'Family Guy' Finds the Right Superhero: Rush Limbaugh

Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010 04:48 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast report: A Political Look at Hollywood

A Newsmax Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Facebook Film Finds More Friends Than Demon Flicks
2. Rick Sanchez’s Way With Words
3. ‘Family Guy’ Finds the Right Superhero: Rush Limbaugh
4. Gloria Allred’s Penchant for PR
5. Bill Clinton Treks to Left Coast to Help Loretta Sanchez
 

1. Facebook Film Finds More Friends Than Demon Flicks

Hollywood’s latest releases feature a Harvard nerd who becomes a billionaire and two kids who are demon possessed.

Sony’s “The Social Network” tops this week’s box office with a less-than-expected $23 million.

Based on Ben Mezrich’s book “Accidental Billionaires,” the movie features emerging anti-leading man Jesse Eisenberg of “Zombieland,” Justin Timberlake, and Andrew Garfield, soon to be the new Spider-Man.

Aaron Sorkin manages to insert Hollywood’s animus for business people into his screenplay. Still, he tells an absorbing tale of Ivy Leaguers who transform a dorm room stunt into a social media phenom.

It’s a variation on Horatio Alger, as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, a snobby Harvard student with little in the way of social skills, gets dumped, steals an idea, and becomes one of the richest people in the world. He now has an estimated net worth of $6.9 billion.

Judging by Timberlake’s terrific turn as Sean Parker, he may be an even better actor than he is a singer. Who knew?

Given the relatively inexpensive cast and low production budget of roughly $40 million, Sony is feeling good about the film’s performance. And although it’s early in the season, “The Social Network” is generating beaucoup Oscar buzz.

The two other new releases, “Let Me In” and “Case 39,” performed poorly, finishing at No. 7 and No. 8 respectively, behind older releases “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” (No. 2), “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” (No. 3), “The Town” (No. 4), “Easy A” (No. 5) and “You Again” (No. 6).

“Let Me In,” a remake of the 2008 Swedish success “Let the Right One In,” failed to attract vampire fans and brought in only $5.2 million. Overture Films and Hammer Films spent about $20 million on production.

The Relativity Media release is about a bullied, solitary boy whose best friend, a little vampire girl, relishes murderous bloodsucking. It’s dark, dismal, desolate, and depressing; naturally, the critics found it to be good fun.

“Case 39” features Renée Zellweger as a social worker protecting a sweet girl from abuse. What the audience knows all along is slowly revealed: Despite her innocent demeanor, the youngster is full of the devil.

Even with the star power of a pre-“Hangover” Bradley Cooper, the flick was only able to haul in $5.1 million.

Filmed in 2006 and distributed internationally, “Case 39” was shelved twice for the U.S. market. It cost Paramount roughly $27 million, and some execs probably are wishing it had remained on the shelf.


2. Rick Sanchez’s Way With Words

CNN cut Rick Sanchez loose after the cable show anchor made controversial comments during a satellite radio interview.

Sanchez called Comedy Central host Jon Stewart a bigot, saying, “A lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart,” and scoffed at the notion that “people in this country who are Jewish” might consider themselves “an oppressed minority.”

It’s instructive to look at some other things Sanchez said during his three-year stint at CNN, things that the network didn’t consider fire-worthy.

A year ago, he was forced to apologize after he read a quote about slavery and attributed it to Rush Limbaugh.

“Limbaugh’s perceived racist diatribes are too many to name. Here’s a sample — he once declared that ‘Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back. I’m just saying it had its merits,’” Sanchez quoted.

It turned out that the quote was a fake.

In April 2009, while commenting on a report that a man allegedly shot and killed three police officers, Sanchez blamed Fox News and talk radio. The shooter “was convinced, after no doubt watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio, that, quote, ‘Our rights were being infringed upon’,” Sanchez said.

In June 2009, Sanchez wondered whether there was a “tone in this country that was actually started with the election of our first black president that is bringing the crazies out of the woodwork, and are they being motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements, like he’s dangerous — he’s a socialist — he’s a Muslim, and he isn’t even a U.S. citizen? This is what we hear on some TV and radio outlets.”

In March 2010, Sanchez inquired of a guest, “Is there a possibility that that message isn’t getting out to the American people because these crazy talk show hosts that are so right-wing are out there using the most heated language and the most heated rhetoric that does, in fact, incite people to hate?”

Sanchez is also known for making Joe Biden-like gaffes. In February 2010, he asked a guest the following metric system question: “Nine meters — by the way, nine meters in English is?”

In April 2010 he mused aloud about the location of a volcano, saying, “How can you get a volcano in Iceland? Isn’t it too — when you think of a volcano, you think of Hawaii and long words like that. You don’t think of Iceland . . . You think it’s too cold to have a volcano there.”

