Prime Time Politics: NBC's ER Swipes at Racist U.S. Congress

As NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein pointed out this morning, Hollywood’s liberal streak is now so obvious even the news media are taking notice. But it isn’t just that celebrities are liberal activists in their spare time — liberal talking points are also finding their way onto TV and movie screens.

Case in point: Last night’s ER, NBC’s long-running medical drama. The March 2 episode saw the much-promoted return of “Dr. John Carter,” played by Noah Wyle, who left the show at the end of last season. Last night’s episode had John volunteering at a refugee camp in Darfur, Sudan, where hundreds of thousands have died in a real-life humanitarian catastrophe. Even as they portrayed the Janjaweed militia as the chief villains, the ER writers couldn’t resist taking a potshot at inaction by a supposedly racist U.S. Congress. Windows Media or Real Player

About fifteen minutes into the show, John is walking in the refugee camp with an accented black doctor named “Stephen.”

John asks, “So when do you think all these people are going to be able to go home?”

Stephen replies, “Who knows? The government funded the Arab militias to find and kill the rebels. So they burned the villages, killed the men, raped the women. Whoever survived, wound up here."

John: “Janjaweed have turned this place into the wild, wild west.”

Stephen charges, “Kofi Annan and Colin Powell, they call this genocide. And then Congress, they just went on holiday.”

John: “I guess 300,000 dead and a million displaced persons aren’t enough to get involved.”

Stephen: “Does not matter whether it is Somalia, Rwanda, Darfur, or New Orleans. When the faces are black, the world moves slow.”

Yet while ER recites liberal demands that the U.S. militarily intervene in places like Sudan, the intervention in Iraq (where hundreds of thousands were killed under Saddam’s dictatorship) has been greeted with predictable jeers.

Last November 3, for example, ER showed a family about to have dinner when one character gave a blessing with rhetoric that could have been lifted from’s Web site: “Thank you, Lord, for the blessings we are about to receive. Look over those now who cannot be with us, including the countrymen who fight to protect us in an overseas war founded on lies told to us by our government.”

Foreign Policy Iraq Hurricane Katrina Race Issues Entertainment Media