So, last weekend you may have heard that Sesame Street has been "secretly" spreading liberal bias for decades. The apparent revelation came from a forthcoming book, Primetime Propaganda, that's being savvily promoted by conservative Harvard Law grad Ben Shapiro. The tome is yet another alleging that all facets of Hollywood push a liberal agenda. But it's the strategy he's using to promote the book that's the noteworthy part.
Part of his promotional campaign, as the Hollywood Reporter wrote in an exclusive today, appears to be pretty smart: record TV executives saying dumb things about prominent conservatives, then slowly roll out those audio clips on those same prominent conservatives' TV shows. For example, Shapiro caught one producer he interviewed for his book saying an unspecified, but disparaging, thing about Sean Hannity--and that clip will debut on Sean Hannity's Fox News show. Ditto for Ann Coulter, for whom he'll be releasing an audio clip just as her new book appears on June 7th. Some of those executives who uttered "biased" remarks include venerable heavyweights like Golden Girls creator Susan Harris, Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman, Larry Gelbart of M*A*S*H, Vin Di Bona of MacGyver and on and on.
In advance of the book's release, Shapiro--a Big Hollywood contributor--has also been crafting his own narrative of what the mainstream media is missing from his book. "The left has focused almost exclusively on a one-and-a-half page section of 'Primetime Propaganda': the Sesame Street section," he countered in a blog post on Andrew Breitbart's site, after writing that he's rolling out the audio from the interviews on conservative destinations like Hot Air and Townhall.
The clips themselves, posted by the Reporter and embedded below, can be heavy-handed (a typical frame: "What does Hollywood feel about Conservatives? Hatred."). And they were also released without the permission of the TV executive subjects. "I asked them for permission to tape, and there's no reasonable expectation of privacy when you're being interviewed for a book," Shapiro said to the trade paper. Still, you've got to admit: for do-it-yourself PR work, this isn't too shabby.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.