Americans sharply divided on Hollywood influence– Pew survey

June 23, 2008

oscars-2.jpgAmericans are sharply divided on the influence of Hollywood — for good or bad — and unsurprisingly this “culture war” division tends to follow religious faultlines.That is one of the many findings of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s massive “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.” The second part of this detailed survey, based on interviews with over 35,000 U.S. adults last year, was released on Monday.

For our story on its “culture war” findings look here.

The survey asked Americans if Hollywood “threatened” their values: 42 percent said it did, 56 percent said it did not.

Hollywood has long been a target of U.S. conservatives, many of whom regard its main movers and shakers as hardcore liberals (or worse) and its movie industry as corrupting.

So it comes as no surprise that most U.S. evangelicals agreed that Tinsletown goes against their grain though not by the overwhelming margin one might have assumed: 53 percent saw it as a threat but 45 percent did not.

The stoutly conservative Mormons regard Hollywood and its ways with the most suspicion among U.S. religious groupings with 67 percent agreeing that it threatens the things they hold dear.

America’s small atheist contingent is the least alarmed by the entertainment industry with only 19 percent seeing it as a threat; fully 79 percent did not.

One thing is sure: America’s culture wars remain as divisive as ever with both sides dug in their trenches for the long haul.

(Photo Credit: REUTERS/Hector Mata, Feb 20, 2008)

7 comments

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Well, if the MORMONS cast dispersion on something, it must be truly horrible. Like Coke, I hear they don’t like that stuff, or caffeine and tobacky.

I wonder if they polled the polygamist Mormons, the ones with all the wives, or just the modern reformed kind who abandoned their founders proclamation of multiple, underage wives…

Also have to wonder who’s buying all the porn in this country if it’s not “conservative” males…Or at least who’s attending all these movies, maybe the children of these people who claim not to like it, but then drive the kids to the theater in the SUV…

Which movies don’t they like? Comdey? Action/Adventure? or is it TV they have a problem with. Which shows? Do they like some shows, but despise American Idol? Are Reality Shows their bone of contention? I would like to know precisely which shows they are angry about, and why. Are they offended by brief nudity? Coarse language? Fast driving? Car chase scenes? Depictions of crimes in crime thriller flicks? Don’t some companys “snip out” the racy parts of movies for hardcore religious people with low tolerances for excitement?

I would like to know more about these issues.

Petey

I don’t care about non-religious messages by Hollywood as I am atheist. What I do object to is the influence of jewish persons in Hollywood movies that help push the U.S. into wars in the middle East.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Remember…the majority is wrong 90% of the time.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Ponder this

The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth.
Edith Sitwell (1887 – 1964)

Men willingly believe what they wish.
Julius Caesar (100 BC – 44 BC), De Bello Gallico

I never cease being dumbfounded by the unbelievable things people believe.
Leo Rosten (1908 -

Remember that what you believe will depend very much on what you are.
Noah Porter (1811 – 1892)

Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows.
David T. Wolf (1943 – )

I’m not sure I want popular opinion on my side — I’ve noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts.
Bethania McKenstry

There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued.
Thomas H. Huxley (1825 – 1895)

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

Television has done much for psychiatry by spreading information about it, as well as contributing to the need for it.
Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980)

Television is the first truly democratic culture – the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want.
Clive Barnes

Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn’t have in your home.
David Frost

Imitation is the sincerest form of television.
Fred Allen (1894 – 1956)

Don’t you wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There’s one marked ‘Brightness,’ but it doesn’t work.
Gallagher

Imagine what it would be like if TV actually were good. It would be the end of everything we know.
Marvin Minsky

I think that parents only get so offended by television because they rely on it as a babysitter and the sole educator of their kids.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park, Death, 1997

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Hollywood, Mr. & Mrs. Reader, does little in the way of influencing me one way or the other.

But then I prefer to lead rather than follow.

On January 20, 1961, I remember Jack Kennedy telling me (and a few million other U.S. citizens) to do for America, and stop waiting for America to do for me. It was in the 26th paragraph of his inaugural address as a matter of fact, i.e., “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”

I did that, spending a quarter of a century serving in the active duty uniform of our great nation, to include a tour in Vietnam.

Of course, I found out later that Messrs. Johnson/McNamara and Messrs. Nixon/Kissinger and just about every member of the senate and house of representatives weren’t the least bit interested in how many Americans got killed in SE Asia…or how many hundreds of thousands more of Our Sons & Daughters lost their limbs, sight, hearing and mental & physical health there.

By the time I retired, it wasn’t Hollywood that worried me. Rather, it was what the presidency had become and what the president didn’t stand for. By then it was the husband of Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Clinton didn’t volunteer to serve with me during America’s counterinsurgency operations in SE Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos). When I found service with Our Best & Finest missing from his curriculum vitae, I didn’t take it too kindly.

The Clinton years dragged on, and I watched a lot of Hollywood movies over that period of time. None that I watched jaded me, however. On the other hand, the president embarrassed America…and me.

