Bozell & Graham Column: USC Hates Hollywood 'Whitewash'

Walter Annenberg was a billionaire publisher and philanthropist, a pal to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, whose biggest enrichment came from selling TV Guide to one Rupert Murdoch. But today, after his death, a school bearing his name is ripping Hollywood to shreds from the hard left.

The Associated Press breathlessly reported that in “one of the most exhaustive and damning reports on diversity in Hollywood,” The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California put out a new report slashing at the “whitewashing” of our movies and TV shows. It’s howling against an “epidemic of invisibility” for minorities (both racial and sexual) and declaring an “inclusion crisis.”

One can only await the fun of the next Democratic debate, when a liberal journalist can compel Sen. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton to explain which one would impose a more rigid code of “affirmative action” on all television and movie studios to insure all directors and actors hired (and characters scripted) match rigid racial and gender quotas to insure maximum “diversity.”

Or, since Hollywood is one of the most reliable piggy banks for Democratic campaigns, could it be the industry that’s most immune from a rigid “inclusion” bureaucracy?    

Last year, goaded by pressure groups like the ACLU and studies like USC’s, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission started an investigation of Hollywood. The new USC numbers come from studying 109 films released by major studios (including their art-house divisions) in 2014 and also 305 scripted, first-run TV series across 31 networks and digital streaming services that aired from September 2014 to August 2015.

They found the most nausea for liberals at the top. Directors overall were 87 percent white, and broadcast TV directors were 90.4 percent white. Just 15.2 percent of directors, 28.9 percent of writers and 22.6 percent of TV series creators were female. In movies, the gender gap is widest: Only 3.4 percent of the films studied were directed by women, and only two directors out of the 109 were black women.

In all the movies and TV shows, only a third of speaking characters were female, and only 28.3 percent were from minority groups — about 10 percent less than the makeup of the U.S. population. Characters 40 years or older tilt heavily to the male side across film and TV: 74.3 percent male to 25.7 percent female. This surely offends the Hillary backers the most, the lack of female authority figures in fictional entertainment.

Some of the complaints didn’t match the idea that they under-represented minorities. They claimed just 2 percent of speaking characters were identified as gay, but that’s pretty close to their actual fraction of the population. Even then, the population of gay characters were too white and too male!

They express shock that among the 11,306 speaking characters studied, only seven were transgendered. But out of more than 300 million Americans, the Social Security Administration has notched just 135,000 actual sex-change applications, an even lower percentage.

Somehow, in this epic search for diversity, this liberal journalism school did not address how many conservatives are writing and directing in movie and TV shows, or how many conservative characters are featured. That kind of diversity is never desirable to liberals.

Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center
Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis