no political message written into their script have made their demise inevitable. I also agree with Shapiro and Glenn Beck that people need to hear a good story. We not only need cable shows like "House Hunters," cooking shows, "America's Got Talent," and more, but we also need well done movies.
on June 14, 2011
After reading about a quarter of the book I thought it was OK but fairly trivial. Yes Hollywood is leftist. I already knew that. And althought I watch a lot of television I had never seen most of the TV comedies that are given as examples. For example I've never seen a single episode of Friends, Seinfeld, Will and Grace, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Roseanne, Ellen, The Family Guy, Two and a Half Men, Murphy Brown, The Smothers Brothers, or The Cosby Show - all of which are treated in this book. I had heard of all of these shows but I had never chosen to actually watch one of them. I had however seen Laugh-In, Cheers, and Soap. So maybe I was underimpressed with the book because I hadn't been exposed to as much lefty propaganda as the average bear.
But then two nights ago I watched that old Bruce Willis Thriller - "Mercury Rising". This is the movie in which the wonderfully evil Alec Baldwin as an NSA executive has a totally innocent couple killed and orders the similar destruction of their young handicapped son. Baldwin attacks the kid - Willis defends. That's the movie and it's a pretty good movie.
But something happened this time I watched it. I watched Baldwin's performance remembering Shapiro's book. Baldwin is anything but a moderate. He is well known as a vicious hate filled leftist. Lately he has been in the news for defending Anthony Wiener and considering a run for Mayor of New York (now that Wiener is no longer the front runner). He had also been caught on tape a few years ago screaming at his daughter on the phone. He is hard left and just as personally obnoxious as Wiener.
With that in mind I listened carefully to what he said in character as the villian of the piece. He was playing this impossibly evil beaurocrat as a conservative patriot. Having started reading this book I was sensitized to these issues. Baldwin was a "cartoon conservative". He was very, very good at it. In his best reptillian voice and manner he spouted all these high falluting patriotic clichés while he plotted to murder the innocent.
That observation made me ponder Baldwin's career. He had started by playing innocuous pretty boys in film's like "Beetlejuice". But he hit patdirt when he got the short but fabulous part of the sales force motivator in "Glengary, Glenross". Amid a sea of fine actors, Baldwin stole the show with his star turn as the impossibly evil top salesman.
David Mamet wrote a cartoon of capitalism - very entertaining but, I worked in direct commision sales - hardly accurate. In Bladwin they had a perfect guy to portray the face of the free market - slick, amoral, handsome, and deeply evil. Baldwin I realized had gone on then to play an evil doctor in "Malice" and an evil radio station manager. In all the films he wears a good suit - probably a Brione. In movieland wearing a suit marks you as the enemy of the good. This is most clear in the Matrix movies. There the guys in the suits are robots - evil robots.
So although I never saw an episode of Friends, I absorbed the message of Shapiro's book and it resonated. It kicked off a stream of recollections about characters and plots I had once seen. I read books like this in order to be informed. I want to be influenced too but seldom am. I'm a little to set in my ways to he swayed by just any old book. This book seems to be an exception. I really am thinking about liberal propaganda differently now. I see more of it now. It's like when the scoutmaster shows you a literal snake in the grass. Henceforth you will be able to spot such serpents wherever they lurk.
on March 19, 2012
Everyone knows that television is left-wing, right? Of course, this is self evident; but many on the left, being habitually averse to honest dealing, all in the name of promoting the progressive cause at any cost, deny the undeniable fact of left-wing-skewed TV.
Ben Shapiro has done us all a big favour by investigating the political culture underpinning the US television industry; and uncovering a mountain of evidence that cannot be ignored. The most compelling evidence is the words of the left-wing writers, producers, executives and others themselves, who set the left-wing tone of TV. Shapiro interviews countless people in the industry and documents the politicised slant of numerous TV programmes in a marathon effort that deserves our admiration.
What did Shapiro find? Here's a taste from the book: Seth McFarlane (p. 155), creator Family Guy, rejects any `right-wing' mail he gets and says, "That's like getting mail from Hitler. They're literally terrible human beings....They can suck my d**k as far as I'm concerned." Nice. So it's hardly a surprise to learn that McFarlane has a gay `censor' to check all scripts to ensure the sensibilities of his chosen special interest group aren't offended.
