The Daily Brew

Wednesday, November 06, 2002:


Hollywood to the Rescue
(c) November 6, 2002
The Daily Brew

More than 60% of the American public believes Saddam Hussein was a co-conspirator in the attacks of September 11, despite the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency had issued a report concluding that no connection existed. A majority also believe that the so-called "death tax" will apply to them, despite the fact that fewer than 2.5% of Americans actually possess sufficient net worth to be eligible. Most Americans believe that the recent recession was caused by September 11, despite the fact that it began prior to the attack. Many Americans believe that the deficits projected by the government are unrelated to the tax cuts signed into law by President Bush, although both the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting Office have concluded that the tax cuts will greatly exacerbate the problem.

As we learned last Tuesday, these and other misconceptions harbored by the public shape our elected leadership, which, in turn, shapes our domestic and foreign policy. Given that the public suffers from a profound ignorance concerning the basic problems that confront the Nation, and that the Republican party has gained control of the entire federal government as a direct result of this ignorance, there is little hope that the Republican leadership will endeavor to educate the public. There is even less hope that the GOP or the GOP's billionaire corporate sponsors will enact public policy that will rationally address these problems, as it is directly contrary to their interests.

Still, one ought not blame the public's ignorance on the Republicans. Having wedded themselves to policies that will impoverish and pollute America, one can hardly blame the GOP for lying about their intentions. Nor can one fairly blame the Democrats. Democrats routinely point out the fallacies and fantasies emanating from the mouths of Republican lawmakers. Unfortunately, all too often, the public is never made aware of these truths because a duplicitous and easily distracted national media either will not report on the substance of the loyal opposition, or if it does, it will fail to point out which among the two is telling the truth, as if failing to point out one side is lying in a public policy debate is somehow akin to achieving balance. Plainly, in handing total control of the government to the Republicans, last Tuesday proved that the Democrats alone are incapable of successfully combating the public's ongoing war with reality. It is irrational to expect that at some point in the future, the Democrats are going to be able to successfully combat the mighty wurlitzer, after they have failed to do so for two elections in a row.

Equally plain is the fact that the few intellectuals who are willing to speak out are even more powerless at spreading the truth to the greater population than a major, albeit minority, political party. America's most respected minds, be they literary, academic, or otherwise, have proven themselves no match for the corrupt corporate media. But if the nation's brightest minds and half its political actors have failed for four years to achieve this result, how could it possibly come to pass?

There is only one hope.

America's last chance is our celebrities. Only the star power from the music and entertainment industry has the power to change the current cabal of liars and spinners who shape our public debate. Don't buy it? Let me propose a hypothetical.

Suppose that Hugh Hefner were to sell the Playboy mansion and set up shop in Washington DC. Suppose further that every A-list actor and musician in Malibu and New York made a similar move. In short, suppose that the entire entertainment industry were to pack up their bags and set down roots in Washington DC. Now suppose that every night, these powerful icons of American culture were to host parties, movie premieres, award shows, and other gala events for each other, as they currently do in New York and Los Angeles. But in DC, they could invite the likes Howard Fineman, Chris Mathews, and Tim Russert to be a part of the scene. This could create a powerful incentive for certain pundits to start telling the truth. If Russert told lies about Democratic leaders, his invitation to Brad Pitt's birthday party might get lost in the mail. If Fineman covered up the malfeasance of the Bush Administration's SEC chairman, he might not get to go to the star-studded opening of Steven Spielberg's new movie. If Mathews regurgitated RNC spin points without pointing out the logical inconsistencies, disconfirming evidence, and outright lies, he might be left waiting in the line at Johnny Depp's club on M Street. Events for President Bush and his Republican campaign contributors would suddenly be for the second string only. The new game in town would be gala fundraisers, where guys like Rob Reiner and Dennis Kucinich toasted the work of outfits like the Sierra Club. The whole pecking order would be instantly turned on its head.

So what do you say, liberal Hollywood elite? I realize this is a huge sacrifice. Compared to Los Angeles, the weather in DC is positively awful. Compared to New York, DC doesn't have a single decent restaurant. But think of the country. America has been fairly good to you, no? Isn't it time you gave something back? What gift could possibly be greater than a fair, accurate, and impartial media? Think it over, and then have your people call my people.

Common Sense // 6:55 PM

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