CyberAlert -- 12/17/1997 -- Entertainment Edition: Baldwin for Senate? Klink Attacks Right

Entertainment Edition: Baldwin for Senate? Klink Attacks Right

Today's CyberAlert is another special edition devoted to politics in entertainment. MRC entertainment analyst Melissa Caldwell put it together with input from analysts Tom Johnson and Adam Pogash. -- Brent Baker

1. Actor Alec Baldwin declared "I want to be the ferocious liberal" as he pushes campaign finance reform and looks at a Senate run.

2. ABC sit-com star Drew Carey won't be voting for Baldwin, insisting that when it comes to government, "the less the better."

3. Dick Wolf, Executive Producer of Law & Order, has used the show to promote his policy agenda.

4. Hollywood hosted Clinton; Ice-T defended cop killer song, Michael Keaton praised Clinton's effectiveness -- and Carter too; and Colonel Klink blasted right wing crazies for trying to destroy Clinton.

1) Actor Alec Baldwin (The Shadow, Hunt for Red October, The Edge) has taken a hiatus from acting to pursue liberal politics and is considering a run for the Senate, saying that a House seat is beneath him. Baldwin now serves as the President of Creative Coalition, a liberal celebrity activist organization dedicated to pushing "campaign finance reform."

The November 24 issue of New York magazine featured an eye opening profile of Baldwin's most recent political activities. In the article, Baldwin complained about how Democrats are not liberal enough: "Democrats of the seventies and eighties are too tolerant, too open-minded, not feral enough....I want to be the ferocious liberal."

Baldwin offered an illuminating insight on how he views success, a bit of reasoning which illustrates why Hollywood is so full of liberals. In short, Baldwin believes that success comes from pure dumb luck, and not from hard work, talent, or ambition. He excused his recent box office bombs by reasoning: "To become Nicholson, Brad Pitt -- that's an act of God. It has nothing to do with your ability." So, why shouldn't the wealthy pay higher taxes? After all, whether or not a person is successful is only a question of luck -- life's a lottery and the government must make those with luck pay for those without it.

Baldwin's attitude might well be blamed for his inability to reach the top. Indeed, Baldwin even referred to the lottery analogy in explaining why he moved away from Los Angeles to Long Island, New York:
"You had to pretend that you liked all these people and wanted to be their friend....I fucking hate L.A....Rich and famous in L.A. is more toxic than anything....I began to believe that winning the Lottery meant just more face time with the people I found it increasingly difficult to communicate with. You get tired of the problems. I want to have a good time. I've had enough of difficult situations."

When asked about rumors that he is considering running for Congress against Republican Congressman Michael Forbes of New York, Baldwin told the magazine: "Could I run against Forbes next year and win? I think I could beat the crap out of Forbes. Would I want to be a Congressman from the East End of Long Island, and go to Washington and be one of the 435 people down there in a Republican controlled Congress? No. What's the job I want to have? I'd say Senate. Governor of New York. It would be great."

New Yorkers could actually do worse, believe or not -- they could get Alec's brother Billy, also an actor. A December 8 New Republic piece chronicled a bus trip taken by the two brothers to Massachusetts to push for campaign finance reform. The magazine's Stephen Glass recounted a conversation with Billy:
"I ask him if the current campaign finance hearings will spur reform and, if so, what kind of reform he would like to see. Without missing a beat, he tells me that the scandals are for the most part 'crap.' He then says the real scandal was in 1980, when soon-to-be Vice President Bush allegedly went to Paris to delay the release of the hostages until Reagan had won the election."

2) Contrast Alec Baldwin with TV star Drew Carey. The November issue of Reason magazine featured an interview with the star of the popular ABC sitcom "The Drew Carey Show," Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT on ABC. Carey does not believe that big government is the solution to all the world's ills, quite the opposite, as this interview revealed. Carey has little in common with the elite Hollywood left who parade their causes-du-jour. In fact, he is quick to point out the hypocrisy of the Hollywood Cause-culture:
"Everybody in Hollywood loves symbolic gestures....Hollywood people are filled with guilt: white guilt, liberal guilt, money guilt. They feel bad that they're so rich, they feel they don't work that much for all that money, and they don't...."

Talking later about doing Comic Relief, Carey charged: "[it was] all gourmet-catered, all the drinks were free, not a homeless guy in sight. Everyone in Hollywood comes to these things and then says, 'Look how we cured homelessness.' They feel guilty if they party and there's not a good reason for it....Still, I wish there were more organizations like [Comic Relief]. Then the government wouldn't step in all over the place. Then you could decide for yourself to help the homeless or not to help the homeless...."

Asked about his attitude towards government, Carey reasoned to Reason: "The less the better....You should never depend on the government for your retirement, your financial security, for anything. If you do, you're screwed....P.J. O'Rourke once said the government has passed enough laws, it should just stop. It oversteps its bounds so often. Giving it a little bit of power is like getting a little bit pregnant."

