Latest Headlines
 
   
 

One Serious Problem Gone (Jewish Journal, February 1, 2012)

More…

The City Council's Shameless Pander (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

More…

Stout Awards Honors Olney, Morrison and Mantle (The Wide Angle, October 20, 2011)

More… Video…

Dance With Who Brung ‘Ya (Jewish Journal, September 28, 2011)

More…

Jury Got It Right in the ‘Irvine 11’ Case (The OC Register, September 23, 2011)

More…

'Irvine 11' Muslim student protesters found guilty on both charges (KPCC’s Airtalk, September 23, 2011)

More… Listen…

Voting Rights Act Outdated in Modern Day LA (The Daily News, August 21, 2011)

More…

What Los Angeles Can Teach the UK (BBC News World, August 15, 2011)

More…

When Did Carrying An ID Become A “White Thing”? (The OC Register, August 15, 2011)

More…

Bill Crafts Disneyland Version of History (The Sacramento Bee, July 14, 2011)

More…

An Education Game Changer (The Wide Angles, July 12 2011)

More…

A Flotilla of Fools (The Wide Angle Blog, July 8, 2011)

More…

Advocacy, the Academy and Mushy Thinking (The Wide Angle Blog, July 1, 2011)

More…

Tragic Fiction comes to Life (The Wide Angle, June 23, 2011)

More…

Coalition Sues to Keep Circumcision Ban Off Ballot (The Jewish Journal, June 22, 2011)

More…

The Circumcision Wars (The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2011)

More…

Male Circumcision Ban Proposed in Santa Monica (The Jerusalem Post, May 25, 2011)

More…

Right Goal, Wrong Strategy (The Wide Angle Blog, May 11, 2011)

More…

The Bus Has Left the Station (City Journal, April 1, 2011)

More…

UCLA Leads the Pack (The Wide Angle Blog, March 29, 2011)

More…

Mixed Race Marriages and Our Attitudes (The Wide Angles, March 25, 2011)

More…

The Uncle Tom Accusation, Again (The Wide Angle Blog, March 18, 2011)

More…

A Forward Looking Decision in Civil Rights (The Wide Angle Blog, March 9, 2011)

More…

A Rising Wave of Anti-Semitism (Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2009)

More…

The Wide Angle, A Community Advocates Blog (July - September, 2009)

July… August… September…

Israeli Consul General, Palestinian Lobbyist Reach Mock Peace Agreement (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 6, 2009)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar—Mock Peace Summit in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, April 29, 2009)

Listen…

In Battle Between Teachers, LAUSD, It’s the Kids Who Lose (Daily News, March 6, 2009)

More…

L.A. at the Tipping Point (www.RonKaye.LA, February 13, 2009)

More…

Theatrics by the Teachers (Daily News, February 8, 2009)

More…

Chicago Vs. Los Angeles Their Supe Is Obama’s New Education Man. Our Supe is Nice But… (LA Weekly, January 23, 2009)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar—Millennials Remaking America with KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, January 21, 2009)

Listen…

The Good News About Gaza in America (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 21, 2009)

More…

What Oakland Should be Protesting (Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2009)

More…

Calling All Radical Reformers to LAUSD (Daily News, December 14, 2008)

More…

Attention Politicians: Pandering Won’t Fly (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, November 12, 2008)

More…

Presentation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Ziegler Prize for Courage of Conviction (Japan American Theatre, October 22, 2008)

View…

The Problems and Potential of South L.A., A Dust-Up Exchange between Joe R. Hicks and Earl Ofari Hutchinson (Los Angeles Times, August 11-15, 2008)

More…

Find Fresh Ideas to Battle Hate, Letter to the Editor (Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

More…

Fast Food Freeze is a Good Choice for South LA by Jan Perry, Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008)

More…

Do You Want Poppycock With That? by Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2008)

More…

Fast-food Moratorium is Meddling (Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2008)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar on the Role of Race in the 2008 Elections in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, June 27, 2008)

