Monday, February 07, 2005

Thanking Tinseltown for Four More Years

A Right Show of Gratitude

Right-wing activists at Citizens United have raised enough money to erect at least three billboards within spitting distance of the Kodak Theatre, host to this month’s Academy Awards ceremony. The billboards, which thank liberal Hollywood for driving voters to Bush, are a publicity stunt that's playing well in conservative circles. They're just one part of the right's relentless campaign to paint the movie industry as elitist and anti-American, and Hollywood stars as bumbling actors out of touch with the red-state reality of the American heartland. (photo: Cinemocracy)

One billboard features Barbra Streisand, Ben Affleck, Sean Penn and other progressive actors in sheepish poses under the headline "W. Still President. Thank You Hollywood." The message is meant as a slap to those members of the Hollywood establishment who campaigned vigorously to oust Bush from the White House.

The mastermind behind the Tinseltown taunt is right-wing hatchet man David Bossie. His Citizens United Foundation, a subsidiary of Citizens United, bills itself as "a non-partisan, non-profit research and education foundation. . . . dedicated to informing the American people about . . . traditional American values, including: the Constitution as the supreme limit on federal power, a strong national defense as the primary role of the federal government; free enterprise as the economic system that has enabled the American people to attain and maintain an historically high standard of living; belief in God and Judeo/Christian values as the fundamental attribute of our way of life; and the recognition of the family as the basic social unit of our society."

Bossie, is actually a dirt mover for the Republican Party; and he has a history to prove it. In 1998, he was fired from his job as an investigator working for Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee in 1998. Bossie was canned, as the Washington Post subsequently reported, for his role in releasing doctored transcripts of former Clinton administration official Webster Hubbell's prison conversations -- an ethical violation that caused even Newt Gingrich to blush.

According to Eric Boehlert, Bossie's MO during the Starr investigation was to lob "scattershot allegations" at an over-eager press corps that rarely bothered to fact-check his attacks before running them in their news outlets.

Democratic strategist James Carville once said, "[Bossie] made collective fools out of about 80 percent of the national press corps." He has since commanded media attention for making other unsubstantiated claims, including a statement that former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay was closer to the Democratic and not Republican Party, and that he had evidence that proved Bill Clinton was responsible for the September 11 attacks.

That a prankster like Bossie has managed to maintain visibility in Washington, particularly among the press, is one of the sad truths of our enfeebled Fourth Estate.

The 2004 publication of Bossie's quickie rant -- "The Many Faces of John Kerry: Why This Massachusetts Liberal is Wrong for America" -- is another affront to Citizens United's "non partisan" billing. None of the Foundation's -- filled with non-partisan platitudes necessary to substantiate the organization's 501 (c) 3, tax exempt status -- seems to be taken seriously.

Next on Bossie’s hit list is "Hollywood liberals." While the billboards seem to contradict Citizens United's allegedly "non-partisan" stance, they are a brilliant effort to get across a central Republican talking point: that the elite entertainment establishment -- on both left and right coasts -- is at odds with red-meat America.

Now the right-wing has glommed onto the billboard story to further push their notion that Tinseltown is the mouthpiece of a liberal agenda: "Already, word of the billboards has Hollywood in a tizzy and the Citizens United campaign has been featured on CNN and Fox News,” boasts right-wing news service NewsMax.

"Making the experience more painful for the disappointed Hollywood big wigs is the location of the three billboards -- their proximity to the Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards."

Clearly, the right is hoping this story will gain more traction in traditional press, amplifying their anti-Hollywood message for more to hear. If past experience is any guide, Bossie will succeed in making this a mainstream news item. The Billboards went up on February 1 and will run through the month. The Academy Awards occur on the 27th. Let’s see how far this hot-air balloon flies.


Anonymous said...

I think this is an AWESOME act to get back at all the so-called "stars" that publicly trashed our President! I cannot help but gloat as I imagine them squirming, and hopefully regretting the terrible things they said about President Bush. I'm not too crazy about the one that said, "Hell wants him, Heaven won't take him, Earth needs him" though. What was the point of that??

Still... this was an excellent comeback!

God Bless America! God Bless President Bush!

Anonymous said...

Check Bossie's background - arrested for soliciting in public toilets - a suspected pedophile - drug supplier to the rich and infamous - clients include Rush Limbaugh, professional blackmailer..the list goes on.

andros68 said...

Bossie, as his character reveals, can only benefit his cause by being a front man for a disingenious political machine, whose core values are suppression of alternative opinions. The conservative movement is hell-bent on simplistic autocratic rule under the guise of psuedo-morality, all this to enrich their pompous players, who throw peanuts to their voting fiefdom. It is ever apparent that the conservative juggernaut is rife with court jesters, to joke, poke fun and attempt to embarrass or discredit those whose views happen to be different. But, as in medieval times, when the jester no longer suited the monarch by either failing to please or becoming a liability, they too were felled.

Anonymous said...

The level of political debate is, well, twisted and frankly boring. The idea that there is a liberal bias is just ridiculous. It's nothing more than a slur campaign by conservative reactionaries.

Anonymous said...

I hope that journalists will do a story about this, as it raises many questions.

