Sarah Palin-Bashing Tune Gets Emmy Nomination

Tuesday, 13 Jul 2010 03:14 PM

By James Hirsen

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The left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood


Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Sarah Palin-Bashing Tune Gets Emmy Nomination
2. Elena Kagan Defended 2 Live Crew on Obscenity Charges
3. Hollywood’s ‘Creative Accounting’ Losing in Court
4. The Comcast-NBC Deal Is Big on Diversity
5. Levi Johnston Apologizes to the Palins
 

1. Sarah Palin-Bashing Tune Gets Emmy Nomination

Continuing a politically charged pattern, the Television Academy is bypassing myriad TV tunes to award an Emmy nomination on what appears to be an ideological basis.

The nomination is within the category of Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics and is being given to a “Family Guy” tune that takes aim at Sarah Palin.

The song is called “Down Syndrome Girl,” and it comes from an episode in which a character with Down syndrome identifies her mom as “the former governor of Alaska,” an obvious reference to Palin who herself is the mother of a child with Down syndrome.

Palin and others have responded to the show.

Unfortunately, their feedback has failed to stop the TV Academy from elevating the lyrics, which, among other things, refer to the “Down Syndrome Girl” as a “little whore.”


2. Elena Kagan Defended 2 Live Crew on Obscenity Charges

Elena Kagan once defended a notoriously vile rap group, 2 Live Crew, from obscenity charges, which involved lyrics in the group’s 1989 album called “Nasty as They Wanna Be.”

Following the album’s release, parent groups and local officials tried to have the product taken off store shelves for its alleged obscene content.

Kagan, while a lawyer with Williams & Connolly, gave a legal assist in overturning a ban on the recording. She filed an amicus brief arguing that the 2 Live Crew album, which had been banned by a federal judge because of its sexual content, wasn't obscene.

Kagan asserted that the album had “undoubted artistic value.”

The likely soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice also stressed that it was OK because it did not “physically excite anyone” who heard it.

A higher court eventually overturned the ban on the rap album.

While Kagan defended the purported obscene material, her writings indicate that she is soft on government censorship, particularly when select motives are considered as part of the obscene equation.

In an argument that Chief Justice John Roberts found “startling and dangerous,” Kagan urged the Supreme Court to recognize a new category of speech unprotected by the First Amendment.

According to Kagan, whether speech can be muzzled by the government “depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs.”

In contrast to the chief justice’s sentiments, 2 Live Crew rapper Luther Campbell, also known as “Uncle Luke,” showed Kagan some love via a Miami New Times column.

The rapper wrote, “She did a great job fighting on 2 Live Crew's behalf, which lets you know that Kagan is not easily swayed by public opinion.”

“In other words, my homegirl Kagan was saying people could not be aroused by the lyrics,” Campbell explained.


3. Hollywood’s ‘Creative Accounting’ Losing in Court

In May 2010, a California Court of Appeal sided with producer Alan Ladd Jr. in his dispute with Warner Bros. over profits from a number of films. The Court upheld a $3.2 million jury award against Warner Bros.

In addition, a federal jury recently ordered Walt Disney Co. to cough up almost $270 million in damages to the creator of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The decision could fundamentally alter the entertainment industry and undercut the motivation for media companies to simultaneously control production and distribution of TV programs.

Celador International, the U.K.-based creator of “Millionaire,” sued Disney claiming that the company used “sweetheart deals” with subsidiaries to keep the books from showing any profit, despite the fact that it was ABC’s No. 1 show.

According to Disney's accounting, the game show was $73 million in the red.

Celador's attorneys produced evidence that “Millionaire” brought in $515 million in revenue from broadcast license fees and another $1.8 billion in advertising for ABC.

Just after the Disney decision came down, a jury in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Riverside, California awarded actor Don Johnson $23.2 million from his 1990s program, “Nash Bridges.”

The star attended the entire trial and personally thanked the jurors after the verdict was read.

Defendant Rysher Entertainment also contended during the trial that the show lost money and that was why Johnson hadn't been paid.

The jury verdict determined that Johnson's contract gave him 50 percent ownership in the show's copyright, which may mean even more cash in the future for him.

Johnson issued a statement saying that the copyright ownership stake was his idea.

“I owned the rights in the first place,” Johnson said. “From the beginning, I have asked only that Rysher honor our contract, and I am so pleased that the jury agreed with me.”


4. The Comcast-NBC Deal Is Big on Diversity

With increasing pressure from Democrat members of Congress, Comcast is maneuvering to gain approval of its acquisition of NBC Universal.

Comcast promised to add eight independent TV networks (four controlled by African-American interests and another four run by Hispanic interests) to its cable system and create a $20 million fund to assist minority entrepreneurs.

Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen, in a summary of diversity commitments, indicated that two networks, majority controlled by African-American interests, will be added to Comcast's lineup within the first two years.

Comcast also promised to establish a new venture capital fund with a minimum of $20 million to finance ventures by minority entrepreneurs in the new media arena.

Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl demanded that after the merger the entity sell off Hulu within a year of the closing.

However, Cohen wrote a letter to Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush, a member of a House subcommittee on communications, technology and the Internet, indicating that nothing would be sold by the company after the merger other than a Spanish language local station in Los Angeles.

Still, Comcast has indicated that it will try to sell NBC Universal's KWHY television station in L.A. to a minority controlled group.

NBC Universal also touted the company’s commitment to diversity.

In prepared testimony, Paula Madison, executive vice president of diversity, said that over the last year the NBC network has increased the number of minority actors (31 percent to 33 percent) as well as writer-producers (12 percent to 14 percent) and directors (9 percent to 11 percent).

Could this be a new form of affirmative action?


5. Levi Johnston Apologizes to the Palins

Levi Johnston has inadvertently exposed the widespread bias in the American mainstream news and entertainment media.

The former fiancé of Bristol Palin and father of Sarah Palin’s grandson recently issued the following statement: “Last year, after Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true. I have already privately apologized to Todd and Sarah. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize.”

Now that Johnston has come clean, will any of the mainstream news and entertainment media outlets that distributed his lies express contrition as well?

After he broke up with Bristol, Johnston appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “The Tyra Banks Show,” “The Early Show,” and “Larry King Live,” among other programs.

Levi wrote a defamatory Palin article for Vanity Fair; GQ sent a reporter to Alaska to pen a piece slamming the former governor and Johnston was interviewed in Alaska by a writer for New York magazine.

The Palin family has always asserted that Johnston's statements were untrue.

Media professionals now have an ethical obligation to start issuing retractions.

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