During the 79th presentation of the Academy Awards, Al Gore accepted the Oscar for “Best Documentary.” Just as many of them had done during the film’s release, Hollywood liberals espoused glowing complements for Gore and his film, An Inconvenient Truth. Matt Drudge later described the award as cementing Gore’s position as “King of Hollywood.” Who would have thought, though, that “King of Hollywood” could be a promotion from Vice President of the United States.
Preceding the film’s wide release, noted film critic (and admitted liberal) Roger Ebert glowed with praise by writing, “In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.”
Adding to the growing chorus of praise, former president (and leading bleeding-heart) Jimmy Carter made some surprising comments in the days leading up to the famed awards ceremony. Carter was quoted as saying about Gore, “His burning issue now is global warming and preventing it. He can do infinitely more to accomplish that goal as the incumbent in the White House than he can even making movies that get Oscars. So I would hope he would, but I don’t think he will.”
However, I believe that Carter is (as usual) out of step with most of America. It’s obvious to me that Gore is having a tremendous influence in the environmental debate as a documentary film star. As the various media outlets continue to drive the knowledge/information age, the influence of a medium like the documentary has only increased significantly in the past few decades.
REGARDLESS of what one thinks about An Inconvenient Truth, it is undeniable that the documentary has contributed to the debate over climate change and global warming. Reviews and comments about the film have ranged significantly, but have maintained a constant volume. While Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer dismissed the film by stating that Gore “was off his lithium again”, the LA Times called the film “highly persuasive”, and Variety described it as “an excellent educational tool.” And these are just some of the major print publications that have contributed to the buzz for the film. There are too numerous blogs, discussion groups, and websites that have also focused on Gore’s film. I suppose even this online article just adds to that buzz.
Continuing the buzz, that Gore’s Nashville home was revealed to consume twenty times more energy than the national average. This revelation only served to keep the buzz alive and lengthened the former vice-president’s role in the center of the environmental debate. As such, one might argue the merits of the film, but few can deny the influence Al Gore and the film has had on environmentalism since its release. The phenomenon of the media driving public opinion has clearly been manifested by this documentary.
And this is certainly not a unique media occurrence for documentaries. Let us not forget the influence of some other recent documentary films. Whether its Michael Moore’s liberal propaganda in Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine or Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, the equally slanted expose on fast-food, the influence of the documentary in recent years has grown significantly. The documentaries of today are not the boring non-fiction works from our parent’s generation.
And documentaries are definitely not the only form of Hollywood media influence. We, as young people, are consumers of all types of media, and therefore are constantly influenced by Hollywood media sources, ranging from online websites and blogs to traditional outlets such as radio and television. We are all greatly influenced by the Hollywood-centric media.
As such, isn’t Carter absolutely wrong, and instead hasn’t Gore’s influence as a movie star been greater than if he were (gasp) a presidential candidate? Is it not unbelievable to think that Al Gore has achieved more influence with the general public through a 96 minute documentary than through 8 years as vice-president and any future as a presidential candidate? He may not have the range of influence currently compared to that of a presidential candidate, but his influence on this particular issue has become unmatched.
This fact could be particularly troubling for conservatives or libertarians. These points of view are oftentimes drowned out in Hollywood by the loud screams of Howard Dean liberals. Unfortunately, fewer in Hollywood ascribe to the philosophies of many AFF members.
LUCKY for us, there is some hope. The same media that we consume regularly is also slowly breaking the cycle of top-down, spoon-fed information dissemination from Hollywood. We no longer have to listen exclusively to what media moguls in California tell us. Thankfully, we can gather information, hear dissenting opinions, and make up our own minds regardless of what Al Gore tells us.
Despite the changing media environment, new media outlets have yet to reach the level of influence of that of Hollywood. For better or for worse, American public opinion is still strongly influenced by Hollywood movie stars, which some have called America’s aristocracy. The right must instead learn to utilize new media resources and overcome the influence of King Al Gore and even Queen Latifah.
Kent Sholars is a public affairs professional and conservative activist living in Washington, DC.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Emma Elliott Freire