Many of my friends say that a Hollywood star could never influence them in choosing a political candidate seeking office. The implicit idea behind such a statement is that due to the fact that a Hollywood star couldn’t influence them to change their vote, a Hollywood star cannot influence anyone’s vote.
As Gareth Ireland, of Thecheers.org website, says: “If celebrities can dictate how we look, dress, and act they can surely dictate who the younger American voter should vote for.”*
Younger people, as we all know, are insecure and unsure individuals. They are far more prone to peer pressure and bullying than older people are. This is especially the case when the young person knows nothing about a given topic. Young people do not usually have the patience to learn the intricacies of a given topic, so when a person that they deem a cool guy comes along and “informs” them about politics, they’re easily swayed. Studies have shown that young people are not as influenced by their parents thinking as they used to be.** They are more prone to think that their parents are dorks, their teachers are Nazis, and nobody listens to their grandparents anymore. Actors and rock stars are cool though. They have a way of putting things that really makes a young person “think”. Actors and rock stars use words like amazing and unfathomable, and young people rush out to voting booths to vote in the manner they dictate.
Actors are fed lines throughout their careers that give the audience the illusion that they’re informed on the issues. Nobody has a problem with actors using their Constitutional right to voice their opinion, of course. When an actor turns to a reporter on the red carpet and makes uninformed assessments about geopolitics, however, Republicans fear that that is the only information some uninformed voters will hear on that specific issue. Republicans and conservatives know that there isn’t a knowledge based test put before citizens preparing to vote, and they know that that celebrity’s comment may hold great sway with those citizens who exclusively watch entertainment television and read entertainment periodicals.
Gareth Ireland goes onto state: “In a poll of 1000 people, the 2004 Presidential election saw 49% of 18 – 24 year olds voting, and, a study by MediaVest showed, that 40% of 18-24 year olds had their vote influenced by celebrity endorsements.
“If this MediaVest statistic is conclusive, and accurate, then celebrity endorsement is just as important in a Presidential campaign as things such as religion and policy. Younger people will be more obliged to vote for the presidential candidate that their specific idol will vote for.”
For these reasons, and others, 35% of Republicans and 45% of the members of The Tea Party movement have said that they consider a celebrity’s political positions before seeing a film. This is one of the reasons why Republicans see four movies on average every six months, while Democrats see 5.7. This is one of the reasons why Republicans usually wait to see a movie on video as opposed to supporting politically radical actors, directors, and production studios with the “big bucks” that they believe go to supporting an agenda that assaults their values in a continuous and casual manner.***
“What causes a liberal actor to lose conservative fans has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with class,” says John Nolte, editor-in-chief of the conservative entertainment site Big Hollywood. “An actor who simply goes on about the business of acting and supporting left-wing causes usually generates nothing more than indifference from right-of-center fans and can generate respect because of how they handle themselves, especially when compared to their obnoxious counterparts.”
Most Republicans know that their beloved country has her flaws. Most Republicans know the stories of America’s past and present failures, and they do view the films, watch the TV shows, and read the books and the newspapers that they feel provides a negative, yet objective, view of America’s past and present. They’re not afraid to view negative portrayals of their country in other words. Their patriotic feelings are strong and deeply rooted, and they cannot be easily swayed by a ninety minute productions. When these attempts become a concerted and concentrated effort that lacks objectivity, however, Republicans get defensive, combative, and they eventually tune the half-truths and anecdotal evidence out. They fear that less informed individuals are more easily influenced by these anecdotal stories—that purport to tell the whole story—and they refuse to support them.
When 61% of Republicans state that Hollywood depicts America in a negative light, it’s a road marker that Hollywood producers should note…Especially when 38% of Democrats agree. When 44% of those loyal to the Republican Party state that they believe the military is depicted in a negative light in most movies, it isn’t a secret how Hollywood can win Republicans back. If, that is, Hollywood wants them back.
Hollywood supporters will tell you that the artists who write, direct, and act in these movies are leftists by nature. They will tell you that these people have a natural inclination that drives them to rebel against what they define as “the man”. It’s just the way of most artists, these supporters will say. Then, almost in the same breath, these supporters will tell you that it’s all about the money in Hollywood. They will tell you that if the producers and movie moguls don’t think they’re going to make money on a project, it quite simply doesn’t get made, regardless of the politics.
If that’s the case, and the producers and moguls read through the polls that groups like The Hollywood Reporter conduct with Republicans, why would they continue to green light projects that have Sean Penn, Jane Fonda, and Alec Baldwin in them? Why do TV and movie projects involving Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, and Michael Moore continue to get the green light? I know Moore creates his own projects to some degree, but he has to get funding from somewhere.
“Many Democrats and liberals see Michael Moore in the same way that many Republicans and conservatives see Pat Robertson: as an embarrassing blowhard who makes their own side look bad,” says John Pitney Jr., a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College. Perhaps that’s one reason Moore broke records with his $119 million domestic haul from Fahrenheit 9/11 while follow-ups Sicko and Capitalism: A Love Story took in $25 million and $14 million, respectively.
Where does Moore get the money necessary to complete his movies, if it’s all about the money in Hollywood? How does he continually convince people his movies will make money, when as shown above his movies have seen a precipitous decline in revenue domestically? Who will fund his movies now that he’s on the outs with the Weinstein Brothers? Anyone who thinks Moore won’t find funding fr his projects, based on all these facts, hasn’t been paying attention to Hollywood in the last couple of decades.
One answer to all of these questions lies with the power of the star in Hollywood and America in general. If a leftist screenwriter writes a project that is virulently anti-American, it may sit in a slush pile for some years, and it may be avoided like the plague by producers and moguls…until a superstar signs onto it. The Hollywood star is America’s equivalent to the royalty of other countries. They have political power in Hollywood and in America in general. They choose smart projects that make them look smart, contrarian, and dangerous. They choose some of these projects regardless if it may anger some Republicans, and in some cases they appear to choose projects specifically to anger Republicans, conservatives, or other traditionalists. They may do this because the script adheres to their agenda, or they may do it to flex their muscle in the industry. Whatever the case is, the idea that it may anger a percentage of their fan base is obviously not a concern to them.
Another answer lies in the foreign DVD market. The foreign DVD market appears to enjoy anti-American movies to such a degree that it has trumped the pro-American, Republican market. It appears to have had such an effect on the way American movies are being made that producers and Hollywood moguls don’t care if Republicans are tuning out…Especially if a major star signs onto the project.
Republicans may not know the intricacies of these answers, but they know that Hollywood is no longer vying for their dollar. Due to the power of the Hollywood star in America today, and the power of the foreign DVD market, it may never come back to haunt Hollywood that Republicans no longer support them in large numbers, but it’s possible that it might. For those naive enough to hold their breath waiting for this to happen, though, you’re probably going to be experiencing some painful days in the near future.