TV People Swing To The Left? What A Surprise

Posted on Sun 07/03/2011 by


Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt

The Guardian is reluctant to credit that it’s deliberate:

THE news that a publishing division owned by Rupert Murdoch has released a book accusing American TV of liberal bias may sound deeply unsurprising..

But Primetime Propaganda, by Ben Shapiro, merits more attention because it considers not the traditional ideological battleground of news and factual programming but fiction and comedy: M A S H, Friends, Happy Days and so on.

And the allegation of deliberate leftist spin is not merely being asserted by a right-wing commentator but apparently accepted by the makers of the programs. Shapiro talks to dozens of executives and show-runners who are quoted as cheerfully admitting to having engaged in social engineering, justifying, for him, the subtitle: ‘’The true Hollywood story of how the left took over your TV.’’

Among Shapiro’s revelations are that M A S H (1972-1983) and Happy Days (1974-1984) were, by the admission of their producers, pursuing a pro-pacifist, anti-Vietnam War agenda…

The admission from the Happy Days writer Bill Bickley that he inserted a ‘’whole subtext’’ against Vietnam into the sitcom about teenagers in the 1950s is slightly more striking. But most viewers will have instinctively understood that Henry Winkler’s rocker hero the Fonz was a rebel who was likely to resist the draft…

The West Wing was clearly a liberal fantasy alternative to the real politics of the period, but it was implicitly as anti-Clinton as anti-Bush… There is never any doubt that the show is written from a liberal perspective – the biggest threat to President Bartlett’s safety comes from white supremacists who object to his daughter dating an African-American – but such storylines are justified: future historians will surely be impressed by the extent to which the racial politics of the series foreshadowed both the support for and opposition to President Obama.

A more recent hit NBC show, Tina Fey’s sitcom 30 Rock, is another example of a series with a liberal agenda that may be more complex than it at first appears.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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