Hollywood and Broadway take a jab at Proposition 8 with the “Proposition 8 Musical”

Imagine my surprise this morning, when perusing through the news of the day I noticed that Proposition 8 was back in the news.  No, it wasn’t news about the legislation, or even news of the protests that I read this morning, it was rather a video created by celebrities and Broadway stars mocking Proposition 8, that was featured on website “Funny or Die.”

The video features a long list of Broadway and Hollywood veterans—from Neil Patrick Harris, John C. Reilly, and Allison Janney, to  comedians Jack Black, Sarah Chalke, Maya Rudolph, Margaret Cho, and many more.
Now normally when you see video of celebrities and the election, it’s about voting. Or registering to vote. Or voting for a candidate. And with all of the videos cycling through the cyberworld during the campaign, frankly I got tired, and I’m sure the rest of the public did, of celebrities throwing their hat in the ring.

I think it’s different with this video, and with the proposition 8 battle.

Hollywood and Broadway are two industries that whether we want to acknowledge it or not–are filled with gays and lesbians who essentially help these industries function.

Gays are not only actors but do a lot of the production, writing, hair, makeup and other aspects contributing to the production value of Hollywood and Broadway.

Therefore not being able to marry is a big deal to people in Hollywood and Broadway who are trying to find a way to share their success, and benefits—economic and others—with the partner.

So for Hollywood to send this message out as a collective is a good sign for those who are LGBT in Hollywood, and an indicator that should Proposition 8 stay as is, we will hear the uproar from Hollywood for as goes Hollywood, goes the public.

Everybody’s President

A recent New York Times article “Whose President is He Anyways?” noted how many ethnic and religious groups like to claim Obama as their own. Whether symbolically or literally, whether African-American, Hawaiian, Asian, Kenyan, Italian, Muslim, Jewish, you name it .. Is there a reason for such claims? Or is it simply that the American people are simply proud to have a president that reflects a mosaic of ethnic and racial ties?

Never before have the American people tried to classify a president into a racial or ethnic group as a justification to not only elect, but to trust the president. It seems the public wants minority representation, and by painting Obama as a minority, they get their wishes. They also want to box their president into a category so they can justify his actions. Obama seems to satisfy the desires for almost every racial, ethnic, political and other minority group.

As taken from the article:

“He reminds me of John Kennedy in this respect,” said Peter H. Wehner, a former Bush White House official now at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. “If you read the books on Kennedy, intellectuals who spoke to Kennedy felt like he was an intellectual; politicians who spoke with him felt like he was a politician. He had the ability to make people think he was what they wanted and what they were looking for. I get the sense that Obama is a little like that and everyone is going to lay claim to him.”

Obama’s ability to “give the public what they are looking for” was flawless during the campaign and has so far panned out in his cabinet nominations which are moving at lightspeed pace. Whether he can satisfy every sector of the public who claims him as their own is another story though.

The facts were these…the Media got Punk’d!


A couple of weeks ago, reports online and on television claimed Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin thought Africa was a country and not a continent. While oher “temper tantrums,” interviews flubs and shopping sprees were also highlighted, the media focused on the fact she didn’t know Africa was a continent.

When these claims were presented, the media never second guessed the information.  With the number of people taking jabs at Palin publicly, they didn’t consider that someone would deliberately fabricate information to tarnish her reputation. They thought the report fit in with all the other claims from the campaign trail portraying Palin as not the brightest tool in the shed.

They  assumed, “Yep, that’s Sarah Palin. She knows very little about foreign policy.” Saturday Night Live, Katie Couric and the rest of the “liberal elite media”  tarnished Palin’s reputation by reiterating a practically true point.

As new information about the candidates was revealed, the media was so caught up in “Obama won!” hype that it never thought twice to question where it came from, or suspect that it might be fake.

And it turns out the information was fabricated, and the source wasn’t real either.

A “New York Times” article last week discovered the source of disparaging information about Palin was in fact, made up.

“Martin Eisenstadt”, a policy advisor for John Mccain, said he was the source of the leaks.

