Disney, Eisner, Gibson, Comcast and Michael Moore, oh my

mel_rockyIf someone really wants to start a media rumor, there are worse places to put it than PAGE SIX in the New York Post. Thus, for the past week, I have been watching the ripples spreading from this apocalyptic report, which is offered with minimal editing:

GOODBYE, Michael Eisner! Hello … Mel Gibson? A consortium of mysterious European investors has approached Gibson about a possible takeover of Disney now that Comcast has thrown in the towel, sources told PAGE SIX. “We were very impressed with the way Gibson handled ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ ” one insider said. The group was especially motivated after “The Passion,” made for $25 million, raked in almost $600 million. … ” The backers would want Gibson to kick in a few hundred million of his own money and want him to run Disney if the takeover succeeded. So far, Gibson has kept his cards close to his vest. “He hasn’t said yes, and he hasn’t said no,” said the source. But there is always hope — Gibson is “always looking for something new and interesting to do.” However, one person close to Gibson said: “The discussions have not gone anywhere . . . yet.” A rep for the “Mad Max” star didn’t return calls.

That sound you hear is choirs singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” over on the cultural right. Mel Gibson has been a superstar chicken. Could he wear a pair of giant Mickey ears and make peace with the Southern Baptist Convention?

Variations on this report have zipped through the blogosphere and into WWW sites such as MickeyNews.com and, of course, Fox News. The latter picked up a zinger from Dailyhowler.com: “That remake of Bambi is going to be brutal.”

Meanwhile, it’s hard not to notice that Hollywood-beat reporters are snooping around, trying to connect the dots between the cultural warfare that surrounds Michael Eisner inside Disney, the Comcast takeover bid, “The Alamo” bloodbath, the success of “The Passion of the Christ,” the firestorm around Michael Moore and his “Fahrenheit 911″ movie and, who knows, the 2000 elections in Florida.

Concerning the Alamo massacre, one Reuters report at Wired.com calmly noted:

“You put that with all the other things going on, it’s got to be putting pressure on Eisner and the board to do something,” said independent analyst Dennis McAlpine. “They could replace Eisner, give him certain deadlines to meet — but when you get in … whom do you replace him with, or do you go to Comcast?”

To be continued. Maybe. If this story has legs, where would it show up next?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.


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