The television industry loves to claim that all of the sex, violence and foul-mouthed language it displays has zero harmful effects on children. On the other hand, they would never dream of telling their advertisers that their paid messages on TV have no effect. So does the entertainment industry have an impact or doesn't it?
The answer is that Tinseltown certainly has an effect, and when that effect is felt in the political arena, the hell with pretending they don't. They openly celebrate.
After the 2012 election, the surprising (if narrow) victories for liberals drew a thumbs-up commentary from former Washington Post reporter Sharon Waxman at The Wrap website. She credited Hollywood.
"Hollywood should be euphoric today. The entertainment industry woke up to election results that reflect a country a lot more like the fictional place they've been depicting on screens large and small for decades: more ethnically diverse, more gay-friendly, with powerful women and where it's just fine to light up a spliff."
The black president won re-election, alongside the first openly lesbian U.S. senator. Voters approved gay marriage referendums in four states and marijuana legalization measures in two states. Waxman added exit poll numbers for minorities: Latinos voted for Obama by 75 to 23 and Asians by 73 to 26. "The affirmation of liberal values in this election is remarkable," she claimed.
Waxman conceded that almost half the country voted for Mitt Romney. She guessed: "The rejection of the Republican Party agenda was more of a factor than an embrace of left-wing values."
Where to start? The left certainly can — and should — take the credit for the civil rights crusade. But that was half of a century ago. Why not give Abe Lincoln — yup, Republicans, the credit?
Forty-four states don't have gay marriage legislation. Since 1998, in 28 states where it's been proposed, every single ballot initiative to uphold traditional marriage has passed, including blue states like Hawaii and California, although the size of the majorities faded over time.
How did Tolerant Tinseltown handle it? The passage of California's Proposition 8 in 2008, fervently expected to fail in the Year of Obama, led to a vicious round of anti-Mormon sentiment and blacklisting for opposing "history," and at least two Mormons were forced into resignations from entertainment jobs for making $1,000 donations to the Prop 8 campaign.
Forward to 2012, and the Mormon Church didn't want to get involved in state referendums in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington because it might interfere with electing the first Mormon president. The Catholic Church and evangelical pro-family activists in these states failed to mobilize enough opposition.
Still, the media declared the victory emanated from television sets across America in HD — for Highly Democratic — and there's truth here.
The Hollywood Reporter conducted a poll with the research firm Penn Schoen Berland on October 29 and announced that shows with gay characters, like ABC's "Modern Family," Fox's "Glee" and NBC's "The New Normal" are helping drive voters to "historically unprecedented support of gay marriage." (Did you hear that, conservatives who regularly ignore Hollywood because, really, who cares?)
Asked about how the shows influenced them, 27 percent said gay-promotional TV shows made them more pro-gay marriage, and 6 percent more opposed. Obama voters watched and 30 percent grew more supportive, to 2 percent less supportive. Surprisingly, the shows were also winning over Romney voters: 13 percent became more pro-gay marriage, while 12 percent were more opposed. (Did you hear that, pro-family conservatives?)
Pollster Mark Penn insisted young people are the most influenced. "Almost twice as many voters under 35 say these shows made them more in favor of gay marriage compared with voters over 35 — 38 percent versus just 20 percent. Impressionable young people are more open to changing their views and behavior, based on what they're watching."
But the networks want to deny impressionable young people are swayed by the sensationalism in their programs. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.
Liberals are twice as likely to watch these shows, but over the past decade, the Hollywood Reporter poll found about three times as many voters have become more for gay marriage as against — 31 percent pro, 10 percent anti.
Gay activists and their media allies now routinely cite "Glee" and "Modern Family" as proof of the historical inevitability of social liberalism. After the election, former Republican pollster Matthew Dowd cracked the Republicans were a "'Mad Men' party in a 'Modern Family' world." In other words, they're 50 years behind the times.
These same liberals continue to lament that democracy is being destroyed by corporate money sloshing all over the television during the ad breaks, presumably because of their impact in a medium where they claim the entertainment sponsored doesn't have an impact on impressionable folks — except when the impact furthers the destruction of social mores they like to champion publicly. Did you follow that?
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.