“If we're going to have a nuclear holocaust, I’m going to the buffet first” – National Review 2008 Post Election Cruise – part 4

As you would expect, the role of the Media and Hollywood in this election was a significant topic of discussion. Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, was one of the panelists and had some interesting analysis of the role of the Media in the election. As you can guess, he was not very impressed:

His analysis was direct and highly critical. However, when Mitt Romney followed up on his statements and asked if it was time for Conservative organizations to acquire these media outlets in order to get our message out; Brent had a very interesting answer:

Brent is convinced that the MSM is in a permanent downward spiral and the way to fight them is to fight for the resources of the new media. This reinforces the points that Mitt made (see Part 3) about the need for us to organize and catch up to the left in the use of the Internet. It also reinforced a point made by Rob Long later in the week,

Obama really had a great web campaign strategy. When comparing Obama’s web campaign to McCain’s there is very little comparison.

The ultimate effect of the media, and our inability to capitalize on the alternatives, was shown by the complete lack of information provided to the voters on key issues. Mitt asked,

How can we have 3 debates and an entire campaign, where important issues, such as immigration and entitlements, are never raised?

Later in the week there was a conversation with Rob Long about Hollywood.

Rob Long

Rob was the producer for Cheers, and has been working in Hollywood for years. He had several insights into the mindset there that are different from what we typically think.

He doesn’t buy into the meme that Conservatives are risking their careers in Hollywood. He has always been open about his politics, and is greeted with puzzlement, rather than anger. He told a story about a project he is currently working on with Morgan Freeman, where over lunch Morgan went on a riff about Obama and how wonderful it will be for the country. Rob just sat back, arms crossed, with a frown and raised eyebrow. Morgan immediately knew what Rob thought of Obama, and shrugged his shoulders. They then went on talking about the joint project.

He points out that in Hollywood, the stars are all very liberal; however the people who work on the productions (e.g. gaffers, grips, makeup) tend to be Republicans. One set of people come to the set by limousine while the others have to drive themselves on the 405. The result is that the paystub is the best direct mail campaign that Conservatives have. The liberal stars never see their paystub, and have no idea what the real affect of the tax policy is on their bottom line. However, the workers on the production do.

Regarding the content of movies and TV programs, he is adamant that it is a mistake to write things that try to teach the viewers a lesson, regardless of your philosophy. The market will reject these, as they have all of the Iraq movies that have been released. Ultimately, in Hollywood, your ability to work and create a project is governed by the studios, and they like you if you can meet your budget (i.e. only lose as much money as was expected).

This is changing, though. Making films is now possible for the masses, and the control of the studios is declining. The importance of showing movies in the theaters is waning, and the time between theatrical release and DVD release is declining. Over 75% of a movie’s ultimate revenue now comes from the DVD release. The market is open to anyone with a video camera and video editing software.

Finally, Rob offered his opinion on how to drive the Conservative philosophy into the consciousness of the voters. He believes the way to do it is to pick 3 issues that are broadly supported by the electorate, such as national security and school choice, and to focus a consistent and broad based campaign throughout the media (new and old) to establish rationale for support of our principles. In my opinion, this also has the benefit of giving people a reason to self identify as a Republican.

Return to Part 3.

Go to Part 5 for discussion of the bailout and economy.