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October 23, 2005

Fact Follows Fiction Follows Spin Follows… Huh?

Bilhiltv

Davistv

Although not at the top reaches of the day’s news cycle, here are a pair of pairs which manage to tie-in Democratic and presidential politics, Hollywood, and the editorial influence of the ever more prominent news/newswire entity.

Although I just noticed it last night, A.P. issued these two shots, back-to-back, on October 11th.  Except for the first line, each have the identical caption.

The top shot leads off this way:

President Clinton and wife Hillary share a moment during an East Room ceremony at the White House on July 17, 1996.

The second shot begins like this:

This photo supplied by ABC shows Gena Davis in her role as Mackenzie Allen. who becomes president, takes time for a tender moment with her television husband played by Kyle Secor, in a scene from ABC’s ‘Commander in Chief.’

Then, both captions continue accordingly:

Those of a suspicious nature are thinking that ABC’s new hit ‘Commander in Chief’ is an effort by Hollywood lefties to hype Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House in 2008. Show creator Rod Lurie promises ‘that if there was no Hillary Clinton, there would still be a ‘Commander in Chief.”

So, here are a few of my questions:

1.)  How do these people get away with that "those of a suspicious nature" straw man phrase?

2.) If there is as much antipathy toward Hillary on the left as I perceive, exactly who is the A.P. actually referring to?  (And, why don’t they just name those F.O.B.’s?)

3.) What is it going to take for the media to stop trafficking in
right-wing stereotypes (such as the assumption that Hollywood is
dominated by leftists)? (Oh, or it it true?)

4.) Leaving the poor leftists out of it, how much is this program a not-so-disguised trailer for the Clinton sequel?

5.) Regarding the ever increasing "blurring of the lines"
between fact and fiction, how does one begin to break down what is real
and what is contrived just within the Clinton shot, not to mention the interrelation
between the two shots? Picking up just one idea regarding the latter,
is it possible the show anticipated a greater need to prepare for a
"First Hubby" Bill than a President Hil?

(image 1: Ron Edmonds/A.P. July 17,
1996. White House. Via YahooNews. image 2: Kent Eanes – ABC/A.P.
location/date unattributed. Via YahooNews.)

  • http://profile.typekey.com/dusty1215/ dusty

    Jesus Christ..are “they” that paranoid? I enjoy it for what it is..a television drama. I am sure it doesn’t hurt that I recognize certain real life people in some of the characters.Is the world ready for Hillary as the Prez? It makes for blog fodder if nothing else.

  • mugatea

    Television programing is very much like radio: there’s a little for the left, but …
    Q#2: Hillary Clinton carries so much baggage the reds would have their spin served to them on a silver platter. Between her baggage and Diebold election programing in key areas the right would retain the majority + the WH.

  • eva

    I agree with both dusty and mugatea. I think I’ll save my breath for the promised posting on Karen Hughes tomorrow. Hollywood can take care of itself.

  • Diane

    Gena Davis will have the perfect outfits as first FPOTUS, so those aspiring to that position (and the public) will have a “role model”! Hooray for Hollywood…

  • Purple

    My suspicious mind says that The West Wing was just a plot to put a Sheen in the White House.

  • ummabdulla

    I’ve never seen any of these shows, but this topic reminds me of this extract from Condi vs Hillary by Dick Morris.
    I guess I have an idea what different groups think of Hillary, but I didn’t realize that “Condi” was that popular. Do people really like her a lot? Would African-Americans vote Republican in large numbers if she were running against a Clinton?

  • ummabdulla

    I forgot to say that I would have thought that first picture was much earlier than 1996. They look MUCH younger! And Hillary was obviously in a phase where she needed to project a feminine image.

  • readytoblowagasket

    Ready or not, word on the street in New York is that Hillary is running for president in 2008; it’s a weekly topic in local NYC media (Post, Daily News, WNYC at least). Hillary herself is only admitting to running for re-election to her Senate seat in ‘06, and has already raised a record $13.8 million to fend off an expected barrage of Republican attacks that are sure to begin soon. As the junior senator from NY, she has successfully steered a moderate course, however, and has managed to woo a reluctant Republican-leaning population upstate. Hillary’s 2008 political juggernaut seems to be so far ahead of the feeble caption-writers for the AP that it doesn’t much matter what they suppose. Hillary has been positioning herself for this for years, and she is now hitting her stride. Get ready to hear many more sentences that begin “Those of a suspicious nature….”
    Polling results for Election 2008 are already coming in: go to http://www.pollingreport.com/2008.htm to see how Hillary compares to Condi (she’s ahead of Condi, fyi), Rudy, and McCain, among others.

  • The BAG

    Ummabdulla,
    Thanks for the Dick Morris link. I’m putting a piece together right now for HuffPo on recent Condi visuals, and it’s interesting how much Condi and Hillary seem to be drawing comparison right now. (And, not just because of that self-serving Morris.) Reading the article, his assertions (really, assumptions)often run in the opposite direction from logic. What I liked most was this one:

    She [Condi] attracts the same female, African-American and Hispanic voters who embrace Hillary, while still maintaining the support of conventional Republicans.