Listen…

Shalom is not Funny (Letter to the Editor, Los Angeles Downtown News, June 23, 2008)

More…

A Dangerous and Precedent Setting Intrusion (Jewish Journal, June 13, 2008)

More…

“Ziman and Lee” (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 16, 2008

More…

We Don’t Need More Gabfests on Diversity (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, May 2, 2008)

More…

Families Deserve More than a Moratorium (Los Angeles Times, Blowback, April 10, 2008)

More…

On Any Given Sunday, Rev. Wright is Wrong (www.theroot.com, March 26, 2008)

More…

Obama’s Minister (KPCC’s Airtalk, March 18, 2008)

Listen…

LA Gang Violence Spikes (Associated Press, March 6, 2008)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar on The State of the Black Civil Rights Movement Today in conjunction with the Los Angeles Public Library and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February)

Listen…

Asking Too Much (Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2008)

More…

Playing a Frayed and Faded Race Card (Jewish Journal, January 18, 2008)

More…

Limiting Fast Food Outlets---Path to Better Health? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 20, 2007)

More…

The State Bar and Revealing Data on Minority Passage Rates (KCET’s Life & Times, December 18, 2007)

More…

Divisions in the Jewish Community—Talking About Jerusalem (KCET’s Life & Times, December 12, 2007)

More…

Do Los Angeles’ Anti-Gang Programs Work? (KCET’s Life & Times, December 6, 2007)

More…

Sharpton Leads Call for Federal Investigation of Hate Crimes (Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2007)

More…

Race Card Backlash (Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2007)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar on Charter Schools in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 5, 2007)

Listen...

The Private Lives of Public Officials (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, October 2, 2007)

More…

“Smart Growth” and Los Angeles Planning (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 20, 2007)

More…

Civil Rights in Louisiana (To the Point, KCRW-FM, September 20, 2007)

Listen...

The Racial/Ethnic Educational Achievement Gap (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 12, 2007)

More…

Board Vote Not Aimed At Students (Los Angeles Daily News, September 9, 2007)

More…

Healthcare Reform and Politics (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, September 5, 2007)

More…

The Constitution and Sex Offenders (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, August 30, 2007)

More…

‘Profiles in Courage’ ( Jewish Journal, August 24, 2007)

More…

Where’s the Fire? (Washington Post, August 2, 2007)

More…

Race and Politics in a Changing South LA (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 20, 2007)

More…

Gangsta Rap and its Impact (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 13, 2007)

More…

Mexican Americans and Drunk Driving (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, June 6, 2007)

More…

Baseball and the Decline in African-American Players (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 30, 2007)

More…

Los Angeles Unified’s New Board (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 23, 2007)

More…

Hollywood and its Impact on Political Discourse (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 16, 2007)

More…

New Times and the NAACP (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 9, 2007)

More…

Downtown Homeless and the LAPD (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 2, 2007)

More…

Immigration and the new Sanctuary Movement (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 25, 2007)

More…

The Teachers’ Union and School Reform, (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 18, 2007)

More…

Drop the Race Card (Washington Post, April 15, 2007)

More…

The Takeover of the Times (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, April 11, 2007)

More…

The Governor’s Health Care Plan (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 28, 2007)

More…

Racism in the LA Fire Department? (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, March 14, 2007)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, February 26, 2007)

Listen...