But is Eisenstadt a real person?

Nope.

Yes, that’s right, the media got duped by a nonexistent being. You think they would have learned. There are always bad apples in journalism– those who take shortcuts for the sake of their own career, or to hype an issue to mainstream status.

Everything about Eisenstadt—from his website and identity, to even youtube clips, was fake.

When journalists do not question the credibility of their sources, false info is assumed to be true, and the journalist is not doing their job.

The story gets even weirder: turns out “Eisendstadt” was a made up persona by two FILMMAKERS trying to get their own product out to the media!

There’s nothing wrong with shameless self promotion,but isn’t making up information about Sarah Palin to promote your film  going too far?   Couldn’t they have just bought ad space somewhere instead of creating this whole charade? I’m sure any newspaper in the country would happily buy their adspace.

Making up information is one thing. Making up information about a candidate after a major election for  selfish reasons is another.

Below is the article in its entirety from the New York Times:

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

Now a pair of obscure filmmakers say they created Martin Eisenstadt to help them pitch a TV show based on the character. But under the circumstances, why should anyone believe a word they say?

“That’s a really good question,” one of the two, Eitan Gorlin, said with a laugh.

(For what it’s worth, another reporter for The New York Times is an acquaintance of Mr. Gorlin and vouches for his identity, and Mr. Gorlin is indeed “Mr. Eisenstadt” in those videos. He and his partner in deception, Dan Mirvish, have entries on the Internet Movie Database, imdb.com. But still. …)

The pranksters behind Eisenstadt acknowledge that he was not, through them, the anonymous source of the Palin leak. He just claimed falsely that he was the leaker–and they say they have no reason to cast doubt on the original story. For its part, Fox News Channel continues to stand behind its story.

Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Mirvish say the blame lies not with them but with shoddiness in the traditional news media and especially the blogosphere.

“With the 24-hour news cycle they rush into anything they can find,” said Mr. Mirvish, 40.

Mr. Gorlin, 39, argued that Eisenstadt was no more of a joke than half the bloggers or political commentators on the Internet or television.

An MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, explained the network’s misstep by saying someone in the newsroom received the Palin item in an e-mail message from a colleague and assumed it had been checked out. “It had not been vetted,” he said. “It should not have made air.”

But most of Eisenstadt’s victims have been bloggers, a reflection of the sloppy speed at which any tidbit, no matter how specious, can bounce around the Internet. And they fell for the fake material despite ample warnings online about Eisenstadt, including the work of one blogger who spent months chasing the illusion around cyberspace, trying to debunk it.

The hoax began a year ago with short videos of a parking valet character, who Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Mirvish said was the original idea for a TV series.

Soon there were videos showing him driving a car while spouting offensive, opinionated nonsense in praise of Rudolph W. Giuliani. Those videos attracted tens of thousands of Internet hits and a bit of news media attention.

When Mr. Giuliani dropped out of the presidential race, the character morphed into Eisenstadt, a parody of a blowhard cable news commentator.

Mr. Gorlin said they chose the name because “all the neocons in the Bush administration had Jewish last names and Christian first names.”

Eisenstadt became an adviser to Senator John McCain and got a blog, updated occasionally with comments claiming insider knowledge, and other bloggers began quoting and linking to it. It mixed weird-but-true items with false ones that were plausible, if just barely.

The inventors fabricated the Harding Institute, named for one of the most scorned presidents, and made Eisenstadt a senior fellow.

It didn’t hurt that a man named Michael Eisenstadt is a real expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and is quoted in the mainstream media. The real Mr. Eisenstadt said in an interview that he was only dimly aware of the fake one, and that his main concern was that people understood that “I had nothing to do with this.”

Before long Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Mirvish had produced a short documentary on Martin Eisenstadt, supposedly for the BBC, posted in several parts on YouTube.

In June they produced what appeared to be an interview with Eisenstadt on Iraqi television promoting construction of a casino in the Green Zone in Baghdad. Then they sent out a news release in which he apologized. Outraged Iraqi bloggers protested the casino idea.

