Following the June 1 release of his book Over the Cliff, John Amato spoke as the featured guest at an LA Media Reform event on July 16 in Beverly Hills. The event was co-hosted by Alliance Hollywood and LA Progressive. Guests included politically involved locals and board members of Alliance Hollywood and LA Progressive who connected over legislation, media reformation and other issues discussed in Amato’s book.
Among the topics of Amato’s discussion were the aftermath of Obama’s election to office and the loss of Republican seats in Congress. Amato spoke of his roots in Brooklyn and the creation of his now-renowned blog, Crooks and Liars; Noting that he was fueled by the idea of making a news source of and by the citizens, rather than being a bystander of televised and print media. Amato’s long work hours and dedication to the site landed him with multiple Weblog Awards, including Best Video Blogger in 2006 and Best Weblog About Politics in 2008.
In Over the Cliff, Amato gives examples of “how racism, no matter how subtle the undertones, has affected Obama’s legislation; noting that hate crimes against blacks soared the week after the President’s inauguration” said Claire Carmelia, who attended the event. The book also discussed sexism in the media, giving an example of a “bland” Hilary Clinton that the media still manages to berate.
Another misconception emphasized in the book is the role of agenda setting in the media. Amato cites surveys with biased questions including a 2008 poll which asked voters if they were ready for a black president as they exited voting booths. With 10% of Pennsylvania voters saying they were not, showing a racial bias accepted in the media. Amato’s solution: citizens taking action and putting media in their own hands to write the news themselves.
Alliance Hollywood (alliancehollywood.org) is a social advocacy group that represents the entertainment industry on Capitol Hill. The organization combines the industry's voice, media and financial power to “clean lobby” against corporate and special interest group lobbying. For more information on Alliance Hollywood, visit the website or email info[.]alliancehollywood.org.