Sanchez later insisted the comment was a joke.

Perhaps most memorable to his bosses, in August 2010, he referred to President Barack Obama as “the cotton-pickin’ president of the United States.”

The network quickly cut to commercial and Sanchez apologized immediately thereafter.


3. ‘Family Guy’ Finds the Right Superhero: Rush Limbaugh

The typical 20-something fans of Fox’s “Family Guy” may have been shocked at the identity of the guest star on the most recent installment of the animated show: conservative talk-show icon Rush Limbaugh.

Brian the left-wing dog attends a Limbaugh book signing intending to argue with the author. The animated Limbaugh gives the talking canine a copy of his book.

As Brian is en route home, a gang accosts him, but Limbaugh’s martial-arts mastery interrupts the pummeling. The pooch then becomes a political convert and a rabid Limbaugh fan.

Limbaugh’s appearance on the show prompted Entertainment Weekly to pose this question in a headline: “Who took more hits, the right or the left?”

“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane clearly took shots at both sides, and the satire was characteristically vicious.

Former President George W. Bush was portrayed as an infantile troll. Democratic Congressman Barney Frank was depicted as a mummy whom Sen. John McCain caught using a pig as bait. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sported a crack pipe as an accessory.

All of it was trademark over-the-top MacFarlane.

Limbaugh explained why he indulged MacFarlane with an appearance, telling the Radio Equalizer website: “Seth was among the first to reach out to me in Hawaii when I had that heart scare. I am not helping the Hollywood left. His show is going to be on the air, regardless what I do.

“But, the better way to look at this is that they bent for me. I did not bend to them. It’s not as though I endorse or support libs on this show. The other way around. A huge lib character becomes a conservative,” Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh exits the show stage right, as a patriotic superhero. With a running start, Rush leaps into the wild blue yonder, morphs into an eagle, and alights on a giant American flag in the sky.


4. Gloria Allred’s Penchant for PR

Amid the enthusiastic media coverage of Gloria Allred’s “revelation” involving Nicandra Diaz Santillan, the former housekeeper of California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, some key legal and ethical issues have been ignored.

In spite of her undocumented status, Diaz Santillan worked for Whitman for nine years.

Based on reported facts, Whitman did nothing wrong. To the contrary, she did exactly what an employer is supposed to do.

When an employer comes into possession of a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration, the employer is supposed to check the records for possible errors and inform the employee that the records do not match.

The no-match letter actually contains a warning indicating that “it is not a basis, in and of itself, for you to take any adverse action against the employee, such as layoff, suspending, firing or discriminating against the individual. Any employer that uses the information in this letter to justify taking action against an employee may violate state or federal law and be subject to legal consequences.”

So in fact, if Whitman had fired the housekeeper as a result of the no-match letter, she would have placed herself in legal jeopardy.

The note that Allred claimed was a “smoking gun” from Whitman’s husband to Diaz was instead proof that Whitman and her husband did exactly the right thing.

The note read: “Nicky, please check this, thanks.”

The couple also paid taxes on Diaz Santillan’s $23-per-hour wages.

The subject of Allred’s PR stunt dominated a Saturday debate for the California governor’s race, which was held for Spanish-speaking audiences. Whitman and Democratic rival Jerry Brown exchanged verbal jousts over the issue.

This isn’t the first time an Allred lawsuit took the limelight in a gubernatorial contest. In 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was running for governor, Allred represented Rhonda Miller in a sexual harassment case against the future Governator.

The suit was unceremoniously dropped following the election.


5. Bill Clinton Treks to Left Coast to Help Loretta Sanchez

California Rep. Loretta Sanchez has coasted to re-election ever since she pulled off an upset back in 1996 in her run against Republican Rep. Robert K. Dornan.

But like in a lot districts around the country, the upcoming midterm election is a virtual coin toss, and Orange County’s sole Democratic House member may be in trouble.

Sanchez’s opponent, California Assemblyman Van Tran, is only two points behind her (Sanchez has 45 percent to Tran’s 43). The Rothenberg Political Report, Cook Political Report, and Larry Sabato have downgraded Sanchez’s chances.

Complicating things further, during an interview with Univision, Sanchez gave the race national attention when she accused Tran of being “very anti-immigrant” and “very anti-Hispanic.”

Even a September appearance alongside Esai Morales and Jimmy Smits at a National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts event didn’t tip the meter.

So who’s a Dem going to call when things get iffy? The former prez, Bill Clinton, of course.

Clinton is all set to ride to the OC Rep.’s rescue. He’ll be featured at a Sanchez campaign event on Oct. 15.

Sanchez hopes Clinton will move the ball and get enough yardage to place her beyond the margin of error.

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