Among the Americans who took that bait was Jonathan Stein, a reporter for Mother Jones. A few hours later Mr. Stein put up a post on the magazine’s political blog, with the title “Hoax Alert: Bizarre ‘McCain Adviser’ Too Good to Be True,” and explained how he had been fooled.

In July, after the McCain campaign compared Senator Barack Obama to Paris Hilton, the Eisenstadt blog said “the phone was burning off the hook” at McCain headquarters, with angry calls from Ms. Hilton’s grandfather and others. A Los Angeles Times political blog, among others, retold the story, citing Eisenstadt by name and linking to his blog.

Last month Eisenstadt blogged that Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, Joe the Plumber, was closely related to Charles Keating, the disgraced former savings and loan chief. It wasn’t true, but other bloggers ran with it.

Among those taken in by Monday’s confession about the Palin Africa report was The New Republic’s political blog. Later the magazine posted this atop the entry: “Oy — this would appear to be a hoax. Apologies.”

But the truth was out for all to see long before the big-name take-downs. For months sourcewatch.org has identified Martin Eisenstadt as a hoax. When Mr. Stein was the victim, he blogged that “there was enough info on the Web that I should have sussed this thing out.”

And then there is William K. Wolfrum, a blogger who has played Javert to Eisenstadt’s Valjean, tracking the hoaxster across cyberspace and repeatedly debunking his claims. Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Mirvish praised his tenacity, adding that the news media could learn something from him.

“As if there isn’t enough misinformation on this election, it was shocking to see so much time wasted on things that didn’t exist,” Mr. Wolfrum said in an interview.

And how can we know that Mr. Wolfrum is real and not part of the hoax?

Long pause. “Yeah, that’s a tough one.”

Rise of hate crimes a cause for concern

This story came out last month, but I thought it was relevant considering the results of election and the reaction from the LGBT community to the banning of same-sex marriage in three states.

You would think in the last 5-10 years hate crime would decrease in America, as society slowly becomes more tolerant of LGBT Americans.  We see LGBT representation in all facets of society: radio, television, music, movies, education, politics, policy, etc.

So why such a sharp increase in hate crimes against LGBT Americans?

Who knows. Maybe election drama pitted certain groups against each other.

Below is the article with statistics about hate crimes in 2008. There was a sharp increase in hate crimes against certain groups of Americans. According to an AP article on the same subject,

“Blacks, Jews and gays were the most frequent victims of hate crimes…”

These three groups that have faced the most discrimination in the past still face discrimination today. Even though policy and government is reflecting a more tolerant perspective, many Americans still do not understand or want to understand the perspective of other Americans.

Perhaps the fact these three communities are discriminated against can be a way to bring them together.

In terms of religion, there was an increase of hate crime towards Muslims and Jews.  The Jewish community has in the last few years seen an increase in anti-Semitism worldwide. In particular, FBI reports claim anti-Semitism has overall been increasing–increasing by 4% in the last year alone.

Below is the October 28  article from USA TOday reporting the FBI had seen a surge in anti-gay crimes.

Hate crimes against gays increased in 2007, up 6% from 2006 even though the overall number of hate crimes dropped slightly, the FBI reported Monday.

There were 7,624 hate crimes reported in 2007, down 1% from 2006. Crimes based on sexual orientation — 1,265 in 2007 — have been rising since 2005.

A hate crime is one motivated by bias against a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation or other status.

“Until we make laws that make it clear these attacks are not OK, the nation will continue to be scarred,” says Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In 19 states, hate crime laws don’t cover sexual orientation.

Other changes in 2007:

• Race-related incidents, 51% of the reported hate crimes, fell 3%.

• Incidents against Latinos increased for the fourth year, from 426 in 2003 to 595.

• Bias incidents against Asians increased by 4% from 181 to 188.

• Crimes against Muslims declined 26% to 115 incidents, considerably down from 481 in 2001. Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University, says that drop shows the effect of 9/11 waning.

Latinos and Asians, he says, are likely to be targets as the economy worsens. “Working-class Americans feel they have to compete more with immigrants,” Levin says.