1.From where is the funding for the right wing propagandist coming? Are we entitled to know this?

2. Why isn't the IRS auditing him, as they have demanded that the NAACP submit to an audit due to positions taken by one of their leaders?

3. Is he from Indiana? Is he associated w/ Quayle, Kristol, and the nest of right wing "think tanks" in Indiana such as the Hudson Institute? Is he associated w/ some of the defense contractors there, who sold arms illegally to Iraq? (Who are in turn connected to Arnold Schwazennegger and other prominent Republicans)

4. What is meant by "Hollywood"? Is it the creative talent, that this org objects to? They don't like creative people? Does this include Clint Eastwood? He is MAJOR Hollywood, is a Republican, and is expected to win many awards. Do they object to the movie about the major industrialist- defense contractor Howard Hughes? Or do they just hate creativity?

5. What about the REAL Hollywood? The moguls, esp in the entertainment industry that funded Bush? The purveyors of crapola? In addition, the owners of the movie theaters? Here in DC, Regal theaters is owned by a major far right wing mogul who has so much clout they write laws just for him.

6. The frightening contention that America is only obligated to "provide for the common defense":

a) Bush violated this covenant, using the military and funding it in unprecedented amounts in the interests of 1) Ariel Sharon 2) Defense Contractors. The understanding that we, the American people had, was that the military was ONLY for the common defense.

b) Does America agree that the federal government of the United States of America should undertake nothing more than military?

Anonymous said...

Ooohhhh--those billboards will really show those Hollywood liberals...I am sure they all spend a lot of time checking out billboards as they are exiting their limos on Oscar night. Bossie is a complete fool. Doesn't he see that no matter what "liberal Hollywood" says or does they always come out on top? He and his followers blow a bunch of money on these stupid billboards and who will care? The celebrities have done nothing wrong--only exercised their freedom of speech (then again, maybe Bossie does consider that wrong)--and no matter what Bossie says about them their lives are still fabulous. They will go to the Oscars, go home to their huge mansions and then screw a supermodel on a pile of cash--and the greatest irony of all is that even though they opposed Bush they are the greatest beneficiaries of his policies. They get to hate his guts AND fatten their wallets with all of his big tax cuts for the wealthy. Yeah, Bossie, you are really showing them.....

Anonymous said...

'Where is the funding coming from?' We now know that spending on PR has rocketed under this administration, that certain journalists have been paid to promote Bush administration priorities and that a bill has been introduced to curb this ('Federal Propaganda Act'). Of course, as Rumsfeld would say, there are things we don't know we don't know.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see "Rich Americans for Bush" mount billboards thanking the media moguls for supporting Bush with their big dollar contributions and their Worldwide Simulcast Propaganda campaigns.

Anonymous said...

bossie is just another corporate media whore doing the bidding of his neoscum masters. It's starting to get really boring -- nowhere near as infuriating as this low-life likes to imagine. It's like: seen one whore, seen 'em all. *uck 'em.

Anonymous said...

"Hell wants him, Heaven won't take him, Earth needs him" is a tag for a new Keanu Reeves movie, isn't it? I don't think it's on any of the "Thank you Hollywood" billboards..

Anonymous said...

i was born/live/work in the shobiz town and our industry has gone through all this brouhaha before-especially during the 1950 mccarthy hearings. this bossie guy and many others like him have always been jealous of the influence of film/tv/media and especially of the money-these kind of people have a desperate need for negative attention (meaning any kind of attention). the fact of the matter is LA and NY are the two pillars of financial support (fed taxes for worldwide industries, et al)that are holding up this country and all those whinning red states that suck the blue-dollars into their welfare and other social programs funded mainly by the fed. believe me, LA is NOT all abuzz about his stupid billboards--we are too busy WORKING and PAYING TAXES to give a shit.

Anonymous said...

The right is trying to confuse the issue, by crossing personality with business process. They take liberal entertainers and try to blame their presence for a "liberal" Hollywood, when in reality it is their own freemarket process and greed which is creating all the heat. They just want to diffuse it to keep the focus off them and their money schemes.The party of "family values" is the party of no values whatever.

Anonymous said...

Yeah "liberal" Hollywood. I don't recall anyone spiking Disney's "America's Heart and Soul," though I do recall Disney trying to stop Fahrenheit 911 at all costs. I remember Bowling for Columbine being controversial at the Oscars and most left-wing documentaries not getting theater release at all. I don't remember Tom Clancy movies or The Patriot or True Lies having any trouble getting funding or theater releases. Is Sean Penn a "liberal" for thinking that Iraqis have a right not to be starved to death by the hundreds of thousands or bombed to bits for being born in a country that America covets? Sounds pretty middle of the road to me.

David said...

Painting Hollywood as elitist, left-wing & anti American?
I think more like pulling down the canvas veil & exposing whats really there.
It's pretty simple to see what is in front of your eyes.(If you are just willing to open them)! Nothing has really changed. It's just Americans have finally had enough and are not afraid to speak out anymore. America is speaking out, how does it feel Hollywood? You need to get back to the "Mainstream" and quit pushing the envelope constantly. REALITY CHECK!!!