Finally, the year 2000 rolls around, and Al Gore runs against George Bush. I was optimistic that my eight years of waiting for Mr. Clinton to go home were worth the time that I had put in…and all the money that I had spent on Hollywood diversions from the Clinton years.

So much for optimism.

I watched a lot more Hollywood movies (and piled up a lot of DVD’s) while Mr. Bush carried on the Clinton legacy of embarrassment…and worse. The Bourne Trilogy was appropriate during that period, I think. As a retired Soldier, I’ve found it sort of odd…but exhilarating…watching Mr. Bourne’s anti-establishmentarianism.

Incidentally, Mr. Bush didn’t volunteer to serve with me during America’s counterinsurgency operations in SE Asia either. When I found out about that, I didn’t take it any more kindly than I took Mr. Clinton’s avoidance of uniformed service to our great nation.

After almost sixteen years now, I’m optimistic again. This time I think the wait will not have been in vain.

I’m supporting Mr. Obama, of course. Yes, I’m giving him a break on not serving in the active duty uniform of our great nation. He’s too young to have served with me in SE Asia. Although I could be wrong, young Barack comes across as a guy without the personal character flaws that plague Messrs. Bush and Clinton.

Mr. McCain just doesn’t do it for me. The first strike he has against him is that he has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to the counterinsurgency operations that Our Sons & Daughters have been conducting in SW Asia (Afghanistan/Iraq) for the past seven years…while sacrificing their lives or limbs, sight, hearing and mental & physical health there. No, being a POW does not qualify Mr. McCain as a policy expert on counterinsurgencies.

So, the republicans who never have much to hang on to, ought to really let go of Mr. McCain’s coattails on that score.

As a matter of fact, Mr. McCain has been criticizing the conduct of the counterinsurgencies in SW Asia for years. However, all of a sudden now he changes his attitude. I respected him more when he was being critical…when he was being the republican maverick.

One last note on Hollywood’s influence. While not influencing me, it sure did influence Ronald Reagan. He was another guy whose coattails the republicans loved to hang on to…and still do. He was an actor wasn’t he, i.e., a product of Hollywood movies? I think so.

I think that Mr. Bush, Mr. Reagan and Mr. McCain are a lot alike in one way for sure. That commonality is the macho Hollywood influence. You know, all that Eastwood and Schwarzenegger stuff.

Unfortunately for George, Ron & John…Clint and Arnold (a republican politician himself) would be the first to tell them I think, how it really is, i.e., that acting won’t cut the mustard when it comes to formulating and implementing successful domestic economic policy and achievable U.S. foreign policy.

I still believe that when one is the president, one has to know what one is doing.

Mr. Bush has proven that even with the Hollywood “touch”, that he doesn’t know anything about foreign policy. Mr. Reagan proved that he didn’t know anything about domestic economic policy. Mr. McCain isn’t up on his foreign policy…and I think that I heard recently that he himself admits he doesn’t have a handle on domestic economic issues either. I remember in 2000 that he admitted the same thing about the proper use of Our Best & Finest, i.e., that he would rely on the political generals/admirals at the Pentagon, because of his lack of military knowledge. Quite surprised about what he said, I wrote to Mr. McCain about it, but did not receive an answer.

OK Jack

P.S. Since this is FaithWorld, I want to throw in one more point. I hear that the only Muslim member of congress and some other Muslim activists want to get on the Obama bandwagon for 2008 (headgear and all). I guess this is because Mr. Obama’s father was a Muslim. These folks need to take the cotton out of their ears…and WAIT their turn for a seat on the political wagon.

Christian minorities have been waiting for decades, and this is THEIR hour.

This is MY hour too…after sixteen long years, and having paid my dues for a quarter of a century prior to that. Besides, I sorely need a break from White House Hollywood machismo for at least the next four years…and maybe even eight if I’m lucky.

Hollywood’s influence is declining and will eventually level out at the ‘not much’ point.

For a decade it’s been pumping out movies of monumental mediocrity with abysmal scripts and plots, overpaid and overrated superstars and expensive but inadequate special effects presumable designed to smooth over the gaping cracks.

Admittedly there have been some superb movies made – even some excellent actioners – but overall the arrogance of the producers and directors in creating such a plethora of dross is staggering – a fact that many have refused to grasp or to even engage with.

I cannot count the times I have started to watch a Hollywood movie only to realise that what is on the screen is actually a rather obvious confidence trick. That’s why I have often felt cheated, and even walked out in disgust.

I know what good scripting, direction and production values are. And people like me have often despaired.

Ostriches are ostensible used to sticking their heads into the sand, and people metaphorically just that in spades.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

If you can watch this video, you will better understand the reason for Hollywoods attempt to influence you!
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6KUDv1 wzraWhwlBt1

Why is this country so blind and full of idiots?

Posted by jnelson | Report as abusive