Hollywood's Morals ≠ America's Morals

A majority of Americans believe that Hollywood's morals do not reflect their own, according to a Nov 16th poll.

The poll, “American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood,”  which was conducted by Reuters/Hollywood Reporter, found that “61 percent of those surveyed said that religious values in America are 'under attack'.”

The poll also found that 43 percent of respondents believe there is a “campaign by Hollywood and the national media to weaken the influence of religious values in this country.”

Though the Reuters poll reported stunning public skepticism about the film industry, one of America's most influential institutions, no major networks or papers produced original reports on it.  Only a few national papers, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, The New York Times and USA Today, link to the original article, found on HollywoodReporter.com and Reuters.com.

The poll's conclusion reflects the findings of a CMI Special Report written in 2007, “The Media Assault on American Values,” which found that 73 percent of Americans say “the entertainment industry is having a negative impact on moral values in this country.”

The Reuters poll was commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League, a group committed to combating anti-Semitism. The poll surveyed 1,000 adults and has a margin of error plus or minus 3.1 percent.

The poll finds that 59 percent of Americans think that TV networks and movie studios, “don't share the religious and moral values of most Americans.” And Americans are refusing to hand over their hard-earned dollars to the movie studios that don't share their values. For example, Bill Maher's heavily promoted “mockumentary,” Religulous, was not a block-buster at the box office.

The evidence is in the box office numbers: family friendly movies with innocent themes of heroism and fun adventure are trumping gruesome horror flicks and movies that challenge traditional values. The outstanding revenue garnered from movies such as High School Musical 3 and Madagascar 2 trumped movies such as Saw V, a bloodbath of violence, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. CMI's Colleen Raezler notes the stark contrast in box office numbers in her November 4 article, High School Musical 3 Outdraws Saw V.


Erin Brown is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.