“Has the Nanny State Gone Too Far?” (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, February 28, 2007)

More…

“Justice Takes A Beating In Long Beach Racial Hatred Case” ( Jewish Journal, February 16, 2007)

More…

“Gang ‘Marshall Plan’ - Will It Work?” (KCET’s Life & Times’ Kitchen Table Conversation, February 14, 2007)

More…

“Living Wages or Dying Businesses?” (KCET’s Life & Times Kitchen Table Conversation, January 31, 2007)

More…

“Gangs of New York and LA” (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, January 26, 2007)

More…

KCET’s Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “The Future of the Middle Class in Los Angeles” (Life & Times, January 17, 2007)

More…

“Does Abe Foxman Have An Anti-Anti-Semite Problem?”, (New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2007)

More…

KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Military Recruitment on Campus---Right or Wrong?” January 3, 2007

More…

KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Is There An Assault on Christmas?” December 13, 2006

More…

Racism Claims a Stretch" (Daily News, December 1, 2006)

More…

KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “What is Racism Today?” November 29, 2006

More…

"Racism in Entertainment", (KCRW's "Which Way LA?", November 27,2006)

Listen…

KCET’s Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding “Border Fence---Boondogle or Barrier?” (life & Times, November 15, 2006)

More…

“LA’s Jews and Other Minorities---Oh How They Danced” (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, November 11, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Racial Profiling and a National ID Card" (Life & Times, October 18, 2006)

More…

Critical Issues Seminar in conjunction with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy and KPCC (KPCC's Airtalk, October 9, 2006)

Listen...

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Immigration Debate Divides Conservatives" (Life & Times, October 5, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Drugs in Sports" (Life & Times, October 3, 2006)

More…

Award Dispute", KPCC's Airtalk, September 15,2006

Listen...

"Two Faced On Terrorism", Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2006

More…

Award to Islamic Leader Hathout Stirs Dispute", KCRW's Which Way LA?, September 14, 2006

Listen...

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "California's High School Exit Exam?", ( Life & Times, August 23, 2006)

More…

"4 Los Angeles Latino Gang Members Convicted of Anti-Black Conspiracy" (Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2006)

More…

"Muslim Council's Bias All Too Clear" (Los Angeles Daily News, August 1, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "UCLA's Minority Admissions, (Life & Times, July 19, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding "Celebrity Causes--Ego or Altruism?", ( Life & Times, July 13, 2006)

More…

Did Anti-Semitism Take Root at the South Central Farm? (Jewish Journal, June 23,2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times Transcript of Kitchen-table Conversations regarding Immigration and Employment (Life & Times, June 21,2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of news segment on the South Los Angeles Farm controversy (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kithcen-table Conversation regarding the Mayoral takeover of the Los Angeles Unified School District (Life & Times, June 6, 2006)

More…

Letter to the Editor regarding Race, Religion, and Demographic Change (Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Hybrid Cars and Energy Conservation (Life & Times, May 23, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Teen Sex (Life & Times, May 18, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black Brown Tensions in LA (Life & Times, May 2, 2006)

More…

Debate education policy, not race (Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Fatherless Parenting (Life & Times, April 11, 2006)

More…

Border Protests Not Fight for Civil Rights (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, April 7, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Black-Brown tensions (Life & Times, April 4, 2006)

More…

Civil Rights? How About Lawlessness? (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2006)

More…

KCET's Life & Times transcript of Kitchen-table Conversation regarding Immigration (Life & Times, March 30, 2006)

More…

Differing Views of Race in L.A. Collide in 'Crash' (Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2006)

More…

Disputed Film Draws Muted Response (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, February 10, 2006)

More…

Blacks vs. Latinos at Work (Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2006)

More…

The Munich Concern Is Us--Not Film (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 20, 2006) with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

More…

NAACP Leader Turned Heads By Backing Tookie (Baltimore Sun, January 15, 2006) Joe Hicks quoted

More…

Munich Portrays Real World Issues (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, December 23,2005), with Dr. Michael Berenbaum

More…

New Farrakhan Embodies Old Message (Los Angeles Jewish Journal, October 21, 2005)

More…

Levees Let Loose An Ugly Flood of Black Paranoia (Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2005)

More…

Lessons From the Ruins (LA Weekly, August 12, 2005)

More…

Let's Make A Diploma Mean Something (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

More…

Police Beating of Minister Disputed (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2005)

More…

We Only Burned Ourselves, Baby (Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2005)

More…

Knee-jerk Activists and Their Tantrum Politics (Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2005)

More…

"Crash" Is No Picture of the Real Los Angeles (Los Angeles Daily News, June 24, 2005)

More…

Hit Film Paints Inaccurate Picture of Diverse LA (89.3 KPCC Perspectives, June 23, 2005)
Joe Hicks, the vice president of Community Advocates, says the hit movie Crash ...
Listen...

