Monday, August 13, 2012

The Hollywood and Media Hypocrisy on California Proposition 30 and Possible Media Bias

Everybody loves higher taxes ... but only when someone else is stuck paying the bill.

Hollywood and media companies have ponied up big for Governor Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 tax hikes.  Here are the readily-identifiable contributions from various media companies to Californians To Protect Schools, Universities And Public Safety, A Ballot Measure Committee Supported By Governor Jerry Brown, which supports Proposition 30. That each media company contributed the same $100,000 makes it appear that this was part of an organized appeal campaign, organized either by the Governor's office or by the unions funding Proposition 30.
  • CBS Corporation: $100,000 (New York)
  • Disney Worldwide Services: $100,000 (California) (Disney owns ABC/ABC News)
  • NBCUniversal: $100,000 (California)
  • Sony Pictures: $100,000 (California)
  • Viacom International: $100,000 (New York)
  • Warner Brothers: $100,000 (California)
  • Dreamworks SKG: $100,000 via individual donations from founders Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffery Katzenberg
  • Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix contributed $1 million in support of Proposition 30.  However, he is also a major donor to many activities of the California Democratic Party.

Of course, Hollywood and the media will say that they just want to be "responsible corporate citizens" and ensure that everybody pays their "fair share," especially in these "difficult times" for the California budget.  This could be true, but don't forget that the media companies are first and foremost for-profit businesses with large public-relations staffs.

In the midst of massive multi-billion dollar California budget deficit and proposed tax hikes by the Governor, a California Assembly committee approved a bill for another $100 MILLION in tax credits for Hollywood and California media.  Of course, the fact that Hollywood and media are major contributors to the Democratic Party had nothing to do with it.  Democrats hate corporate welfare (unless you happen to be a major party donor). You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours (wink, wink).

Similarly, these same media companies also own major advertising-driven TV networks.  More than $20 MILLION has been raised so far to support Governor Brown's tax hikes, mostly from public-sector and trade unions.  Naturally, a good amount of that money will find its way back to the media companies as TV  political advertising, and that's just for Proposition 30.  Some companies also have outdoor billboard advertising, like CBS Outdoor.  NBCUniversal also own Spanish-language Telemundo.  Interestingly, California Democratic Party heavyweight, Haim Saban is executive chairman for Spanish-language Univision.  Saban is a major donor to the Democratic Party and is listed as one of the 50 most-influential California Democrats.

The two biggest spenders in California politics are the taxpayer-funded, public-employee unions California Teachers Association (CTA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU), according to a March 2010 report by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.  Other public-sector and trade unions, traditional allies of the Democratic Party, are also major contributors to Proposition 30.  The unions spend big on TV advertising during every election cycle.  I'm sure the studio bosses see it as just good business to toe the party line.  You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours (wink, wink).

Let's not also forget that at least three of this group have "independent" "impartial" news networks, ABC/Disney, CBS, and NBCUniversal.  NBCUniveral has a number of news outlets, including NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC.  I wonder how "impartial" coverage of Proposition 30 will be.

In full disclosure, I am a shareholder of Disney, a company I generally admire. But lets also not forget that the California Legislature just approved the latest California High Speed Rail plan involving $7.9 billion in state and federal spending.  Why does that matter?  One of the eventual stops on the high-speed rail is in Anaheim, California.  Why there?  Because that's where Disney's Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks are located.  You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours (wink, wink).

Meanwhile, California ALREADY has some of the nation's highest taxes.  Our high taxes, high costs, and ineffectual government have damaged our already ailing business climate, ranked near the bottom nationally, The California Legislature has given its staff a raise, approved additional educational spending for non-US residents, avoided a spending limit like the plague, approved an expensive high-speed rail plan that not even train lovers like, and debates just about anything other than public pension reform.  The California Legislature needs to stop the scratching and winking and perform their constitutional duty.

One of those duties it to debate tax reform and rates.  In the Legislature, tax hikes requires a 2/3rd majority as a protection for the 1/3rd minority of voters that pays the bulk of California's income taxes.  Meanwhile, Governor Brown's, union-funded Proposition 30 is purposely "electioneered" to circumvent the 2/3rd requirement.  Proposition 30 is an abuse of the democratic initiative process.

Californians, stop the obvious corruption in our political system and Proposition 30.  Vote NO on Proposition 30 this November.  You can learn more about Proposition 30 here.

1 comment:

  1. There is absolutely no reason that California residents should continue to vote their representatives into office over and over again. If they have done nothing to effectively enhance the state of their state, then they are there for another reason, greed. The only people's lives that they are making better by hiking the taxes are the irs tax helpers and accountants! The state needs to get their affairs in order quick, because I do not think the federal government will be able to agree on how to bail them out.