While these hate crimes have occurred, it seems society has turned a blind eye to it. The media has largely ignored the hate crime increase, and ignored an in depth analysis of the issues

. Sadly the article below was the longest one I could find on the topic: that says something.

What do we do now that the election’s over???

So Super (duper) Tuesday passed, we have a new President, and it seems all of those election questions have been answered.

So then what do we do now? What does the media do now?

For months the media has been absolutely obsessed with the elections, devoting most of its programming time to covering the election. There isn’t a moment that CNN, Fox, or MSNBC isn’t covering the elections.

So does this mean ratings will drop?

In a Pop Matters article, a media expert claimed:

“There’s going to be an enormous drop-off just from fatigue. People across the country are going to let out their breath,” says noted TV news analyst Andrew Tyndall. “The cable channels weren’t drawing in a general audience anyway. It was political junkies, people who were inclined to watch politics. So those big (audience) increases will now disappear.”

Whether the media’s ratings drop off or not, it’s important they keep their audience engaged by covering interesting and relative social and political topics.

So what should these newshounds cover now? Here are a few suggestions:

1. The war on Iraq, the issues in Iran, etc . It seems this issue has gone untalked about for several months and it would be interesting to see what’s happened and whether death tolls have dropped.

2. California gay marriage drama. Yes, this is relating to the election. But half the state is up in arms over the gay marriage ban. Clearly this drama isn’t going to stop just at the passage of the proposition. Opponents of the ban are taking their case to the Supreme Court to try and overturn Proposition 8.

3. The economy. So we have been talking about this issue for the past month or so, but now’s the time to really devote attention to it. Things can’t get much worse.

4. The environment. Something that was long forgotten in the campaign, maybe people can now go back to fretting about global warming.

5. Healthcare. Wasn’t there something wrong with our healthcare system? Or did the country forget about it….

6. Entertainment. When all else fails, start talking about gossip.  While it’s a frivolous topic, it will ease the country’s pains of all the other serious stuff they have to deal with.

7. Scandal. Controversy sells! We know there’s enough scandal to go around in this world so why not dig deeper?

The Media is the Winner

Despite which candidate gets the most votes Election Day, a decision has been made and it’s not the one you think.

The media has chosen and the media has won.

The media has been the primary source for election coverage, has generated controversy about the candidates and has also concocted clever comedy sketches skewering the candidates.

The media has brought itself into the election by choosing what to cover and what not to cover.

The media has had the power of choice when deciding who to interview and what to discuss, interviewing anyone from a candidate’s opponent, or childhood friend, to a candidate’s campaign advisor, running mate, or even spouse.

The media chooses the tone of the discussion with the candidate, keeping the discussion serious or lighthearted depending on the type of medium —when discussing policy, the campaign, religion or personal live.

“Entertainment Tonight”, a show about Hollywood life, had anchor Mary Hart do personal, introspective interviews with candidates several days before the election. These interviews were far more revealing and introspective than any interview on a nightly news program had been before. Nightly news interviews often focused more on policy than the personalities of the candidates.

Serious news though can still reveal a lot about the candidate and gets the host to steer the tone of the interview in a certain direction by prompting the interviewee with questions.

Channels like CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS focus on the most serious issues of the campaign. This is unlike “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and “Saturday Night Live,” comedy shows focusing on humor that get away with poking fun at the candidates. Comedy shows give hosts control of the interview and tone letting them spin the script against or for the candidate.

Daytime talk shows like “The View” and “Ellen” even get away with attacking the candidates—like when the hosts of “The View” accosted John McCain with accusatory questions.

Another way the media chooses the outcome of the election is determining or ignoring scandal.

When the media finds scandal they chose how to cover it and how much attention to give it. The media sensationalizes scandal very effectively in a bid to gain viewers and readers. The media also ignores scandal if they think it is irrelevant in their coverage.

An example of the media hyping scandal was when they accused Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, of being “un-American.” When clips taken out of context of Wright were broadcast by the media, the media used them to make the case against Wright and Obama. In turn, Obama felt compelled enough to speak directly to the media to refute those claims. Another example of campaign scandal that the media hyped was Sarah Palin’s clothing expenses that were taken out of campaign money.