Jackson Trial Reaction Shows How Unimportant Race Is in US (Los Angeles Daily News, June 19, 2005)

More…

"Reel Life" (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, June 10, 2005)

More…

Joe Hicks talks about the election results (89.3 KPCC AirTalk, May 18, 2005)
with KPCC's Larry Mantle and reporter Adolfo Guzman Lopez, Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Raphe Sonenshein, Bill Rosendahl, Rick Caruso, Antonia Hernandez, , Joel Kotkin and D.J. Waldie.
Listen...

 
 
   
   
 
How To Give?
 
   
   
   
   
 
Contact Us
 
   
 

Community Advocates, Inc.
865 South Figueroa Street
Suite 3339
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.623.6003
www.cai-la.org

 
  David A. Lehrer
Joe R. Hicks
 
Latest Headlines
 

Hollywood and its Impact on Political Discourse (KCET’s Life & Times, Kitchen Table Conversation, May 16, 2007)


Val Zavala>> Who would have guessed that a PowerPoint presentation on global warming would end up winning an Oscar? "An Inconvenient Truth" is just one of several politically charged documentaries that is influencing public opinion, but are politics and documentaries a good mix?

For a look at documentaries, politics and Hollywood, we brought David Lehrer of CommUnity Advocates to our kitchen table along with Leo Braudy, a cultural historian and professor at USC and Jim Hirsen, an author and conservative commentator from Newport Beach. The Kitchen Table is made possible by Ralph Tornberg.

David Lehrer>> "An Inconvenient Truth" was a blockbuster documentary. In the past few years, we've had "Fahrenheit 911", "Roger and Me" and a whole variety of documentaries that really have seemed to affect the American public. Are documentaries different now than they were thirty years ago in their impact?

Leo Braudy>> Their impact has certainly changed, but they're not that different. In fact, documentaries started out presenting a point of view. The old "March of Time" documentaries, the documentaries that were made to influence the campaign in California of Upton Sinclair. There's a continuity from the past to the present.

What's happened now that's different is that there are more documentaries, that people are used to watching documentaries on television, so they're more open to going to a theater. That's a really a new thing. To go to a theater to see a documentary? That is one of the things that has changed.

James Hirsen>> You know, also I think that -- and Leo hit on something. It's a principle that falls all the way through in history, but has now been accentuated. That is, the cult of personality, celebrity and fame. Celebrity obsession has increased over time empowering individuals who are famous to have a greater influence not just with their product, but also with their statements.

David Lehrer>> So you're saying that's something that's changed?

James Hirsen>> It's accentuated.

David Lehrer>> That celebrity is more important today than it was forty years ago?

James Hirsen>> Yes, it is.

Leo Braudy>> That is one of the things that has changed. Part of that is, of course, that so many celebrities are supporting documentaries with their own funds and also fronting for them, that is, being talking heads in documentaries.

David Lehrer>> So that increases the audience then?

Leo Braudy>> It increases the audience. Look, every magazine and publisher knows that, if you put a celebrity on the cover, that magazine is going to sell out this month more than any other month. So the idea of stamping something, branding something, with a celebrity face is really part of what's happening in the present.

James Hirsen>> And what it shows actually, and I would like to underscore what Leo said, that is that the nature of documentaries and what they represent in generic Hollywood has completely changed. The person who changed it is Michael Moore. Michael Moore in "Fahrenheit 911" had a documentary that didn't do documentary box office. It did blockbuster box office. There's never been anything like it.

