• Was Hollywood’s Thumb on the Election Day Scale?

    by  • November 10, 2016 • Other • 25 Comments


    Did the entertainment industry influence the outcome of the election? 

    Leading up to this year’s presidential election, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sought celebrity endorsements. A fascinating article by The Wrap’s Matt Donnelly and Sharon Waxman examines this practice and discusses its effectiveness as an election tactic – and the influence it may have had on voters:


    Hollywood reeled on Tuesday with the knowledge that the electorate not only rejected Hillary Clinton by electing Donald Trump, but rejected the entertainment elite.

    Celebrities from Robert De Niro to Lena Dunham to Katy Perry to Bruce Springsteen gave their time, fame, talent and social platforms to the cause of electing Clinton. But she lost soundly despite appearing on the New York Times cover this weekend with Jay-Z and Beyonce, and despite wrapping up her campaign with a final boost from Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi. 

    It was impossible to read the verdict of a Donald Trump win as anything but a brutal rejection of Hollywood’s values and supposed influence. 

    “What is remarkable is that everyone believed Hollywood had a lot of power with these things,” said a shellshocked Janet Montgomery, star of the NBC hit This Is Us.

    “With so many celebrities saying #I’mWithHer, and huge stars doing concerts, they worked really hard and it’s not made any difference. That’s been shocking. It shows that people have problem with elitists.”

    Performers who stumped for Clinton were only part of the anti-Trump arsenal. The entire spectrum of late-night hosts fed off of mocking Trump week after week, month after month. For broadcast late night hosts like Stephen Colbert, the anti-Trump drumbeat may have backfired among his middle America viewers. Other talk show hosts like Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee and Chelsea Handler took direct aim at Trump, both mocking his candidacy and criticizing his treatment of women, minorities and the disabled.

    Trump used his lack of celebrity suppport to his advantage, suggesting that he was in touch with real Americans.

    “People like Jay-Z and Beyonce and Miley Cyrus wound up feeding the narrative Trump was building, one against that idea of elitism,” said Rajiv Menon, cultural analyst and media firm Civic Entertainment. “This celebrity element felt like a negative to his voter base.”


    Read the full article here.

    The PTC is eager to hear your opinion of this article. Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.




    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    25 Responses to Was Hollywood’s Thumb on the Election Day Scale?

    1. Rick Baugh
      November 13, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      I remember when, if a movie/cast/director won an Academy Award, there was a good chance it was a good movie to see. Now I use the Awards as a clue of which movies I should never, ever want to see. Hollywood destroyed their credibility long ago by producing trashy filth and then hailing it as something great. Their values are clearly seen, and they are NOT our values. Thus their opinions mean absolutely nothing. Just noise in the background.

    2. Mary Kilgore
      November 13, 2016 at 11:53 am

      we really do not care what the people in Hollywood think, say or do. it is so sad that so many put such stock in the entertainment business and how so many look up to them as idols. there are many movies we choose not to view because of the actors and actresses involved.

    3. Bob
      November 13, 2016 at 7:32 am

      I appreciate the work this site does to help protect our children and to fight for our rights as well. The Media and Hollywood are so out of touch, I loved how in shock “they” were when Hillary lost. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a HUGE fan of Trump but I had to vote for him because the status quo and four more years of the last 30 years of politics just wouldn’t do. Real Americans are sick and tired of Hollywood, the Media and “Career” politicians on both sides of the isle trying to tell us how “we” should be live and what “moral” values we should have, which is ironic considering these three groups have very little if any moral values. These three groups don’t believe in God or that anyone or anything is greater than they are! Of course, that’s their right as Americans to believe how they wish, the problem occurs when they try to remove OUR rights or change our beliefs because we disagree with them. I will close with another Thank you to this organization for their work!