  • Marysz

    In both photos, the men and women are about the same height, which signals a kind of parity. They’re both putting their heads together–the phrase that occurred to me was a “meeting of the minds.” Doesn’t, in legal terms, a “meeting of the minds” mean that both parties mutually agree on the terms of a contract? These images could be a visual meme about equality and mutuality between the sexes. Hillary is a powerful cultural influence. Compare photos of her to the ones of Meirs in the last post. Who would most middle-aged women rather be?

  • http://bibliosquirrel.blogspot.com san antone rose

    “A.P. issued these two shots, back-to-back”
    Sounds like the A.P. are the suspicious ones. Manufacturing something that doesn’t exist.
    That said, I love the show. Only because it makes me hopeful that in 3 years maybe we’ll get someone in offfice that we can look up to. Someone who is a leader. Someone that really cares about policy not just politics.

  • http://mdhatter.blogspot.com mdhatter

    No, hillary is married to a black man.
    Condi is not.

  • buda_jenn

    Kyle Secor. Cool. Remember Homicide:Life On the Street.
    I don’t hate Hillary. Don’t love her for being a “centrist.” Too many people do hate her however, so I doubt a real run in 2008.
    (BTW, amazing how her hair instantly told me it was 1st term).

  • fotonique

    Respectively, Geena (6′0″) and Kyle (6′5″) are taller than Hillary (5′6″) and Bill (6′2″), not to mention better dressed and better looking. Doesn’t America deserve the Presidential image that Hollywood promises?
    Hillary could definitely be a Contender. Now that Rod Lurie has some free time on his hands, he’s clearly got the best experience to direct her media campaign. He may not have much trouble getting some studio backing, either.
    Democrats (and NonCons) appearing in this post:

    • Hillary
    • Bill (disregard the company he’s been keeping lately)
    • Rod Lurie, Geena Davis, and other members of Commander in Chief:

    Critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2005 demanded to know the politics of everyone on stage Wednesday at the Q&A session for ABC’s new drama “Commander-in-Chief,” about a set of plump red lips that take over the Oval Office after the president has a massive stroke and croaks.
    First, they asked show creator Rod Lurie.
    Then, they asked star Geena Davis.
    Then, they asked everyone else.
    “Is anybody onstage a Republican. Openly?” one critic inquired.
    No one responded.

    Republicans (and NeoCons) appearing in this post:

    •  

    Q. Is Hollywood dominated by leftists?
    A. The current topic notwithstanding, probably not any more than politics is dominated by the right.
    However, images can be deceiving.

  • black dog barking

    fotonique,
    You pose this question:
    Q. Is Hollywood dominated by leftists?
    That question just didn’t occur to me based on the two photos at the top of this column. I was leaning toward the practical, perhaps something about how the TV show might give a new perspective on blowjobs in the Oval Office.
    Interesting — “Hollywood”, “dominated”, and “leftists” are words that come up a lot in propaganda.
    A. The current topic notwithstanding, probably not any more than politics is dominated by the right.
    More interesting. Your answer to your question is anchored by “probably not”, yet the one word answer would be “Yes”.
    I agree with you, images can be deceiving. Words too.

  • fotonique

    BDB,
    Actually, the BAG originally posed that interesting question, not me. Check his post above:

    3.) What is it going to take for the media to stop trafficking in right-wing stereotypes (such as the assumption that Hollywood is dominated by leftists)? (Oh, or it it true?)

    I simplified his question a little, then posed the idea that, ironically enough, the subjects of this media-related post are all left-leaning Democrats. Maybe one of those right-wing stereotypes has been unintentionally reinforced here…
    I can’t definitively state that: the left dominates the media; the right dominates politics; or that propaganda is only used by the bad guys. IMHO, none of these questions have one-word answers.
    Your answer, however, depends on your POV.

  • black dog barking

    fotonique,
    From my POV the BAG’s questions were rhetorical, a comment (on main stream media) presented as questions. The simplification process you applied removed the sense of comment leaving what is, I agree, a right wing stereotype.
    I can’t definitively state that: the left dominates the media; the right dominates politics; or that propaganda is only used by the bad guys.
    It is certainly not controversial to observe that the Republican right has dominated American national politics for the last 5 years, maybe the last 25 years.
    Propaganda involves the deliberate distortion of fact with the intent to deceive the recipient. It is not a nice thing to do. Using propaganda might not automatically make one a bad guy but I suspect high correlation.
    Does the left dominate the media? No.
    ( BTW, John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey wrote a very entertaining insider’s look at the role of left wing politics in Hollywood. )

  • http://stophernow.blogspot.com jami

    you need a control experiment. here’s a picture of (ew) george grabbing laura (end ew). it looks more like the geena davis picture. i’m stunned, really, that you see anything in common between the two pictures you show. in your bill-hillary picture, they look equal, and both are alert, not to mention happy. in the geena picture, she’s unhappy, she’s weary (weak?), and he’s grabbing her shoulder in a rather possessive way.
    i’ve noticed that bill and hillary are eyes-open, quick kissers, who aren’t out to prove anything by having public makeout sessions. sure, they could make out in public like dubya and laura and tipper and al. but then people like you would (rightly) call it “spin,” since only the left is allowed to be attacked for such things.
    people kiss and nuzzle all the time. you really may as well have compared either picture to the soldier-getting-home-from-war-and-dipping-his-gal pic, and said, “see? they’re near each other! it’s a pro-hillary plot, i tells ya!”

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