So Hollywood studios view it differently and the documentary was originally a journalistic concept that communicated balanced facts like a news program. Well, now documentaries are advocacy vehicles and "An Inconvenient Truth" is an advocacy vehicle. It's not showing both sides of the debate nor did Michael Moore.

The problem with that influence and that power, though, is the choice of subjects. You know, for example, there are wonderful stories to tell about what Hugo Chavez is doing in Venezuela. There are wonderful stories to tell about what Fidel Castro has done in Cuba to basically put dissenters in prison. These stories aren't told.

Just to give you an example, HBO has just contracted to do a film and this is perfectly a legitimate subject. The film is titled "Recount". The film is dealing with the 2000 election contest and the people involved in making the film are from, you know, the entertainment industry.

David Lehrer>> So you're suggesting that it's kind of a leftward tilt of those who --

James Hirsen>> -- all we have to do is look at the titles. Richard Clark writes a book against the administration. It's optioned. We have a film called "Recount". Now they're talking about doing a film on Susan McDougal. I see a pattern.

Leo Baudry>> No, I think that documentaries have always been advocacy instruments. Think back to Murrow, "Harvest of Shame", the documentary on Joe McCarthy. These are all about a certain point of view and, to a certain extent, there are contrary voices included.

But the main thrust of them is always in a very particular direction. You have a film like "Good Night and Good Luck" which is a feature film about making documentaries. So documentaries have moved into a more important place in the entertainment spectrum.

James Hirsen>> "An Inconvenient Truth" had two shots in the arm that a normal documentary would not get. One was millions of dollars of free publicity with Al Gore on every show promoting this everywhere from the "Today Show" to "Larry King". That just doesn't happen with your typical documentary. Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me" doesn't get that kind of promotion.

Secondly, if the critics praise it and the awards shows give it attention -- of course, it won the Oscar -- that gives it a big boost. But you do not see, interestingly enough, certain subjects getting that attention. I'll just give you a good example. They aggregate critical ratings on a website called Rotten Tomatoes and Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is in the nineties.

David Lehrer>> For positive reviews.

James Hirsen>> For positive reviews. And from a cinematic point of view, you know, that's questionable. He says himself, "I just do a PowerPoint lecture." But if you take a look at a film like "The Nativity" -- it's not a documentary -- but it's a beautifully done Christmas movie --

David Lehrer>> -- it did very well, didn't it?

James Hirsen>> No, it didn't do that well. It got on the aggregate critical scale forty percent. Now why would that be? That's bias. If the critics are bias and the award-granting organizations show bias, the fifteen films that were picked on the short list for documentaries -- well, almost all. I would say were all left of center themes.

"An Inconvenient Truth" arguably, from a cinematic point of view, from a filmmaking point of view, shouldn't have won, but it won. I talk to lots of members of the Academy and, to a person, what they said was, "It's so great that he's brought attention to the issue. I'm so happy about that." That's why they gave him the Oscar.

Leo Baudry>> I don't see this as any different than giving Scorsese the Oscar for one of his not very good movies. You know, the Oscars always have a sentimental tinge to them. They always have that kind of focus.

David Lehrer>> Is there a bias?

Leo Baudry>> Well, I think there's a bias. There certainly is in terms of the people who are making the films. I don't know if it's a bias, but more of them are on the left. Certainly a lot more of them are on the left than are on the right.

Another factor in that is that celebrities are less afraid of speaking out about their political beliefs than they used to be certainly in the black list period in the Cold War. And in the 1930s when they were under the thumb of the studio system, it was very difficult for them to speak out. As a movie star, you weren't supposed to say anything political at all.

David Lehrer>> Well, we can't say anything more now either (laughter). Thank you both, James and Leo, for joining us today.

Leo Braudy>> Happy to be here.

James Hirsen>> Thanks for having us.

 

 
   
 
 
   

© 2003 Community Advocates, Inc. All rights reserved.