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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Right-Wing Hysteria Watch: Is 'Glee' part of Hollywood's leftist propaganda machine?

Jane_lynch-glee I'm not the world's biggest "Glee" fan, but from what I'd heard from my 11-year-old's school chums, the musical show is a fun, lighthearted look at a fictional high school glee club in Lima, Ohio. Or, as the San Francisco Chronicle put it, the show is a "quirky, sweet, humorous, non-partisan funfest."

But now the pundits in the conservative blogosphere, always quick to pull the trigger whenever they see Hollywood trying to hypnotize America using its all-powerful left-wing propaganda machine, have raised the alarm about "Glee," citing a disrespectful slam at Sarah Palin in the show's Tuesday night return to the airwaves. As the Newsbusters website described it, Jane Lynch, who plays a conniving high school cheerleading coach, told two of her cheerleaders: "You may be two of the stupidest teens I've ever encountered. And that's saying something. I once taught a cheerleading seminar to a young Sarah Palin."

"Glee" was already in hot water with the right wing, since the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, had in previous episodes made fun of abstinence education and, as Newsbusters puts it, "tried to normalize teen homosexuality." Apparently on the right, treating gay kids as regular folks, instead of as scary deviants, is cause for alarm.

Not to be outdone, over at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood website, John Nolte has also weighed in with his usual light touch, claiming that the Palin gag was part of a concerted liberal effort to mesmerize your children with lefty propaganda. Here's his not-quite-so-entirely levelheaded take:

"Glee" is millions of dollars of sound and fury aimed squarely at your children. And as we can now see, the creators are all about getting between you and your kids with their political and social agendas. They know Palin is a growing political force and nothing's off the table when it comes to marginalizing her -- even at the expense of their own show's entertainment value -- even at the expense of audience share.

Poor Ryan Murphy. I guess it would've been oh-so-much simpler if he'd just had Jane Lynch tell the silly cheerleaders that they were the dumbest teens she'd ever seen. And that was saying something, since she'd once taught cheerleading to ... Megan Fox. It would've gotten a nice knowing laugh without prompting any hysterical shrieks of angst from the right-wing blogosphere, which is so paranoid about Hollywood's oppressive Marxist-Obamaism that it seems bent on getting worked up every time anyone in show business shows any signs of liberal bias.

(As you may recall, the righties were up in arms for weeks when Tom Hanks seemed to imply, while doing interviews promoting HBO's "The Pacific" series, that there was some link between our war against Japan during World War II and the modern-day war on terrorism.)

But guess what? I'm betting that Murphy is a liberal and he liked the idea of a Sarah Palin joke. The same goes, in reverse, if you listen to right-wing-dominated talk radio, where you can hear Rush Limbaugh, pretty much any day of the week, making jokes about his favorite liberal whipping boys. Ditto for Fox News. The conservatives rule talk radio and cable TV, the liberals rule Hollywood and that's the way it goes.

What I did find intriguing is that in all the attacks on "Glee," none of the conservative bloggers got around to mentioning that, despite their constant drumbeat of charges that regular Americans don't like Hollywood leftist entertainment, "Glee" is a huge hit, with its Tuesday night show drawing 13.7 million viewers, a huge leap forward from the average viewership of its first 13 episodes. And even more intriguing, the conservative bloggers somehow forgot to mention that this leftist propaganda show is, ahem, airing on Fox TV, which is owned, ahem, by arch conservative Rupert Murdoch.

Does that make Rupert a traitor to the cause? Or is he one of those conservatives who actually believes in creative freedom, where show-runners can offer their own special slant on the world as long as they attract enough eyeballs to have a hit show? Does that make Rupert a turncoat? Or is he just the kind of guy who, when it comes to entertainment, believes in different strokes for different folks?  



Photo: Jane Lynch directs the Cheerios! squad in "The Power of Madonna" episode of "Glee" on Fox. Credit: Michael Yarish/Fox



Comments () | Archives (54)

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Well, that came along pretty much on schedule. Did I somehow miss your defense of Jane Fonda from the "right-wing hysterics?" I thought for sure you'd jump on that one, too.

The difference between TV and talk radio is that while talk radio is supposed to be a forum for political ideas, shows like "Glee" are decidedly not.

Actually, every backhanded slap at Sarah Palin serves to elevate her legitimacy. As the cheerleaders would say "Bring It On!"

Everything in Hollywood is anti-conservative. Doesn't mean we cant still enjoy some of it. The good news is it does very little to move Americans politically. Don't worry Republicans. Even with Glee, you will still do very well in the mid-terms.

Oh, come on! Ms. Palin loves to be 'marginalized', did she not herself chose to poke fun of herself on SNL? The line was genius.

GLEE is just FUN! It makes you want to dance and sing.
It makes you laugh and cry! It'd FUN to watch!

It's not political. Unless, having fun and enjoying life is just a liberal thing.

What's really funny is the way Nolte acts as if Palin's popularity is a growing juggernaut that the evil liberals will stop at nothing to arrest. Has he looked at any polls lately? I'll bet a majority of America agrees with Sue on this one. Why is that controversial?

This show is original, creative, funny, and extremely well-done. But, the messages are decidedly liberal. If someone points this out, why do people get offended? I'm a conservative. I sat through 4 years of college having most of my beliefs belittled by professors and fellow students. The majority of messages from TV and Film outlets support liberal causes. That's the way it is.

This article only adds to the problem because it doesn't encourage dialogue. Instead it attacks - calling conservatives 'hysterical' and hinting at paranoia.

Imagine if a character on Glee, or Grey's Anatomy, or any other prime time show made fun of President Obama for an attempt to pass a health care bill without laying out a believable plan for how such a bill could actually work? What if a respected character argued that ideology without practicality is failed diplomacy in an effort to support a conservative viewpoint? Would this happen? Likely not. This is why conservatives are angry. They don't feel represented even though they make up half the voting populous. It's the reason conservative talk radio grew so quickly in the 90s. Conservatives finally had a voice.

Unfortunately, the voices - both liberal and conversative - are used either to attack the opposing idiots who are clearly inferior to them, or to convince each other how superior they are to said idiots. Respectful, meaningful dialogue is an ancient virtue.

One of the most powerful lessons I learned in recent years came from Steven Covey's workshop "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", in which he teaches "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." The modern approach of "Attack and belittle first, then postulate" leads to further and further partisanship.

Mr. Goldstein,

I'm a Democrat, and I even find that Palin bit in Glee funny. Have conservatives watched 30 Rock? Non-stop bashing of liberals, but done in a very funny way. What isn't funny, or insightful are your columns. By the time I get to reading you at night, I've already gone to at least half a dozen political website. You're in the entertainment section, and your braindead forays to politics (commentaries done without any skill or wit) is a liability for this paper.


Yes. But can anyone deny Sarah Palin is intellectually inferior by nearly every standard known to man?

Would you hire her to manage your business?

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