Give Flip-floppin' Joe An Oscar

Debbie Schlussel - August 15, 2000 - Jewish World Review


Justice4JP does not endorse or oppose any candidate in the Presidential elections. Justice4JP does however see it as our responsibility to the public to reveal how any candidate's position on the Pollard case is a reflection of that candidate's commitment to the truth, or alternately a reflection of his willingness to subvert principles of honesty, justice, and fair play to political goals. See Justice4JP Release Aug. 16 2000.

GIVE Joe Lieberman an Oscar!

On Sunday, he's on TV attacking Hollywood trash. The next night, he's partying with it.

With "The Jenny Jones Show's" Executive Producer, David Salzman.

Lieberman, the same guy who built his political career giving out "Silver Sewer" awards to "cultural polluters" and calling for V-chips to screen out violence and filth on TV, quickly changed costume, last week, trying to adjust to Al Gore's -- and now his -- Hollywood sponsors. The same guy, who last year in an "Appeal to Hollywood" urged entertainment executives to change the "toxic culture of violence and vulgarity surrounding our children," now had a new Appeal to Hollywood . . . to elect him Vice President.

Faster than a Hollywood starlet changes make-up, Lieberman changed his political make-up. He and his chief of staff are trying to soften long-held anti-Hollywood positions --- after all, he's now the prospective veep of the Party of Hollywood. Lieberman really didn't attack Hollywood, they claimed. He just, well, raised concerns. He only wanted voluntary, self-imposed standards for the entertainment industry.

The Washington Post reported that Tipper Gore called her former foe and current ally Hilary B. Rosen, head of the Recording Industry Association of America (home to "Eminem" and "Gangsta" Rap), last Monday, "to assuage her concerns about Lieberman's history of targeting sex and violence in popular culture." And the Hollywood glitterati -- Spielberg, Geffen, Katzenberg, Valenti, and others at the top of the entertainment food chain -- followed suit, softening their position on Lieberman (praying that he'd "repent" like Tipper did).

But, wait. Not so fast!

On Sunday, the chamelionic Lieberman changed back again. Just a day after Bill and Hillary were partying in L.A. with their Hollywood buddies to raise money at a producer's house -- and on the same day and time that they did so again, brunching at Barbra Streisand's house -- Lieberman, the excess cook, spoiled the broth. On "This Week With Sam and Cokie," Lieberman took his verbal knives out again and attacked Hollywood.

"Too much of what they do is not good for our children, not good for our culture," Lieberman declared. "There is still too much violence, too much sex, too much incivility in entertainment, which makes it very difficult for parents, who are working so hard to give their kids values and discipline, to do so. I find that the average family feels as if it's in a competition with a lot of the stuff . . . coming out of the entertainment industry. And government has to be on the side of standing with those people to help them, because they fell helpless against the big entertainment industry."

Lieberman warned that Washington might impose "legal restrictions" on Hollywood, if Hollywood refuses to "draw some lines themselves. . . . And I can assure you . . . a Gore-Lieberman administration will be concerned about what government can do within appropriate Constitutional limits to improve the moral future of America." He echoed the same sentiment on several shows.

But, wait. Not so fast!

On Monday Night, Lieberman partied with Hollywood bigwigs at a fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of Hollywood producer David Salzman,according to Associated Press. And since I'm from Detroit, I know that former Detroiter Salzman isn't just any producer.

He's executive producer of "The Jenny Jones Show."

Yes, the very same "Jenny Jones" talk-show that was expressly singled out for criticism by Lieberman. The same "Jenny Jones Show" that rivals "Jerry Springer" in racy sexual content, as one of the raunchiest shows on TV. The same "Jenny Jones Show" that, last year, lost a multi-million dollar lawsuit for causing the Michigan murder of Scott Amedure by Jonathan Schmitz. The show's producers lied to the heterosexual Schmitz, who had a history of mental problems, and induced him to guest on the show. They set him up, "ambush" style, with stories of a female crush, instead surprising him on the air with the gay Amedure.

So, where was Joe Lieberman's morality on this, Monday Night? What was he doing at Salzman's?

While on Sunday, Lieberman told the pundits and cameras that he would use the Democratic National Convention to renew his call for less violence and sex in entertainment, don't bet he told that to Salzman. Or that he asked him to curb the racy "Jenny Jones Show." He went to Salzman's pad to put the touch on Salzman's wallet. Nothing less. . . and nothing more.

You can't fault Salzman. He knows on which side his ratings -- and profits -- are buttered. But you can fault Lieberman --- and should. What a hypocrite!

If you're keeping score, it seems one out of two Joe Liebermans agree that Hollywood's garbage is bad. The question is, which Joe Lieberman will get to the White House?

It's very likely that Lieberman's phony morality play on the Sunday morning political talk shows was set up with the blessing of Al Gore, who can't himself bite the Hollywood hand that feeds him. In the Hollywood spirit, he cast Lieberman to play the role of bad cop attacking Hollywood.

But the script's been written. Lieberman's already said he'll discontinue giving out Silver Sewer awards as VP. "There are certain things that a vice president doesn't do that a Senator can," he told NBC's Tim Russert. But I can't find that in my copy of the Vice Presidential Rulebook. What he's really saying is that Hollywood Al's veep can't give out Silver Sewer awards. As he told all the Sunday shows that, "after the internal debates that Al and I have, his position will be my position. That's Constitutionally necessary." Sorry, Joe, but I can't find that one in the Constitution, either.

And while Lieberman told Russert that Gore shares his view that Hollywood must reduce sex and violence, the statement was belied by Russert's reading of a Los Angeles Times report that Gore, at a private meeting of Hollywood donors, "distanced himself from the federal inquiry into Hollywood's marketing of violent movies launched by President Clinton," which Gore said "was initiated without his input."

After all, Gore "has a dozen good years invested in Hollywood," Gore fundraising veteran Joe Cerrell told The Washington Post, and with $6 million in donations, the entertainment industry is the Democratic Party's 4th most generous backer, this election cycle. You get what you pay for, and so does Hollywood. Just like Bill with Monica, Gore and Lieberman can't get beyond their illicit affair with Tinseltown.

"These are some real mixed messages we're getting," Larry Makinson, head of the Center for Responsible Politics, told AP. "All of the groups Gore has been attacking, he seems to be taking money from, and the ones Gore is popular with, like Hollywood, Lieberman is attacking. They've got both their money bases covered."

(Hillary did the same thing, attacking Hollywood violence in her Monday Night speech to the Convention, right after she collected a $4 million from Hollywood at the Brentwood home of a producer, Saturday Night.)

In the days when Hollywood still cared about America more than profits -- and when there was no need for hypocritical Lieberman pronouncements -- Omar Sharif starred in "Funny Girl" with Democrat savior Streisand. Sharif -- also known for romancing her -- said of Streisand, "I think her biggest problem is that she wants to be a woman and she wants to be beautiful, and she is neither."

To paraphrase Sharif, in hanging with the "Jenny Jones" producer and Presidential candidate Gore, Joe Lieberman's biggest problem is that he wants to be a principled moral critic of Hollywood and he wants to be Vice President.

Debbie Schlussel is a Detroit-based sports and entertainment agent, attorney and commentator.

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