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Hollywood: Shut Up and Listen! By: Paul Bond
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, February 13, 2003

If the past few months are any guide, much of the chatter this Academy Awards season might have less to do with Oscar and more to do with political activism.

Especially the chatter on talk radio.

"I want to figure out a way to hurt these people," Dennis Prager said about the parade of liberal actors that have been speaking against the Bush administration.

"God knows, not physically," he added.

Prager threatened a weekly segment on his popular, nationally syndicated radio show whereby he'd update his listeners on the latest musings of the Hollywood Left.

"It's now a weekly event that someone in Hollywood says something foolish -- truly foolish -- about America," he said.

Prager's most recent Hollywood rant was set off by Dustin Hoffman, who said in London recently -- after receiving yet another award -- that President Bush's real reasons for threatening a war with Iraq are, of course, "hegemony, money, power and oil."

The Bush administration "has taken the events of 9/11 and has manipulated the grief of the country, and I think that's reprehensible," Hoffman said.

Prager went on about how such Hollywood anti-Americanism detracts from his ability to enjoy movies.

Prager might not know it, but he's not alone. According to a poll in The Hollywood Reporter, one of the two primary entertainment industry trade papers, 44 percent of Americans say they might not pay to see a movie that stars a politically active celebrity whom they disagree with.

Among the Hollywood Left, Jane Fonda, Alec Baldwin and Barbra Streisand have the most to worry about in regard to offending their audience, according to the poll, which was taken in May.

And, before Hollywood's activist celebrities dismiss talk radio as insignificant, they should understand just how large the medium's audience is: up to 47 million people over the age of 18 tune into talk radio each week, according to industry analysis.

That makes talk radio the No. 1 format among adults. Some of those adults even buy movie tickets.

Beyond Prager, others with national talk-radio shows are also seeking ways to counter Hollywood's endless, leftist babble.

"Any chance we have to ridicule them, we'll take it," Laura Ingraham said about the Hollywood Left, just before the industry's Academy Awards nominations were made public.

Oliver Stone, Madonna and Richard Gere might even make good "human shields" for Saddam Hussein, Ingraham joked on her show.

Stone earned the mention for his "wet kiss" to Fidel Castro via the new  documentary film "Comandante"; Madonna for an upcoming music video that reportedly is an anti-war statement containing scenes of wounded Iraqi babies; and Gere for his anti-Bush diatribe in Germany recently.

"Bush's plans for war are a bizarre bad dream. There doesn't appear to be any sort of basis for any of this," Gere said at the 53rd Berlin Film Festival.

Like Prager, Ingraham was verbally searching on her show for a way to make the Hollywood Left "feel the pinch," as she put it.

The talk-radio circuit even has pet names for Hollywood's peaceniks. Oliver North calls them the "Susan Sarandon Left," while Michael Savage delights in the term "Hollywood Idiot."

Like the Hollywood Idiots who assert that oil is the real reason for a likely war with Iraq, Savage maintains that Gere, Hoffman, and others also have ulterior motives for bad-mouthing America in front of receptive European audiences.

They're simply suggesting that, "If you're going to boycott America, please don't boycott my movie," Savage says.

Larry Elder, the former host of TV's "Moral Court" and host of a newly syndicated national talk-radio program, has also been hammering the Hollywood Left on a regular basis.

"My favorite is Sheryl Crow's pronouncement at the American Music Awards that the best way to avoid conflicts is to not have enemies," Elder told me off the air recently. "Yeah, and the best way to avoid crime is to not have criminals!"

And it's not just the hosts. A caller to Michael Medved's radio show on Oscar-nomination day advocated boycotting the Academy Awards broadcast. "I would love to somehow punish Hollywood," the caller said.

If that poll from The Hollywood Reporter is accurate, many Americans are already engaging in a boycott of sorts, choosing to see movies that don't star Gere, Hoffman, Baldwin, Jessica Lange, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Martin Sheen and too many more to mention who have been publicly bashing America since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Maybe, for the sake of their all-important box office "take," it's time the Hollywood Left stop talking and start listening to talk radio.

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