The project gets off to a harsh start. In his introduction, Shapiro attacks "traditional" TV critics on the cultural right for being "worse than useless," suggesting some unnamed conservatives are insisting TV should not be watched. "When conservatives treat television as the Golden Calf, they leave no choice but to lay low the unbelievers -- and most of us prefer to continue occasionally glancing at the offending cow."
Let's stipulate that perhaps Shapiro is trying to sell the usefulness of his own book by insisting it will succeed where other conservative critiques have failed. Because once you get past the straw-man introduction, there's a lot of eye-opening detail that begs to be discussed.
Hollywood's made endless movies about cruel, life-destroying blacklisters of communist sympathizers, which is rich irony given their ongoing efforts to blacklist conservatives from their own industry. Shapiro calls this chapter "The Clique."
Actor Dwight Schultz ("The A-Team") was overheard by producer Bruce Paltrow praising President Reagan in the 1980s at a theater festival, and Paltrow called him a "Reagan (A-word)." Months later, when Schultz came to audition for the role of Dr. Fiscus on the NBC show "St. Elsewhere," Paltrow asked why he had shown up: "There's not going to be a Reagan (A-word) on this show!"
Schultz, an accomplished voice-over actor in cartoons, found this viewpoint even in the animation genre. He received a casting call for the cartoon movie "Astro Boy" that described the character of "President Stone" as a "cross between a refined, somewhat more controlled version of General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) from 'Dr. Strangelove' and Dick Cheney."
"You get this in the mail," Schultz insisted about his cartoon work. "This is very typical, very mild... 'He's an (A-word), like George Bush.'"
Schultz doesn't describe his experience as a blacklist, but as a mindset. "It's a social network ... But the social aspect of the business is, to a large degree, everything these days."
Leonard Goldberg, executive producer of "Blue Bloods" for CBS -- says liberalism in the TV industry is "100 percent dominant, and anyone who denies it is kidding, or not telling the truth."
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