The media has acted as a catalyst of change in the election, forcing the candidates to confront their scandals.

The media has also decided whether to focus more on the host or the guest. Depending on the host, they often overshadow their interviewee by expressing their own political views, making outrageous comments or making the guest uncomfortable.

But just because the media has the power to choose the content, scandal, does that still mean they’ve “won” in the election because of their coverage?

Look at the ratings and you’ll realize they have won.

There has been an increase in readership and viewership despite the decline of print media. Broadcast media and online blogs have benefited the most from election coverage. Blogs like the Drudge Report, the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post have been one-stop shops for political aficionados.

According to website http://www.tvweek.com, ratings for shows “The Daily Show with John Stewart and the Colbert Report” saw a 16% increase in viewership in the last year. Shows like Saturday Night Live saw an almost 50% increase over the year. SNL saw its highest ratings in 14 years when Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin guest starred.

Saturday Night Live has been a beacon for the election because of its comedy sketches, guest appearances, and above all, clever writing: it has not only hosted each of the presidential and vice-presidential nominees (mocking them) but has been the talk of almost every news show in the days after their appearances.

Comedy has been a godsend for the media in the election. The increased number of viewers and readers translates into more money for media, more advertising space, and more room for media to express their views, ultimately giving more publicity for the candidate.

Because millions are pumped into television spots for the election and millions are pumped into promotions for candidates appearances on television show the media has the upper hand in its portrayal of the elections and gives the media a way to get the public to care about the elections via publicity. The candidates have also dominated the media and primetime through campaign ads—Barack Obama taking over Superbowl airtime for a 30-minute campaign ad. Barack Obama and John McCain have each funneled in at least $5 million or more for television advertisements.

No matter who wins Tuesday though, we know the media will be front and center asserting its presence—and maybe even calling the election early if it has its way.

Palin…a liability or a “godsend.”

An article published today on the Yahoo blog claims Sarah Palin is liability to the McCain-Palin ticket.

According to the article:

Old conventional political wisdom dictates that vice presidential picks don’t change the outcome of a race. When Sarah Palin received larger fanfare than John McCain a month ago, the pundits cautioned, “people vote for President, not for Vice President.”

Well, vice presidential candidates may not win elections, but this year it’s looking increasingly likely that Sarah Palin may help lose one.

In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last night, the number one concern about McCain was Palin’s perceived lack of qualifications.

This blog post, while just a starting point, gets us thinking: Is Sarah Palin a liability or an asset to John McCain’s campaign?
I think she is BOTH , but it’s hard to tell before November 4.

So I’ve broken down how I think Sarah Palin could potentially be a liability or an asset to John McCain’s campaign..in list form. No, there’s no evidence to back up points below…it’s just a starting point.


Why is she  Liability:

1.She’s had no experience in the Senate working with national legislation. All she’s done is work for governor.

2. There is already corruption in both her gubernatorial role in Alaska, and in the campaign with the $150,000 dollars they spent on her “look” (outfits, hair, etc).

3. When faced with media attention she shies away

4. She has little experience with foreign policy

5. She had no clue what the position of VP entailed when she accepted the position

6. She shows little interest in keeping up with public affairs. When prompted by Katie Couric as to what she read/watched in terms of mass media, she didn’t name one single source.

7. She often contradicts her running mate’s positions.

Why she is a benefit-(or godsend):

1. The media frenzy surrounding her has gotten people interested in the election again

2. She has brought the “average joe” perspective to the election, which is what voters want

3. She has revitalized the base of average voters, and has a large number of followers–“Sarah’s Army.”

4. She has become entertaining/an entertainer. Her appearance on SNL proved people thought she was interesting: the highest ratings for SNL in 14 years

5. She’s young, brass, and has fresh ideas (depending on who you ask): she’s not an old white male and brings a unique perspective.

6. She’s unapologetic and unafraid to speak up against others views.

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