    4. cinnapiggers@verizon.net
      November 12, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      “Hollywood” has long been an immoral community. It seems that the majority of folks want cleaner, better and more talented entertainment. What we get from the entertainment industry is becoming increasingly more violent and vulgar. Not only are the current TV programs, movies and music offerings getting more obscene but the salaries that these actors (and I use that term lightly) are being paid is also obscene. There does seem to be an elitist demeanor among the entertainment community. I certainly reject their morals, or lack there of, as what I want for myself and my family and I don’t want them telling me right from wrong. My husband & I have been off the cable/satellite grid for over 12 years. We watch old TV programs on the internet and get about 11 channels over the air. We use DVD’s and haven’t been to a movie since around 1993. We don’t feel deprived and actually enjoy the freedom from entertainment overload.

    5. Dick Marineau
      November 12, 2016 at 8:24 am

      It is obvious that they had much less influence than the thought which is good. If anyone wishes to set up a fund to assist those who want to leave this country, where they have made millions from us common folk, I would be willing to donate to it. In any event I will continue to pray for these misguided souls hoping the LORD will open there eyes to His Truth. May God Bless!

    6. George
      November 12, 2016 at 5:37 am

      In a bygone era celebrity endorsements meant something because those people either served our country ,( Jimmy Stewart, lee Marvin, Audie Murphy), to name a few or gave their time to entertain our troops like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Unfortunately the celebrities of today do neither and are coddled millionaires that have only one talent and that is to entertain us. They do that very well and we appreciate them, however they are so busy pretending to be some one else why on earth would we be interested in their political opinion. I am not sure they ever really know who they are.

    7. Marcel
      November 12, 2016 at 12:13 am

      Thanks Hollywood..They never fail to give me a steer in the right direction..
      I always look for their choices,and vote the opposit.Left leaning since WW2
      Bring back the John Waynes,Danny Thomas,Clint Eastwoods etc.
      The good old days,gone but not forgotten.
      God Bless America

    8. Mark Malthaner
      November 11, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      It is real easy for people to expound in hindsight on things from their point of view, but that doesn’t mean much. I’m not sure there is any correlation between the election and Hollywood. All I can deduce is that there are a lot of huge egos involved. Maybe the people in the middle that get labeled “undecided” were just smart enough to figure out that Hillary really is a criminal and they didn’t want her in no matter who supported her? Or maybe the working majority got tired of government stealing from them, saw that she would just make it worse? Or maybe there are a few million reasons and trying to point to 1 is a ridiculous notion? Hopefully we’re all looking for a little honesty.

    9. Donald Koop
      November 11, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      I think that more conservative candidates of the future should hang the weight of Hollywood around the necks of their opponents as symbols of what most Americans do not want. A nod from Hollywood should be portrayed loudly as the big negative that it is.

      • Jim Milam
        November 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

        Those that are a part of Hollywood that are not as outspoken, and are conservative, generally do not parade their ideas, but will respond if asked. There are some that supported Trump, but of course most of the media didn’t want to hear that, they wanted to support Hillary and bash Trump. He did very well when considering all of those loud mouths, the media, and the elitists, even Republicans, that were against him, constantly beating their drum. He was saying what many of us had been saying for years, we need a big change, and let’s get rid of the liars, cheats, & corrupt politicians in Washington, who aren’t for the people, but only for themselves!

    10. Joseph P. Bottini
      November 11, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      ANY INPUT BY THE SLEESE FOLKS OF Hollywood AND ENTERTAINMENT TYPES IS A SHAM. WHAT MAKES A SCANTILY CLAD ENTERTAINER knowledgeable ABOUT POLITICS OR GOVERNMENT? The level of morality of most of those folks is as low as whale poop. That world (segment of our society) is disgusting.

      • Anne McDonald
        November 12, 2016 at 7:24 am

        Sorry—Joseph, but the ‘level of morality’ dips to its lowest where Trump is situated. I don’t think that aligning with celebrities is a good idea either—but I think you’re forgetting the ones that supported Trump—like Ted Nugent, Hulk Hogan, Dennis Rodman, Gary Busey, etc.—–weird, coarse and unbalanced people at their best. I won’t belabor the point—but rest assured that Clinton attracted more sane people than Trump.