The creators of the pilot for Hill Street Blues (p. 187) were directed to turn black criminals into white criminals lest they offend another minority group. So, some black members in a black gang were turned into white members resulting in a portrayal of gang culture that does not reflect reality. Never mind, a special interest group with a perpetual grievance was appeased; and to hell with being realistic.
John Langley, creator of Cops rails against people who claim his show unfairly shows too many minority criminals. His riposte (p. 205) is, "I show more white people than is statistically what the truth is in terms of street crime. If you look at the prisons, it's sixty-something percent people of colour and thirty-something percent of white people. If you look at Cops, it's sixty percent white and forty percent people of colour, it's just the reverse".
So there you have it. On the show Cops whites are maligned and blacks and hispanics are portrayed in a more positive light. Left-wing heaven and all to a good cause, you know.
Some scriptwriters don't even try to hide their left-wing politics. They ram their ideology right down our throats. One episode of Law and Order: SUV (p. 202) had a lawyer character pronounce: "Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly, all of `em, they are like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate...". Wow! Don't sugar coat it. Tell us what you really think!
Aaron Sorkin (p. 211) insists that West Wing is not liberal, yet all political consultants are liberals and Democrats. The cognitive dissonance is breathtaking. With such blatant self-deception (or is just plain old `deception'?) what hope is there of a fair shake for a point of view that isn't left? Not much.
Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy (p. 219) without a hint of conscience or irony says, "There will never be any black drug addicts on our show. There will never be any black hookers on our show. The will never be a black pimp on our show. A lot of shows feel the need and enjoy stereotyping, and we're going the other way". There you have it again! Shonda is going "the other way" with stereotyping; and the other way is to stereotype whites. Brilliant logic; and so even-handed and fair in a lefty kind of way; and note the blissful ignorance of the irony of Shonda's prescriptions. The left just don't get irony. But they get parody all right - the self-parody kind, that is.
There are numerous other examples. Glee promotes homosexuality like no other show and always paints homosexuals in a good light and Christians in a poor one. Characters who disagree with the free-for-all sex romp on display are ridiculed. Another example: Despite 23 out of 24 advertisers dropping out when the telemovie Roe vs Wade was to be shown, ABC aired it anyway (p. 251). It's all for the cause even if you lose money hand over fist. Such decisions are not commercial nor rational. They are left-wing, social-engineering decisions and to hell with the shareholders.
Mike Dann (p. 253) of CBS admitted that the ratio of `social responsibility' to entertainment was about "five to one". In other words, lefty proselytisation is the over-riding criterion. Entertainment and profit come a distant second.
Nothing is sacred to the lefties who wish to remake the world in their image and ban conservatives (and anyone who disagrees with them) from having their views presented. Even Sesame Street was enlisted in the fight against conservatives when Oscar the Grouch trashed Fox News on his Grouchy News Network in 2009.
You get the idea. Conversion of young minds to left-wing ideology is just fine and dandy with the controllers of television. The bias is relentless and dispiriting. Its cradle to the grave, wall to wall liberal values with hardly a conservative viewpoint in sight; and that's just peachy with the people who hold their faces straight as they pronounce that TV is not biased and anyone who says so is a right-wing, conspiracy nut.
Shapiro goes on to expose the cosy relationship between Hollywood, interest groups and the Democrat party (and governments in general) as they conspire to keep TV left-wing. He looks at the various arguments denying that TV is left-wing put up by liberals and demolishes them one by one. He exposes the disingenuousness and outright deceit that underpins these arguments. He shows just how intellectually dishonest the apologists for left-wing television really are.
Shapiro has done a terrific job and deserves our high praise. He clearly loves television (all its left-wing bias notwithstanding), and wants to see the medium prosper. Above all he calls for the diversity (i.e. more conservative viewpoints to balance out the strong left bias) that liberals always profess to champion but conveniently forget when they have the upper hand, as they do in the television industry. As usual with the left, it's hypocrisy that reigns supreme.