Film Industry Observations
by John W. Cones, J.D.

1. PATTERNS OF BIAS--Hollywood movies (those produced and/or released by the Hollywood-based major studio/distributors) have long contained blatant patterns of bias. They consistently portray whole populations of our diverse society in a negative or stereotypical manner (such portrayals in varying degrees include Arabs and Muslims, Latinos, African-Americans, women, Italian-Americans, Christians and regional populations such as Whites from the American South.

2. BIASED BIOPICS--Hollywood movies contain biased biopics, examples of historical revisionism and favoritism in movie portrayals displayed toward a single, narrowly-defined interest group of which the Hollywood control group primarily draws its members.

3. POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES--The biases in Hollywood movies also show up with respect to political and social issues, for example, Hollywood movies tend to be anti-government, anti-parent, anti-authority, anti-religion, pro-environment, pro-abortion, pro-violence, pro-smoking, pro-foul language, highly sexual and so forth.

4. SIGNIFICANT MEDIUM--The motion picture is a significant medium for the communication of ideas (see the 1952 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Burstyn v. Wilson).

5. IDEAS--Throughout the history of civilization, ideas have always and will always be an important basis for human beliefs and source of motivation for human conduct.

6. INFLUENCE--Thus, it can be proven by pure logic alone, that movies influence human conduct. After all, movies communicate ideas, ideas motivate human behavior, therefore movies must motivate some human behavior.

7. PREJUDICIAL THINKING--During a significant segment of many individual lives (particularly those who are relatively young, uneducated or unsophisticated), repeatedly watching hundreds of powerful motion picture images that consistently portray whole populations of our diverse society in a negative or stereotypical manner can contribute to prejudicial thinking, which in turn, is often the basis of real-life discriminatory behavior.

8. NOT SOLUTION--Thus, at minimum we must concede, movies that consistently portray certain people in a negative or stereotypical manner and/or movies that tend to emphasize certain positions with respect to political and social issues are clearly not helping us solve our society's problems, but more likely, making them worse.

9. MOVIES MIRROR--With respect to why the above-described phenomena are occurring, movies to a large extent, tend to mirror the values, interests, cultural perspectives and prejudices of their makers.

10. MAJOR STUDIOS--The motion picture industry is dominated by a small group of so-called major studio/distributors. The studio releases are the movies seen by more than 95% of the domestic moviegoing audience, and a significant percentage of most foreign audiences.

11. STUDIO EXECUTIVES--Aside from the fact that various creative people including: screen writers, directors, producers and actors contribute to the content of individual motion pictures, the people in Hollywood who have the power to decide which movies are produced and released, to determine who gets to work in the key positions on such movies and to approve of the screenplays serving as the basis for these movies are the three top studio executives at the major studio distributors.

12. SHARED BACKGROUNDS--In the spirit of similar diversity surveys of their members, conducted on a periodic basis by the Director’s Guild of America and the Screenwriter’s Guild, similar surveys of diversity at the top in Hollywood must be regularly conducted. Preliminary evidence demonstrates that a clear majority of these executives throughout the term of existence of these vertically-integrated, distributor-dominated major studios share a common background (i.e., they are politically liberal, not very religious, Jewish males of European heritage), a factual observation which tends to raise protest from certain segments of the so-called Hollywood apologist community, including false accusations of anti-Semitism.

13. CREATIVE CONTROL--The major studio/distributors through various approval rights are able to determine to a great extent which movies are produced and to some extent the content of those movies.

14. LESS DIVERSITY--One result of such control residing in the hands of such a narrowly-defined group is a severe limit on creativity in movie-making and a more narrow selection of motion pictures which tend to range (in a commercial sense) from hoped-for blockbusters and lowest common denominator movies to exploitation fare.

15. EXCLUSION--Long-time and ongoing control of the major studio/distributors also excludes large segments of our multi-cultural society from the movie-making process (i.e., such excluded populations tend to be inaccurately portrayed through the perspective of another cultural group and their positions on many important issues are overlooked).

16. MOVIES ARE PROPAGANDA--All mass communications media including movies that are controlled by any narrowly-defined group and used over an extended period of time to consistently communicate ideas favored by that control group can fairly be described as propaganda. Motion picture propaganda is particularly effective since it is disguised and promoted as "entertainment".

17. BUSINESS PRACTICES--The Hollywood control group gained and has maintained its power through the use of several hundred specifically identifiable unfair, unethical, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and illegal business practices, including massive employment discrimination and antitrust law violations.

18. GOVERNMENT INFLUENCE--The Hollywood control group gets away with its "proclivity for wrongful conduct" (language of various judicial and legal officials who have reviewed such conduct) by routing huge political contributions to presidential candidates and key members of Congress through excessively overpaid studio executives, their spouses and multiple political action committees, so as to discourage vigorous enforcement of the employment discrimination, antitrust and other laws in the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry.

19. GOVERNMENT POLICY--Federal government policy, specifically, the federal government's anti-trust law enforcement policy currently contributes to the ability of the major studio distributors to control and dominate the marketplace.

20. INDEPENDENT FILM--A motion picture industry made up of independent producers, independent distributors and independent exhibitors would result in greater creativity in movie-making and create greater opportunities for a significantly larger number of interest groups within out multi-cultural society to participate at a meaningful level in the film-making process.

21. FREE MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS--Our democracy is partly based on the concept of a free marketplace of ideas (i.e., to the extent that our society is able to vigorously and openly discuss the pros and cons of all important issues we should be better able to come up with the best decisions with respect to such issues for our society in general).

22. DEMOCRACY IS FLAWED--To the extent that any significant medium for the communication of ideas, such as the motion picture, is dominated and/or controlled by any narrowly-defined group who consistently uses such medium to communicate ideas preferred by that group, our free marketplace of ideas is diminished and our democracy is weakened. In a democracy, no important communications medium, including film, should be controlled or dominated by any single, narrowly-defined group. Government policy should therefore be changed to ensure a more vigorous discussion of view points in all media including motion pictures (i.e., that all segments of our diverse society have an equal and fair opportunity to tell their stories and promote ideas of interest to them through these important communications media).


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