Advocacy Groups and the Entertainment Industry

By Michael Suman; Gabriel Rossman | Go to book overview

9
Public Policy Advocacy: Truant Independent Producers in a Federal City Fixated on a "Values Agenda"

Mickey R. Gardner


INTRODUCTION

The independent producer community in the United States has flourished over the years because of the creative flexibility appropriately afforded it by the First Amendment. Whether it was programming produced for television or theatrical release, the content of that creative programming was largely immune to federal regulators who could not overcome the constitutional hurdle of the First Amendment. As a result, Hollywood has exploded economically as the ever-expanding domestic and international delivery systems for U.S.-produced television programming created expanded markets around the globe--markets clamoring for the diverse, uncensored, quality programming that is distinctly "Hollywood."

Based on the dynamic make-up of the current U.S. television programming marketplace, Hollywood producers, large and small, have generally been relaxed about public policy changes in Washington as long as there was a Democrat in the White House or a Democrat-controlled Congress. Ironically, when the 104th Congress turned Republican with the fearsome Speaker Newt Gingrich at the helm, Hollywood remained relatively sanguine because Bill Clinton and Al Gore firmly held the reins of the White House's massive public policy apparatus. Not to worry!

Well, program producers--particularly independent TV producers--were wrong, and the consequences of their indifference to First Amendment-hostile policy initiatives from Washington may haunt the creative community for years to come.

The basis for this gloomy prognosis is simple. On the one hand, many current leaders of the federal government, particularly those in the White House, have adopted a "values agenda" that seriously erodes First Amendment protections--protections that the creative community has taken for granted. The philosophical foundation of this "values agenda" is the belief that society's ills can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, by various forms of content regulation of

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