Shapiro asked if conservative politics are a barrier to entry. "Absolutely," Goldberg replied, adding that the late actor Ron Silver felt his opportunities became very limited when he vocally shifted to the right after 9/11.
It starts to sound like discrimination. There's the story of Fred Thompson and "Law & Order" producer Rene Balcer, who insisted, "I said I'm not coming back as long as that guy is on the show. I didn't think much of his acting or the character." If you're conservative, you somehow can't act.
The book cites Entertainment Weekly editor Mark Harris saying he "expected to hate" ABC's comedy "The Middle" due largely to the political views of right-leaning actress Patricia Heaton (but then was pleased the show was "left-populist").
Shapiro says the Hollywood left cannot understand why anyone would attack their programming. "After all, they argue, Americans don't attack the Associated Press's reporting. Why should they attack Hollywood when it merely reports what's happening in the world?"
That's how Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group justified taking "ABC Family" into racier territory: "The best way to resonate with your audience is to be authentic. And you're only authentic if you are holding up a mirror to your audience and saying, 'I see you.'"
Many TV producers complained to Shapiro that Hollywood's product was merely "reflective" of society and not "transformative." But liberal producer David Shore, the creator of "House," called that a "knee-jerk reaction" and a "cop-out," because "we're also thrilled by the fact that we're touching people's lives."
Hollywood is completely inauthentic . It doesn't reflect society. It distorts society. Why? They don't reflect reality. It's their own 90210 reality. They know nothing about the real world.
This is where Shapiro's book really hits home. Television acts as a magnifier of the life experiences of Hollywood "visionaries." They write what they know and how they live, with all of the libertine, "progressive" idealism and the anti-religious, anti-traditional cynicism combined.
His bottom line, after all of his interviews and all of his content analysis, is simple. "Television reflects those who create it and transforms everybody else." That's a very frightening 10 words about the future of our culture.
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