Now that the Democrats have decided to aggressively campaign the idea that Dan Rather’s overeager, under-thought screw-up was part of a right wing campaign to concur the world, the conspiracy against Fahrenheit 9/11 – you may know the title as the $119 million grossing victim of the right – is apparently back on the list of talking points.
Nikki Finke, who does an excellent job scooping the news that the 3 major networks have all refused to run F9/11 ads during their “hard” news shows and that Sony Home Entertainment has no intention of advertising on any Fox outlets, then spins the story into a remarkably misguided political conspiracy that all but defines the mindset that seems to have already cost John Kerry any chance of being elected.
She writes, “For all the hundreds of thousands of words broadcast and written about so-called Rathergate, the news of Sonygate hasn’t received any attention at all.”
Well, could it be that “Sonygate” is not a big scandal because the networks aren’t accepting 527 ads from either side on their hard news shows either? (Of course, to Nikki, all Bush ads are attack ads and all Kerry ads are self-defense.) Could reasonable people of either side dare to dream that this actually suggests journalistic responsibility instead of a vast right wing conspiracy? Or could it be that no one is up in arms because these conspiratorial networks are accepting ads for the film on all of their entertainment programming?
So, whether attacking Disney, GE or Viacom, Nikki doesn’t want to linger on the fact that all three will make money on selling F9/11 on their networks. And on the cable nets? Is Sony Home Entertainment. buying ads on Viacom’s MTV or Comedy Central, where that right-wing fanatic Jon Stewart co-opts The Daily Show every night? Is S.H.E. buying ads on G.E.’s MSNBC or Disney’s partially-owned ESPN, A&E or E!? Did Nikki even ask?
I can’t answer any of these questions, but I am guessing that we’d be hearing about it if Sony Home Entertainment was barred from any of these nets, given that the blockade of about 10% or less or network airtime has unnamed Sony execs spinning like tops, according to our fair Nikki.
Do read Nikki’s piece for yourself. If you can take someone who writes, “Eisner had already given the Bushies the biggest gift of all: pulling the distribution plug on Fahrenheit 9/11,” seriously as a voice of reason in this argument, as Eisner gave Michael Moore and Harvey Weinstein and Team Lions Gate the biggest gift of all by giving them a handle with which to market this film into a $119 million domestic grosser with scores of millions more in profits coming from this poor downtrodden DVD release, you are a far, far less cynical soul than I.
Or perhaps you are, like Ms. Finke and so many people on the Hollywood’s fire-breathing left these days (Nikki actually wondered out loud whether her piece on Jay Leno leaning left led to his ouster… oy!), so outraged by the still-building consensus that John Kerry will fail in his race for the presidency, that you are willing to flail at any reason for that failure other than a poor campaign and, most painfully of all, the huge mistake that Kerry made in following Hollywood’s drama queen rage about Bush instead of running the affirmative campaign of ideas and principle that was his only chance of unseating a sitting president in the middle of a war.
Personally, I think Hollywood will have a lot to answer for if Bush wins this election. Kerry, who ironically has little to no chance of losing California or New York to Bush, took the advice of his most famous and newly-big-moneyed supporters and ran most of his campaign on Bush rage and not on Kerry love, spelled by bouts of milquetoasted silence, and the strategy – now back in full effect, with desperate acts all that seem left for him to attempt – failed utterly. There are many notches on The Wheel of Blame… but I think this covers about 40% of the possible winners.