Rethinking Hollywood's Left Coast Politics

from the from-the-people-that-brought-us-Tucker dept

The idea that Hollywood has a liberal bias has come to be accepted as gospel in the minds of many. Though the point can be debated, you’d be hard pressed to find many films that depict a tireless CEO working late hours to improve the company’s product, instead they are more likely to be laying off workers, or dumping chemicals into the drinking water. But some are starting to wonder whether the Hollywood on film actually jibes with the politics and actions of the studios themselves. In fact, there are many examples to count of studios exhibiting greed, and a conservative mentality to accepting change. The studios also stood up against federal regulations regarding executive compensation so that they wouldn’t have to admit how much their top actors were getting paid. In their quest to stifle any innovation that would disrupt their old business models, they’ve turned to allies like Republican Lamar Smith, not the Democrats that are perceived to be in Hollywood’s pocket. It would be unfair to conflate business, Republicanism and greed, but it makes sense to question the notion that Hollywood sticks to a particular political script.

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Comments on “Rethinking Hollywood's Left Coast Politics”

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Jamie says:

Practice what you preach

Is it really all that surprising that the Hollywood execs and companies are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to exploitation? Often the most self righteous people are the biggest hypocrites. Hollywood loves to preach on what it perceives as the evils of the world, but in an industry run on greed it is too easy to take moral shortcuts.

g says:

definitely a case of hypocrisy but you also have to factor in that the people that write the scripts and produce the movies aren’t necessarily the same people running the studios. Just like in journalism, most of the corporate big wigs are probably more conservative but the newsrooms are definitely predominantly culterally and politically liberally minded

Sean (user link) says:

I wouldn't Say

I wouldn’t say that Hollywood is being leftist in their depictions of the CEO type. As with all types of people, Hollywood plays up the stereotypes.

So Hollywood isn’t trying to spread a message that CEOs are ruthless money grubbers, with no morals, they are just playing on the stereotype that most people have of CEOs. That says more about what society thinks of big executives than what Hollywood thinks of them.

Jos Bleau says:

“It would be unfair to conflate business, Republicanism and greed, but” your argument is absolutely pointless is you don’t do just that!

Perhaps people don’t infer Hollywood’s political leanings from its excutives’ actions & back office culture for the very same reason that they don’t draw similar conclusions about Halliburton from it’s artistic choices – because they don’t matter one bit why they are important to the public?

When’s the last time you saw a movie critisized for the ethical lapses of its producer’s accounting? When’s the last time you heard Halliburton critisized for the cinemetography of its promotional videos?

Are you paid for this?

No, really?

freakengine says:

I gotta agree with Drama2sell…all Hollywood cares about is money. If they could make money making films that advocate killing babies, we’d see the big Killing Babies Film Festival. Hollywood will always be predictable in that way.

The big political problem is that people often say they’d prefer more conservative films, but they regularly flock to less conservative entertainments. They “vote” for the blockbusters with their wallets, but their rhetoric is still against them. I believe this is what has come to be known as “Politics” in our society. It’s okay to snort coke as long as you are publicly against illegal drug use. It’s okay to go and see Hostel as long as you publicly decry the erosion of “family values in film and TV. It’s okay to destry the environment as long as you vote for the token pro-environment bill.

Unlike DC, Hollywood’s motivation is transparent and actually quite respectable. They ARE in the business of making money after all, aren’t they?

Gary Walker says:

Re: Re:

I’m not sure this is their only motive. After all, they all took a pass on The Passion of the Christ (missing out on major dollars), but clamor after some of the turkeys with a strong political message.

I think the producers are also motiivated by non-commercial desires. Yeah, it would appear that no matter how bereft of moral or cinematic value, someone is likely to pick it up if they think it will make them a pile of cash. However, they certainly appear to be motivated by the desire to be thought creative, insightful, artistic. Looks like poliitical motivations may participate as well.

Consider Michael Moore, though financially succesful movies, it would be hard to state that he categorically ignores politics in his decisions too.

The Passion of the Christ certainly seems to have been motivated by religious views.

In other words, Holloywood types are people with motiviations and biases too — is this a surprise?

Anonymous Coward says:

No way… if you don’t see the horrible left-wing bias out of Hollywood your eyes are closed. I’m no hardcore right winger by any means at all, but with people like: Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Serandin, Tom Cruise, Michael Moore, Ed Asner, Alec Baldwin…

If you haven’t heard some of the comments they’ve made, that’s likely why you think Hollywood isn’t biased – well in all fairness, I can’t say where the Hollywood execs lean, but as far as the “artist” types (actors, producers, directors, etc.. ) they are FAR FAR left. To the point where is makes mid-liners like me sick.

But then it’s typcial for ‘artist’ types to lean left and ‘business’ types to lean right, really.

Brian A. (user link) says:

Resistance to change

Hollywood’s resistance to change is born not out of conservative or liberal values, but out of fear of the unknown. For a lot of the same reasons that producers won’t take changes on unproven films, Hollywood doesn’t want to think about the fact that their revenue stream isn’t a “sure thing”. No one has proven that movie houses can make the same kind of profits if they embrace digital revolution. Call it greed, but these companies have a desire to protect their bottom line. Business is business, no matter which side of the isle you sit on.

Intergalactic Hussy says:

From working in finance in the industry, I can say that its all about the money (sadly! ~ for me its just a good job). Yes there are liberal views in the public realm, yet in any office debate you’d see how it actually varies. I just wish these celebrities didn’t think the public actually cared.

Besides… that’s were many of the liberals go (and anyone not fitting in where they are) … to be amongst people who won’t judge them.

