Monday, September 13, 2004

SF Gate : Political Ads Get A Hollywood Disguise

Hollywood is in the midst of an anti-George W. Bush feeding frenzy. Although the governor of the nation's largest state is an actor and a Republican, the industry is still dominated by liberals. And it is up in arms about the chance that President Bush might be re-elected.

In an unprecedented campaign tactic, the entertainment industry has financed and released a handful of films designed to influence the voters' decision on November 2: Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11"; John Sayles' upcoming "Silver City"; "Bush's Brain," a documentary on Bush strategist Karl Rove; George Butler's ("Pumping Iron") pro-Kerry documentary "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry"; and Robert Greenwald's "Uncovered: The War on Iraq" and "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism."

At what point will these films be considered political advertising?

The films are not simply works of art by writers and actors making a statement about current events. The people associated with the films are very open about the fact that their intent is to influence the election-just like many other public-interest groups in the nation. The difference is that other public-interest groups and corporations are required to report their campaign spending to the Federal Elections Commission and identify any advertising as political.

So far, Hollywood's electioneering has not come under election laws. But some believe that the industry may have crossed the line this year.

(click on the title for the whole article)

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