Hillary vs. Hollywood

It's too bad John Kerry never had the courage in the last presidential campaign to take on Hollywood as a presidential candidate. Then again, President Bush said next to nothing about Tinseltown's corrosive effect on America's moral values on his path to re-election, either. Why both camps ignored an issue with such profound political ramifications is a mystery to me.

Would it surprise you that Hillary Clinton is not going to make that mistake?

Last week, in a Democratic debate of sorts on religion and values issues aired on CNN, Mrs. Clinton told a questioning pastor that she could support the idea of seeking a vast reduction in the number of women choosing abortion, and part of her answer turned to our cultural rot.

"We have so many young people who are tremendously influenced by the media culture and by the celebrity culture, and who have a very difficult time trying to sort out the right decisions to make," she said. "And I personally believe that the adult society has failed those people. I mean, I think that we have failed them in our churches, our schools, our government. And I certainly think the, you know, free market has failed. We have all failed. We have left too many children to sort of fend for themselves morally."

It can certainly be argued that the Clintons did not set the proper moral tone for the country in 1998. In a long national soap opera, drawn out to a crawl because the Clintons could not admit wrongdoing, their behavior in private and their savage warring on prosecutors in public coarsened the culture instead of healing it. But that has not stopped Mrs. Clinton from grasping the political appeal of protesting our media and celebrity culture.

I remember that two years ago, Senator Clinton lent her star power to the Kaiser Family Foundation as they issued a new study on the media habits of children. Sadly, the children surveyed said most parents don't set or enforce any rules on media usage. Seizing the stage as a keynote speaker, Mrs. Clinton noted she worked on a bipartisan basis with to get the federal government to research the media's effects on children. She expressed support for parents and even grandparents raising children and the need to support them by talking about media literacy and putting more emphasis on showing parents a program's rating after every commercial.

She effectively plucked out the most disturbing study finding from Kaiser: that 70% of teens between 15 and 17 said they've accidentally come across pornography on the web, and 23% report that this happens often. "More disturbing is that close to one-third of teens admit to lying about their age to access a website," she added.

She even highlighted her objections to the "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" video game, especially how it scares parents when their boys are "playing a game that encourages them to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them. [It's] kind of hard to digest and to figure out what to say, and even to understand how you can shield your particular child from a media environment where all their peers are doing this."

This stance gave Hillary great headlines, like this one in the New York newspaper Newsday: "Clinton Assails ‘Epidemic' of Media Sex and Violence." It makes her sound tougher on Hollywood than the speech sounded in its entirety. Since everyone knows Hollywood is a major fundraising stop for Democratic candidates, her courage will be further magnified as the primary votes approach.

Hillary critics will be sorely tempted to dismiss all this as artful Clintonian political triangulation, with Mrs. Clinton very wisely and effectively positioning herself in the mainstream against the extremes on the question of unhealthy messages in the media. That is, I think, short-sighted. Of course there is political expediency in the exercise (and no one reads polls better than Mrs. Clinton, with the possible exception of Mr. Clinton). But this doesn't mean she doesn't possess a deep-rooted conviction on this issue. She does, and I suspect she has every intention of taking this issue to the Oval Office in 2009.

Hollywood's muck-makers are advised to see the writing on the wall. When Hillary Clinton is scolding you in the headlines, maybe it's time to shape up. Hillary's would-be Republican competitors had better take notice as well. She is successfully outflanking them on a hugely important issue she intends to make her own.

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  • Guest

    Newsflash:  Hillary Clinton did not need to admit to any wrongdoing in 1998;  it was her husband who did the "wrongdoing", and she was the biggest victim of it.  I'm so sick of her being blamed for her husband's actions.  We all know she's no saint, but can we stop blaming the victim, regarding her husband's infidelities?

