Power and Hypocrisy in Tinsel Town and the Media

Jim Woods

Growing up in Southern California, and doing my undergraduate work at the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA), I always have been surrounded by the entertainment industry.

I have friends “in the business,” including actors, writers, directors and those in back-office production roles. The people I know in the industry either love their jobs or really like their jobs, since they are well-compensated and help produce a product that the world generally loves.

Yet I have never met a person in the entertainment industry who has ever denied the reality that there’s widespread misuse and abuse of power by those at the top. And, I have never met anyone who hasn’t acknowledged there’s widespread, blatant hypocrisy practiced on the part of so many elitist Hollywood liberals who generally advocate for liberal/progressive ideas, but whose own behavior falls far short of their stated ideals.

Now, abuse of power and blatant hypocrisy isn’t unique to Hollywood. Every industry, and every segment of society has its nefarious practitioners. Yet when it comes to the entertainment industry, the high-profile, worldwide platform it enjoys makes it especially ripe for egregious hypocritical behavior.

The latest example here is that of Harvey Weinstein.

By now, I suspect most people have read about the allegations levied against the mega-producer, which include a decades-long history of sexual misconduct, harassment and even sexual assault.

If you want to get a look into the details of this rather harrowing tale, I highly recommend The New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow, “From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories.”

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Warning, however, you may find yourself in need of a shower after reading about Weinstein’s alleged misbehavior.

Yet perhaps not surprisingly, Weinstein was revered by many on the political left, as he was a big donor to many high-profile campaigns, including those of President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton and two-time presidential loser Hillary Clinton.

Weinstein also was an outspoken advocate of progressive causes, and a harsh critic of conservatives and Republicans.

The hypocrisy here is that Weinstein apparently was the epitome of a smarmy man who used his power and influence to get what he wanted from women — women whose careers he knew he could make or break at any moment.

So much for the progressive values of equality in the workplace, women’s rights, a hostility to the “white-male power structure,” etc.

Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, even sexual crimes, spit in the face of these values, all while his millions were going to help foist these ideals into the public conscience.

Yet what also disturbs me, perhaps even a bit more than even the alleged Weinstein behavior/hypocrisy, is what now appears to be an attempt by NBC News to scuttle the Farrow piece. Surely, NBC News would want to report on a famous, influential, politically connected, and undeniably newsworthy figure like Harvey Weinstein.

But apparently, that wasn’t so. In fact, according to one report, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim made a judgment this past summer that Farrow’s reporting on the Weinstein story wasn’t ready for prime time.

In an interview last night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Farrow disputed that claim, and he did so vehemently. Maddow asked Farrow: “NBC says that the story wasn’t publishable, that it wasn’t ready to go at the time that you brought it to them.”

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Farrow retorted by saying: “I walked into the door at The New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier. And immediately, obviously, The New Yorker recognized that. And it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC.”

In my opinion, the alleged actions of NBC News seem to represent another form of hypocrisy, even a cover up. That hypocrisy is one where you conceal an ugly truth to protect someone in your ideological camp.

Now, to MSNBC’s credit, which is an NBC Universal property just like NBC News, the topic was discussed. Also to Maddow’s credit, the host brought up the subject. I don’t often agree with Ms. Maddow’s political views, but one thing you cannot accuse her of here is hypocrisy, and for that she deserves respect and acknowledgment.

If there’s any good to be taken from the Weinstein episode, and from similar episodes in recent years, it is that sexual harassment and the abuse of power must not be tolerated. It is truly a scourge on society, as it nullifies the victim’s rational pursuit of career, and turns a mutually beneficial employer/employee situation into an ugly sexual power play.

There’s no room for it, America. Full stop.

Nock on Woods

“The mind is like the stomach. It is not how much you put into it that counts, but how much it digests.”

— Albert Jay Nock

The great libertarian thinker is full of wisdom, and a genius at turning a phrase. If you want to learn about how the expansion of the state comes at the expense of society, and not in the service of society, then you simply must read Nock’s classic, “Our Enemy the State.” This is perhaps the most-powerful work you’ll ever read on the subject, and it might just change your way of thinking. I know it changed mine.

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Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

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