Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV

I just finished the Kindle version of Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV by Ben Shapiro. If you subscribe to the Sean Hannity / Newt Gingrich school “That the Big Bad Left-Wing Media is Out to Get You” then this book will be right down your alley.

The author seems to see a conspiracy around every corner virtually starting as far back as the beginnings of television. If he's to be believed, the entire reason for the innovation of television was for the indoctrination of the masses with a left wing ideology. Just about every Hollywood writer has a nefarious political agenda, just about every advertiser is a mindless dupe and just about no television executive or owner can be credited with having true capitalist instincts or a genuine market understanding… not even the venerable Rupert Murdoch of Fox Television fame. Worst of all, the author gives viewers little credit in determining what programming appeals to them and suggests that they largely lack the ability to turn the channel or find the off switch.

The author doesn't pretend to have anything but a one-sided view. Anything to the left of his Far Right ideology is considered bad. Every term used to describe the Left is used as a pejorative… liberal, liberalism, leftist, radical, socialist, communist, urban. All terms considered bad. All terms used to describe mainstream television and those who are involved in creating it. The author is so hell-bent on defining mainstream television as bad that he even considers several of his Top 12 Conservative Shows of All Time as being liberal shows.

I read the book because I am an avid television viewer and enjoy the inter-workings and history of TV. In my opinion it could have been of value had the author shown the least bit of objectivity. Unfortunately he leads with his right wing politics which ultimately calls into question the legitimacy and/or accuracy of any of his so-called investigation and interviews, and causes many of his assertions to ring hollow. Additionally, it's hard not to consider how his own experience with, as he describes, ‘discrimination against conservatives’ impacts his entire narrative.

For the record, it seems just as plausible that owners and executives have identified a profitable business model; that writers, producers and actors choose to follow a proven winning strategy; and that advertisers are and have been reaching an audience that meets their needs...especially in light of the multitude of creative outlets and advertising venues available. Or that the author is just pissed because he couldn’t make it in Hollywood. Or even more simply, it seems that the likes of a Rupert Murdoch (nobody’s left-wing yellow belly) would not have led with a liberal staple such as The Simpsons for some 20 years, if not for the capitalist profit motive.