Rising above perceptions of media bias
By RICHARD ROEPER July 3, 2013 4:14PM
This film publicity image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Henry Cavill as Superman in "Man of Steel." Warner Bros. enlisted Christian-focused marketing firm Grace Hill Media to promote "Man of Steel" to faith-based groups by inviting them to early screenings and creating trailers that highlight the filmís religious themes. They also enlisted a Pepperdine University professor to create a Superman-centric sermon outline for pastors. The tale of Superman has long been associated with religious allegories. "Man of Steel" doesn't shy away from that theme, including portraying the character as 33 years old and having him seek counsel at a church in a time of crisis. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Clay Enos) ORG XMIT: NYET304
Updated: July 3, 2013 4:14PM
Left, right, center, we all do this.
A liberal media pundit will say or do something offensive — and soon right-wingers all over Twitter, Facebook, radio and TV are proclaiming, “Imagine the outrage from the left if a conservative said something like that!”
A conservative politician or commentator will survive a sex scandal — and now it’s the liberals’ turn to say, “How quickly they forgive when it’s one of their own! Now all of a sudden the character issue isn’t important!”
Here’s the deal. We’re all hypocrites on one level or another. I’ve tried my best over the years not to spare a Madonna if she says something stupid, or a Clinton if he does something stupid, or an Obama if he trips up — yet I hear all the time from conservatives telling me I have “a liberal bias” and I’m “injecting your opinion into your writings and your radio show.”
In the wake of my columns about scandals and dustups involving Paula Deen, Anthony Weiner and Alec Baldwin, I received the expected responses from a number of conservatives claiming of course Weiner and Baldwin are weathering their crises because they’re liberals, and the dreaded mainstream media favors liberals.
Right. Becauses there was almost no coverage of Weiner’s Twitter debacle, and it’s just a flat-out love affair between Alec Baldwin and the media.
Whether it’s Rush Limbaugh or Bill Clinton, Donald Trump or Alec Baldwin, Newt Gingrich or Anthony Weiner, Bill O’Reilly or Barney Frank, Jesse Jackson Jr. or Pat Robertson, (and no, I’m not saying all the aforementioned public figures have committed misdeeds of equal weight), when somebody in the public eye says something really stupid, gets caught up in a scandal or is accused of criminal misconduct, “the media”—that big, monolithic, supposedly irrelevant and yet more pervasive and vital than ever before — the media will be there.
That’s always been the case and it always will be.
My right-wing agenda
It’s funny though. Occasionally my equal-opportunity criticism leads someone to believe I’m a hardcore conservative — and I’m sure that notion has some of you chortling right now. (Does anybody even chortle any more? Let alone guffaw?)
Just the other day I heard from a viewer responding to my comment about the “jingoistic” tone of “White House Down,” the big fat flop about Channing Tatum saving the president and the country from a domestic terrorist attack.
“How is this movie’s ‘liberal agenda’ that you allege any worse than your conservative agenda?” she wrote.
And here I thought my agenda was telling folks what I thought about a particular movie.
Man of Teflon
One last note on the feedback front: I’m still sifting through the pile of comments responding to my two-stars, C+, not-bad-but-not-quite-worth-recommending review of “Man Of Steel.”
Judging by the reactions of some of these fanboys, you’d think I’d broken into their homes and stolen their collection of Boba Fett memorabilia. A few “MOS” fanatics even wished actual death or physical harm on me — because I didn’t like a movie.
An actual sampling of actual comments from actual human beings who could be on the bus next to you, or in the next cubicle at work:
“If you didn’t like this movie you should never watch another movie because you’re a moron!”
“Richard Roeper, you sir should retire. You obviously know nothing about critiquing movies in the 21st century.”
“Get your head up out of your --- Richard Roeper and go read a comic book.”
“No movie is ever good enough for [critics]. They are jaded by their pathetic occupation. Contribute to society, critics!”
“[When did you] get on Disney’s payroll Richard? You give a glowing review to ‘Iron Man 3,’ but yet ‘Man of Steel’ didn’t make it? I don’t buy it!”
“Richard, [either] you’re insane or you really don’t understand Superman.”
Many other comments can’t be repeated here.
Interestingly enough, the tide turned after the opening weekend for “Man of Steel.” In the days after the review was posted, about 95 percent of the feedback was negative. Over the last couple of weeks, about 80 percent of respondents say they essentially agreed with me.
Maybe it’s because a much higher percentage of the latter group had actually seen the movie.