“Jews totally run Hollywood”

menorah-2As a rule, your GetReligionistas do not write about opinion essays or even op-ed columns — unless they raise issues that are of interest to mainstream journalists who cover religion. It helps if the pieces focus on major Godbeat stories, of course.

However, in recent weeks we have all noticed that we are being tempted more and more often to write about a certain kind of opinion piece.

Here’s how I would put it: I am noticing more and more opinion pieces that I WISH the editors had assigned as hard news stories. In other word, the topic is actually newsworthy. But the topic may also TOO HOT for news coverage. But it’s OK to write opinion about it?

Here’s the example that I have had in the “tmatt guilt” file for some time now. It’s a piece by Joel Stein in the Los Angeles Times. What’s it about (if you ignored the garish headline on this post)? Here’s the lede:

I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

But here’s the passage that totally hooked me. This is like a symbolic detail on steroids:

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)

The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

Now, that’s a rather impressive set of facts. Does it settle anything definitive? Of course not. Is it interesting? Sure.

Would YOU want to read a serious hard-news feature story on this topic in the Los Angeles Times? A solid piece of journalism, starting off with the facts about that ad?

I sure would. Or run a large magazine piece. Neal Gabler could write it. You think?

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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.

  • Don

    That really IS interesting.

    Does the menorah photo also imply that Hollywood is run by women?

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Ha. Just an example of cultural style.

  • FW Ken

    Without us, you’d be flipping between “The 700 Club” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV all day.

    Now there’s some stereotyping!

    Perhaps a detailed of morality in contemporary entertainment media compared to classic Jewish moral theology would be a good follow-up, or compared to the morals implicit in Davy and Goliath (isn’t that an Old Testament story?), which were, if memory serves, honesty, truthfulness, faithfulness, love of family… you know, judeo/christian values.

  • http://machos lejos del usa 6

    Its just a world wide fact–in the usa–jewish residents run & dominate the news & entertainment business–look at MTV in the usa–a prime example–or David Geffen–Steven Spielberg–Gloria Allred–the usa jewish feminist who is on usa tv at least 20 times a week–along with her feminist daughter–Lisa Bloom—why her & her daughter–are called so called “experts” is a disgrace & a comedy–as they are abnormal & think men can “marry” men–but thats just daily usa tv–what a comedy

  • Roberto

    Here’s a plug for Neal Gabler’s “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood.”

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    I think the issue or facts are only relevant if it can be shown that there is a connection between these Jews in Hollywood and any movies or TV shows, etc. that denigrate, attack, or insult other religions. For instance were any of the Jews listed in the story involved in financing, producing, or promoting, movies like the DaVinci Code that many Catholics consider slanderous and bigoted.
    The fact of the matter is, I have seen movie credits loaded with patently Jewish names at the end of some movies many consider anti-Christian or anti-Catholic–but there had been nary a whisper of comment about such a connection in the mass media.
    On the other hand, when some Jewish groups complained about Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” –WOW did we constantly hear about his supposed traditional Catholicism before the movie was even finished.
    This is an issue that should be rationally and cooly looked at to make sure fairness to all religions is the goal and not become some sort of “witchunt.”
    One classic is the Paul Newman movie about a Boston lawyer and a malpractice suit involving a Catholic hospital. The leading bad guy was the local bishop and assorted other digs were made against the Church. A big deal was made out of the fact the story-and cover-up– was supposedly based on a real incident at a Boston Catholic hospital.
    However,long after the movie left theater circulation, it was finally revealed in the Boston media that the real incident had taken place at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Somehow along the media highway it had became a Catholic scandal. And, if my memory serves me correctly, though Newman was not a Jew, the credits at the end of the movie would not have been out of place as a list of synagogue donors.

  • http://iMinister.blogspot.com Christine Robinson

    Actually, I wouldn’t be very interested, unless some point was being made about what this means for the world. I notice that almost all those names (except the one who never worked in Hollywood) are male. That might make an interesting story, too, if the point could be made that this resulted in difficulties for women.