Vasco DaGameboy says:


There is a strong implication in this piece that greed is a conservative/Republican trait, i.e. Hollywood may not be so liberal because it displays greed. This is a canard foisted by the narrow-minded bigots on the left who tend to paint all conservatives one color.

Greed cuts across ideology. It’s never an endearing trait, but when coupled with brash hypocrisy, it becomes truly odious. Hollywood and its denizens are particularly guilty of such. When was the last time you heard of an activist actor or actress giving up 90% of his/her wealth to feed the homeless, for example? It’s easy to take a limo to a $500/plate fundraiser and then pat yourself on the back of your designer gown in front of the paparazzi, but few (if any) actually give until it hurts. That’s fine, but then to turn around and point fingers at corporate types and call them greedy is truly despicable.

Hollywood and its legion of limousine liberals have always been about money and greed. The liberal bent they often display may mitigate some of their latent guilt, but it’s hypocrisy in its most severe form.

And the idea that guilt is a conservative trait is pure idiocy.

Joe (user link) says:

Re: Puh-lease

I’m not alleging that greed is a conservative trait; I’m saying that Hollywood films like to villify corporate greed, while the studios exhibit much of their own. As for their alignment with the Republicans on a number of matters, that too is a different issue, one that stands in contrast with the belief the Hollywood is a Democratic bastion.

PopeRatzo says:

Not only is it fair to conflate business, Republicanism and greed, but you can throw in calumny, prevarication, general dishonesty, sleaziness, bigotry and closeted homosexuality. Oh, and misogyny, racism and hypocrisy. I don’t have time to go on.

I just thought you’d want to know in case you ever get the chance to, you know, vote.

Moneyguy says:

Re: Conflation

PopeRatzo – I’m not saying you can’t conflate business, Republicanism and greed – because the stereotype can be true sometimes. But if you think you can’t replace “Republicanism” with “Democratism” into your little rant, you shouldn’t be allowed outside without supervision. Otherwise some malicious, evil, dishonest, sleazy, bigoted, mysogynistic, racist, closet gay hypocrite will sell you a bridge. Or just throw you off one in pursuit of their evil plot to impose American Imperialism on the world.

Give it a rest already!

Moneyguy says:

Nothing wrong with money

Nothing wrong with making money (shocking, I know coming from me). I’d applaud them if they came right out and said it. If a studio doesn’t make money, they don’t make movies.

What is hypocrisy is the typical portrayal of rich people or corporate America (usually evil or crazy) in Hollywood movies. Of course if you want to draw attention from youself (or your industry) you tell a big lie and pretty it up with lights, music, cameras and cheering crowds. Didn’t some guy perfect that technique in the 1930’s & 40’s?

What about the irony that studios will go to any length to prove that the movie didn’t make money. Usually a week or so after reporting record ticket sales.

The hypocrisy of Hollywood isn’t as amazing as the belief that the Hollywood types actually believe we (in the mainstream) care what they think. Entertainment is one thing. Foreign relations and economic policy is another.

2 cent'r says:

The 'MAN' can't stand forever!

There is no loyalty between Red and Blue in Hollywood! To quote MC Grandmaster Melle Mel,

‘Its all about money, ain’t a damn thing funny!’

And thats all it is! To see how these company exec’s can keep the wool over our eyes and feed us this cock n’ bull story that what they make for their artists and themselves is a fair wage.

Try this for an experiment. Ask your local Movie House owner how much he makes on attendance reciepts showing a blockbuster first run movie in his theatre? He will probably respond like this:

‘See that 5 buck bag of popcorn and 5 buck coke your’e holding in your hand? You tell me if I’m making any money off of ticket reciepts?’

Is Tom Cruise really worth 100 million per film (if you believe EW?) Is anyone really worth 100 million per anything? I’m sure there are people who are but I’m sure they are not basking in the glory and fame of Hollywood.

Eventually technology will kill Hollywood, if they don’t get off their ass and be held accountable. Either through piracy, streaming media by amature artists on sites like ‘’ or some other means. IMO.

Scoff now if you like on the poor quality of most of the amature content (with some of the Si-Fi video being some glaring exceptions to this) out there but it’s like cable tv. It sucked at first but little by little people took notice. Not only that the artists can get direct feed back in most cases that is brutally honest and totally free.

Personally I’m on the web more than listening to commercial radio, watching network televison or watching first run movies. Either I’m a part of the trend or I’m just old? Dunno.

(Man I hope I don’t get sued for using the lyric in my comment?)

Moneyguy says:

Re: The Trend

Personally I’m on the web more than listening to commercial radio, watching network televison or watching first run movies. Either I’m a part of the trend or I’m just old? Dunno.

Myself, I hardly ever watch network television or listen to commercial radio. I do enjoy movies, but not like I used to. I doubt it’s a trend because most of the people I work with or talk to spend their time watching American Idol, 24 or some other TV show.

I’m online more than I used to, but that is a function of my job (at least that’s what I tell myself to rationalize my surfing).

Not sure where the trend is going, but I’ve been trying to get out more and spend less time inside at the computer or watching TV.

trollificus says:

Unusally dumb Techdirt subject...


1) It’s not shocking for the suits to have different politics than the workers/content providers.

2) Neither greed nor resistance to change are unique to conservatives or liberals. If you think so, your cynicism is inadequate to understand 21st century America.

3) Rapacious business practices are not ‘political’.

4) Feel-good ‘liberalism’ from millionaires with good bone structure is not really political either.

It IS worthwhile noting the incessant and ridiculous portrayal of all businessmen as unrelentingly evile when I’d bet MOST are more moral than Hollywood execs and agents. Guess after 60 years they can’t make Nazis the villains in every movie anymore.

What we basically have here is a paucity of creative thinking…

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