3) A couple of times this season Dick Wolf, Executive Producer of NBC's Law and Order, has inserted his personal political views on gun control and TV ratings into the otherwise usually politically balanced show. Aired Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/PT, the show follows two New York City detectives as they solve a crime and then the program shifts to shows the prosecutors in action.

In the November 5 episode the detectives track down some men who held up a bank and discover that the culprits belong to a militia group. When the police find the militia group's arsenal of weapons during a raid, one detective says to the other: "Enough guns to take over Staten Island. Take a picture and send it to Charlton Heston." Heston now serves as spokesman for the National Riffle Association.

Wolf has made his position on gun control quite clear. In an ongoing debate over the new descriptive television ratings system, Wolf has attacked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for "forcing" networks to comply with the system (NBC so far has refused to adopt the new ratings system), while being "weak" on gun-control. In an August 4 op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Wolf remarked: "We all know that politics makes strange bedfellows. But how can organizations such as the National Education Association, the National PTA and the Children's Defense Fund willingly align themselves and utilize Sen. John McCain as their surrogate in the Senate? McCain obviously has no moral dilemma about being the senatorial voice supposedly protecting the children of America from those murderous 30-inch Sonys, when during the 102nd Congress he voted against the five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, and in the 103rd Congress, voted against the Brady Bill."

Wolf charged that the ratings system "is a classic example of fear and political expediency replacing rational thinking." The October 15 episode reflected that view. A female Navy pilot is suspected of killing a married Navy man with whom she was having an affair. Her attorney appears on a Larry King-like talk show and says: "This is not about a military necessity. This is about big government trying to legislate morality, not just in sexual matters, but in every area of our lives, including what you can and cannot watch on television."

4) Some short items: Hollywood hosted Clinton; Ice-T defended cop killer song, Michael Keaton praised Clinton's effectiveness -- and Carter too; Judd Nelson demanded more NEA spending; and Colonel Klink blasted right wing crazies for trying to destroy Clinton.

Clinton Courted Hollywood for Weekend of Fund Raising. President Clinton stayed at the Malibu Beach home of film producer Jerry Katzenberg during a November weekend of appearances and fundraising. The November 16 Los Angeles Times reported that Clinton dined that weekend with Hollywood celebrities and politicians. Among those at one dinner were Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey, David Geffen, and Barry Diller, as well as Mayor Richard Riordan (R), and a former Cabinet official, the just indicted Henry Cisneros.

Rapper Ice-T: No apologies for "Cop Killer" Album. During his November 13 appearance on the nationally syndicated Keenen Ivory Wayans television show, rapper Ice-T had no apologies for his most infamous album "Cop Killer", which encouraged listeners to kill police officers. Keenen asked: "Now your most controversial was Cop-Killer, of course. The most controversial record that you made. How did that affect you. All the back-lash, and all that."

Ice-T replied: "I was like, wow, they buggin' over this record, because the record had been out over a year...I mean, the attitude I have for the record hasn't changed really, because that record was really a protest record. It was written a year before the uprising in Los Angeles, and it was the way people was feeling in Los Angeles, people were basically saying 'If these cops do not change, we going to bring it to 'em.' And they did. So I had done nothing wrong, and I don't apologize for that."

Michael Keaton on Clinton: "An Amazingly Effective President." Actor Michael Keaton was in Washington in November to co-emcee the Jefferson Awards to honor Americans "who have made a difference through public service." The award was created by Jackie Kennedy and Sen. Robert Taft. While in town, Keaton made an appearance on CNBC's Hardball. Host Christopher Matthews asked Keaton who in government had done a lot to help the country. Keaton answered:
"I think of guys like Jimmy Carter, who was the real deal know it's weird because he may be looked at, people at some point may look back and think he was a great President, I know a lot of people don't think he was....sometimes you have to look back from a perspective, I think like, for instance, I think Clinton will leave, and on paper, people will say this was an amazingly effective President. While it's happening I don't think they see it necessarily. And by the way, you know, I voted for him, and I'd probably vote for him again...."

Backing the National Endowment for the Arts. In a December 9 discussion about NEA funding on ABC's Politically Incorrect, Judd Nelson, star of NBC's Suddenly Susan sit-com, argued in favor of government supported arts. "I think that any kind of measure of any cultural society are these myriad of interests in the arts, I mean, I think that's wonderful that with government support, this country has grown by leaps and bounds....Maybe government should learn to do more than just what is necessary, but to do what is visionary, to do what is altruistic."

Colonel Klink blasted right-wingers. Werner Klemperer, who many will remember as Colonel Klink from TV's Hogan's Heroes, complained on the December 10 Politically Incorrect about conservative criticism of Clinton: "What is this pathological, totally pathological craziness of the right wing to just destroy the man [Clinton] and his wife?"

-- Brent Baker