  • Guest

    I'm sure Mr. Bozell, who's been working in this field for decades, isn't so obtuse as to blame Mrs. Clinton for her husband's infidelities. What he's probably hinting at by his "savage warring on prosecutors" remark is, in part, her portrayal of her husband's prosecution as the nefarious product of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" aimed at an innocent man.

    The implication behind Bozell's remark is that, given the president's history of infidelity, no one can have considered him an innocent man, and so her defense of him in those terms smacked more of self-serving rather than serving the truth.

    Combined with her own earlier Whitewater denials, Hillary's "conspiracy" defense would simply have added to the perception that if you're powerful enough in Washington, you can bully your way out of any accusations against you, no matter how true–which would indeed coarsen the culture instead of healing it.

  • Guest

    Yes Claire,

    You are right she did not have to apologize for her husband's infidelities.  Nor does she have to apologize for staying in the marriage.  She did however say that the whole question was a vast right wing conspiracy the athad no basis in fact.  In essence she slandered all who felt the President should have been investigated and she slandered the women who were lodging complaints.  For this she needs to apologize publicly and make serious amends.  For someone who wants to be a leader, and a standard bearer for women she has certainly abandoned the ones abused by her husband.  Such abandonment for her own political gain is what really makes her dangerous as  potential presidential candidate.

  • Guest

    I don't believe that her husband abused anyone.  These women were consenting adults, and Monica Lewinsky before she left for Washington set a goal of sleeping with as many politicians as possible.  She is just as sleazy as Bill Clinton, and Hillary owes no apologies (except for her views on abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc, which are what make her dangerous as a potential presidential candidate).

  • Guest

    Well, Juanita Broaddrick may have been an adult, but there is considerable doubt about her consenting….

  • Guest

    During the Paula Jones trial, Broaddrick signed an affidavit stating that Clinton had never assaulted her. 

  • Guest

    When a person in a position of power uses that position  to coerce others into sexual relations, the sex cannot be considered consensual, even if the other person thinks it was.

  • Guest

    There was no coersion used.  It is not illegal for bosses to have sexual relations with their employees;  it happens all the time.  Different companies have different policies, but there is no law against it unless it is proven that pressure was used.  That certainly wasn't the case with someone like Monica Lewinski, who intentionally set a goal of having sex with politicians.

        I feel uncomfortable being in a position of defending Bill Clinton's behavior, because I do find it to be quite sleazy. I think he's a sex addict, and I hope that he's gotten help.  I also think that the women he had relations with are every bit as sleazy, and his wife has nothing to apologize in this regard, although I also don't defend her political views which are very diametrically opposed to mine (particualrly regarding life issues).

  • Guest

    Regarding Juanita Broaddrick:

    It is true that she signed an affidavit stating that Bill Clinton never assaulted her. It is also true that she has since stated that she signed it falsely. I saw her interviewed about this some eight years ago. (The interview aired in Australia. To date, I don't know anyone in the USA who saw the interview.) To the best of my memory, she stated that she did not want to be dragged into Bill Clinton's arena again, and signing the affidavit seemed like the easiest path out.

    Claire, you might be interested in a book called "Their Stories" by Candace E. Jackson. She has interviewed several women who felt abused by Bill Clinton and compiled their stories. I've only read a couple of chapters, but it doesn't look to me like all his relationships were consensual.

  • Guest

    Well, I guess there are always two sides to everything.  In this case, I am more inclined to believe that they were consensual.  I don't deny that sex abuse, sexual harrassment and rape are all realities of our society, but I honestly don't believe that's going on here (mainly because all the women he has been involved in seem just as sleazy as he is).  But even if he has abused them, Hillary is not to blame.   That being said, I will repeat that this in no way means I support her political views, particularly regarding life issues.  I just feel sorry for her when it comes to the humiliation she has suffered at the hands of her husband, and it upsets me to see her blamed for it.

  • Guest


    Slick Hilly is just doing what Slick Willy did to get elected.

    She is telling people what they want to hear regardless of her personal values.  If elected, she will do whatever she bloody pleases!