    11. James Wilson
      November 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      I had a woman at church ask me, “how did this happen!!”. I said it’s because this country and Britain are finally sick of liberals and progressives. That’s it in a nutshell!!

    12. Diane
      November 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Could care less. They are just actors. A bit sad that so many people look up to them. They are no better or important than anyone else. Hollywood are actually worse because their morals are at all time low! Slowly losing respect for most of them.

    13. Charlene Larsen
      November 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      I was for Clinton very strongly and was shocked and saddened when she didn’t win.
      Reading about the voters in Mid America and blue collar workers I began to realize it was “them”
      against “us.” They finally got a voice through Trump though it was often mean and nasty.
      Obama has made great strides but couldn’t always work with a divided Congress.
      Let us hope we can move forward and our democracy will continue to work.
      Yes, many of Hollywood’s values and morals have been “deplorable” so they should get this message
      that much cleaning up out there is necessary.

    14. Beverly J Young
      November 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      They are vastly overpaid to entertain the public and that is what they should stick to. I do not have any respect for any of the people who really bashed Donald Trump. They have let their status go to their heads. Surprise, surprise to all of you overpaid idiots who thought that the criminal, career politician, Hillary, would be a shoo in. You all are not as important as you think.

    15. November 11, 2016 at 1:44 pm


      • moax429
        November 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm

        Your assessment of “Hollyweird” (as I usually refer to it) is 1000% accurate.

        And I voted for Trump also.

    16. Susan
      November 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      None of the celebrities who endorsed Hillary Clinton have the kind of qualities that I desire or want in my children and grandchildren. Their morals are questionable and they all live in a fantasy land. They have no idea of what true patriotism is nor do they seem to care.

      • judy
        November 11, 2016 at 5:04 pm

        No one we know care what Hollywood people say to do with raising children, voting etc. We sure do not. We quit watching there shows if they overdo it. We would help them pack there bags to move out of this country.

      • mary
        November 14, 2016 at 11:57 am

        Susan, I truly agree with your comment. I would like to see the “stars” dressing more appropriately on television.

    17. Marti
      November 11, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Why celebrities are little gods is beyond me! Fools listen to them. We should stop holding them up as icons of intelligence. I’m waiting to see when they will start moving to Canada as they so professed should Trump win!
      Go to Canada! I doubt you’ll be missed.

      • Estela
        November 11, 2016 at 11:53 pm

        To those that will move if Trump win I’m waiting for them to move and the sooner the better. Who they think they are? only fools pay attention to them.
        We only watch channels that have nothing to do with HOLLYWEIRD.

    18. sara
      November 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      This part of the article really stuck out for me:

      “It was impossible to read the verdict of a Donald Trump win as anything but a brutal rejection of Hollywood’s values and supposed influence.”

      Does this mean that people are finally fed up with our celebrity culture?!

      I can’t come to any other possible conclusion!

      If so, then maybe things will start to change starting with our music industry: we need less of the recycled singers from the 80′s, 90′s, & early 2000′s and more of other kinds of music like video game music!

      The PTC keeps talking about ratings reform but we really need a reform of the entire entertainment industry!

      I didn’t want to see Trump as president but if this leads to the abolishing of our celebrity culture then maybe it’s actually a good thing!

      The next things that need to be abolished are long-running Nickelodeon cartoons like Fairly Odd Parents & Spongebob!

      People who are watching these 2 shows need to do the same thing as the people who voted against Clinton: reject them!

      Or in this case, stop watching them!

      • jhriver@mac.com
        November 13, 2016 at 6:22 pm

        Tinsel Town not do much for Hillary after all!!!!! As Trump said I don’t have a piano or band etc. I am just here by myself. AND HE WON !!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!! AGAINST ALL ODDS AND THE SECULAR MEDIA AND ” POLLS “

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