  • Dan

    What Deacon John Bresnahan reports about “The Verdict” is amazing. The film is based on a David Mamet screenplay, so my guess is that David Mamet made the switch of hospitals.

    Hollywood has treated us in recent years to a number of major films that put Catholicism in a negative light: The Da Vinci Code, The Golden Compass, Breach, Doubt, Elizabeth, to name just a few. And how many times have we seen the evangelical Christian portrayed as the dumb hick? But you know who is to blame for this? It’s the Catholics and the evangelical Christians, who fail to make compelling films.

  • http://www.nhreligion.com Stephen A.

    From the graphic, I thought the headline was a typo, and that you thought SHOES ran Hollywood. Now it makes more sense. LOL

    “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood” was an audacious and fascinating film about the early days of Hollywood.

    I guess the “Jews run Hollywood” taboo has been broken in recent years – it was stupid to deny it – but still, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that hard news story on this *particular* topic.

    I’ve always said that if they do run the place, they couldn’t keep running it if Gentiles didn’t love their films, on some level at least.

    There’s shlock in the film industry to be sure, and anti-Christian bigotry, but then again, a lot of gems, too.

    I don’t know if any Jews were involved, but the new Benjamin Button film is FANTASTIC.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    I agree with Dan that Catholics and Evangelicals must work harder at making compelling movies. However, once a compelling movie is made how does one get it past the secular gatekeepers of the media publicity machine. There is only so much advertising anyone can afford to buy for a movie. I just watched a compelling movie on video this evening: “Amazing Grace” the story of William Wilburforce the English leader most responsible for Britain ending its slave trade in the early 19th Century. The movie makes very clear that he–and most of his supporters were strong Christians and Christian clergy, but it is not in any sense what some would sneeringly call a “devotional” movie. It had top-flight actors and was thoroughly a professional
    production obviously meant for wider than “Sunday School” circulation. It is a few years old now, but, except for in religious circles, I think it was basically ignored as it went around the theaters.

  • http://dogchurch.blogspot.com Scooper

    The ad presents selected facts without their context. That’s what effective propaganda does.

    One bit of context is that many secular, assimilated, European Jews who were employed in the European film industry lost their jobs as Hitler came to power. Some made it to America, and found a place in Hollywood, mostly doing menial jobs, because they were barred from joining unions. Some fewer succeeded as writers, directors, actors. One of those, Fred Zinneman, directed that quintessentially American classic, High Noon.

    Another bit of context is that, because of discrimination against Jews in the United States, Jews developed their own tradition of live theater in New York, Chicago, the Catskills, etc. Some of the actors who learned their trade there went to Hollywood and succeeded there as well. Usually they had to change their names to cover up their Jewish identity, because the American public wouldn’t have accepted them at the time.

    Another bit of context that I know about has to do with the science of social networks. Once you get accepted in to a social network that has benefits for belonging to it, you help other people you know get in. It’s only when you systematically exclude others based on their ethnicity that affirmative action is called for.

    Finally, I note that for the last two thousand years, whenever a group of Jews has managed to succeed at something, the Gentiles become alarmed and try to break it up.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    From the history I have read the “Contexts” Scoooper mentions are completely accurate. But that doesn’t make it anymore acceptable or right for Jews to be involved in any way with movies or books, etc. that most consider bigoted. And Christians and Catholics have every right to complain in such cases and point out a pattern–if one exists. On the other hand it is just as unacceptable and wrong to see people with Irish, Polish, Italian, etc. names and heritage involved in any kind of anti-Semitic media venture. But as anyone who has surveyed the media lately, there is virtually nothing anti-Semitic in the MSM and plenty that is anti-Christian and anti-Catholic. And, Scooper’s “contexts” agreeing that there is tremendous Jewish influence in the media (for valid, logical historical reasons) obviously does not exculpate anyone in the media for acting as a bigot–especially in this day and age. “Context” doesn’t make immoral acts moral.

  • http://suburbanbanshee.wordpress.com Maureen

    I still want to know what this amazing magical power is that allows people to determine what last names are Jewish and which ones are just German or Italian or whatever. Apparently (from the article referenced), it’s certainly not infallible…. :)