Walter Annenberg was a billionaire publisher and philanthropist, and a pal to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, whose biggest enrichment came from selling TV Guide to one Rupert Murdoch. This week, a school bearing his name is ripping Hollywood to shreds from the hard left.
The Associated Press breathlessly reported that in "one of the most exhaustive and damning reports on diversity in Hollywood," the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California put out a new report slashing at the "whitewashing" of our movies and TV shows. It's howling against an "epidemic of invisibility" for minorities (both racial and sexual) and declaring an "inclusion crisis."
One can only await the fun of the next Democratic debate, when a liberal journalist is sure to compel Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to explain which of them would impose a more rigid code of affirmative action on all television and movie studios, to ensure that all directors and actors hired -- and characters scripted -- match rigid racial and gender quotas to ensure maximum diversity.
Or, since Hollywood is one of the most reliable piggy banks for Democratic campaigns, could it be the industry that's most immune to a rigid inclusion bureaucracy?
Last year, goaded by pressure groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and studies like USC's, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission started an investigation of Hollywood.
The numbers from USC's new study come from examining 109 films released by major studios in 2014 (including their art house divisions), and also 305 scripted first-run TV series across 31 networks and digital streaming services that aired from September 2014 to August 2015.
They found the most nausea for liberals at the top. Directors overall were 87 percent white, and broadcast TV directors were 90.4 percent white. Just 15.2 percent of directors, 28.9 percent of writers and 22.6 percent of TV series creators were female. In movies, the gender gap is widest: Only 3.4 percent of the films studied were directed by women, and only two directors out of all 109 were black women.
In all the movies and TV shows, only one-third of speaking characters were female, and only 28.3 percent were from minority groups -- about 10 percent less than the makeup of the U.S. population. Characters 40 years or older tilt heavily to the male side across film and TV: 74.3 percent male to 25.7 percent female. The lack of female authority figures in fictional entertainment surely offends the Clinton backers the most,.
Some of the complaints didn't match the idea that they under-represented other minorities. They claimed just 2 percent of speaking characters were identified as gay, but that's pretty close to their actual fraction of the U.S. population. Even then, the population of gay characters was too white and too male!
They express shock that among the 11,306 speaking characters studied, only seven were transgender. But out of more than 300 million Americans, the Social Security Administration has notched about 135,000 actual sex-change applications, an even lower percentage.
Somehow, in this epic search for diversity, this liberal journalism school did not address how many conservatives wrote and directed these movies and TV shows, or how many conservative characters were featured. That kind of diversity is never desirable to liberals.