Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Conservatives and Hollywood Continue `Family Values' Wrangle Led by the `Murphy Brown' TV Show, Hollywood Is Counterattacking against Vice President Quayle and Other Conservatives, Who Charge the Entertainment Industry Is Eroding Moral Values

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Conservatives and Hollywood Continue `Family Values' Wrangle Led by the `Murphy Brown' TV Show, Hollywood Is Counterattacking against Vice President Quayle and Other Conservatives, Who Charge the Entertainment Industry Is Eroding Moral Values

Article excerpt

MURPHY BROWN" leads Hollywood's counterattack tonight against Vice President Dan Quayle and the Republicans in what has become one of the hot-button issues of the 1992 campaign -"family values."

Ms. Brown, a fictional TV reporter played by Candice Bergen, first came under fire from Mr. Quayle last spring for "mocking the importance of fathers." In the show, Brown became pregnant and bore a child out of wedlock.

In a one-hour season premiere tonight on CBS, Brown's life "is radically changed by the two new men in her life, baby Brown and Vice President Dan Quayle," the network explains. All this is just make-believe, of course. Brown isn't real, nor is her baby. But in this Age of Television, when flickering images have a powerful influence on everything from political ideology to social mores, the Hollywood vs. Washington fracas has become very tangible. Conservatives, alarmed by Hollywood's lax moral standards, argue that the movie capital is leading America down a path to social collapse by legitimizing infidelity, licentiousness, nudity, violence, greed, and materialism.

Michael Novak, a theologian and scholar, says that, for some traditionalists, "the focus of evil in our society is the entertainment industry." Witch hunt charged

Hollywood accuses its critics of mounting a witch hunt that could end in censorship. They compare the current climate to the 1950s, when some Washington politicians attacked Hollywood as a hotbed of communist sympathizers.

As if to stick its thumb in the vice president's eye, Hollywood nominated "Murphy Brown" for nine Emmy awards and, last month, named Bergen "the outstanding lead actress in a comedy series." This is one comedy that doesn't make most Republican leaders laugh. Many of them, from Quayle to former United States Secretary of Education William Bennett, to former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan, see the "cultural elites" of Hollywood and the media as a threat to basic American values, and ultimately to America's role in the world.

They say that a nation of broken homes, impoverished children, poor study habits, corrupted schools, and crime-infested neighborhoods will be no match in the 21st Century for economic challengers like Japan and Germany. Hollywood is making things worse, they claim. Troubling issue

Hollywood's glitterati may scoff, but analysts say the GOP has touched an issue troubling millions of Americans.

Ben Wattenberg, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says of the decline of moral values: "This is an issue that is haunting this society. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.