- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2000

Al Gore and Joseph I. Lieberman plan to collect millions tonight from the same Hollywood heavyweights they criticized this week on the campaign trail and in a Senate hearing for peddling gratuitous violence to children.
The two Democrats will be showered with accolades and cash at a fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Dubbed "The Concert," the fund-raiser is co-hosted by Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of Miramax Film Corp., who declined an invitation to testify at yesterday's Senate hearing on violence in the entertainment industry.
The concert caps a week in which the vice president and his running mate, the senior senator from Connecticut, will have raked in more nearly $8 million from the entertainment industry.
Yet on Monday, Mr. Gore warned Hollywood to "clean up its act" within six months or face government intervention. And yesterday, Mr. Lieberman told the Senate hearing that the government should step in if the entertainment industry fails to voluntarily limit violence in TV, movies, music and video games marketed to children.
"The double talk is astounding," said Holly Bailey, spokeswoman for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. "We've seen a lot of instances where politicians on one hand take a lot of money from a certain industry or a certain company and then kind of turn around and work against that company or industry's interest. But this week, it's really over the top.
"I don't know that we've seen such a high-profile example of somebody really biting the hand that feeds them when it comes to campaign money," she added.
Lynne Cheney, the wife of Republican vice-presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney, agreed. The former chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Humanities testified before yesterday's Senate hearing that Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman should ask their political benefactors tonight to take responsibility for their violent products.
"These corporations do things that are so shameful," she said. "Shouldn't people of stature hold them to account?"
As for Mr. Weinstein skipping the hearing, Mrs. Cheney said: "There is something to be said about the old-fashioned concept of shame."
Bill Carrick, a Democratic strategist in Los Angeles, said Mr. Weinstein and other Hollywood moguls were smart to stay away from yesterday's hearing.
"There's a certain political agenda here and a certain show-trial nature of all this," said Mr. Carrick, who ran House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt's presidential campaign in 1988. "You know, Harvey Weinstein is available for seven and three-quarters years in the election cycle and all of a sudden he's needed two months before the election. I don't blame him for not showing up."
One of Mr. Weinstein's co-producers for tonight's gala is Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone. Hosts include actors Ben Affleck, John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton. Entertainment will be provided by K.D. Lang, Macy Gray, Lenny Kravitz, Jimmy Buffet and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
It marks the third consecutive night that Mr. Gore has turned to the entertainment industry for the cash to fuel his presidential campaign. Last night, the vice president rubbed elbows with singer James Taylor. On Tuesday, he was feted by singers Cher and Michael Bolton.
One wag on the Gore campaign dubbed this week's fund-raising tour "Moolah-Paloozah," a wordplay on "Lollapalooza," an annual alternative musical tour with left-wing political overtones.
But the week began with Mr. Gore trumpeting a White House-commissioned report by the Federal Trade Commission that accuses the entertainment industry of targeting preteens for violent video games, obscene music and R-rated movies.
"This has been a week for the Gore campaign to really try to reach out to middle-class voters and soccer moms, hitting them on the issue of entertainment violence, which is a huge issue for swing voters," said Miss Bailey. "But at the same time, he's going to these fund-raisers. What's going to be interesting to see is if he makes such a fuss over this FTC report at the fund-raisers as he does from the campaign stump."
But Mr. Carrick said the vast majority of those in the entertainment industry are being unfairly criticized.
"There's a tendency here to describe Hollywood as some king of monolithic collection of people who are all interested in marketing R-rated movies to kids, as if that's the unifying ideological underpinning of the entertainment business," he said. "The truth is that most of the people who are generous to the Democrats aren't involved in making R-rated movies or have any intention of marketing them to children or teen-agers."
He added: "The creative people by and large are Democrats because of larger issues than their own personal sense of what should or should not be the way the entertainment business conducts itself. Many of them are for Gore because they have a passion for environmental issues or they're pro-choice or they're pro-gay rights or they're worried about income disparity or they're worried about schools."
Miss Bailey noted that this week's attack on Hollywood by the Gore-Lieberman ticket marks a return to the days when Mr. Gore's wife, Tipper, railed against the music industry for profane lyrics. Mr. Gore distanced himself from his wife's crusade when he sought money from the entertainment industry for his 1988 presidential run, but now says he was always proud of Mrs. Gore's actions.
Mr. Gore has also come under fire for distancing himself from the FTC report when it was commissioned by President Clinton last year, only to embrace the findings this week.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide