American Film

Name-calling, misleading ads, statements taken out of context...How did presidential politics come to this? An article from the November 1988 American Film™ may provide some answers. “How Hollywood Fixed An Election” by Greg Mitchell takes a look back at the 1934 California gubernatorial campaign between Republican Frank Merriam, a former State Senator and Lieutenant Governor and Democrat Upton Sinclair, the muckraking author and socialist whose EPIC (End Poverty in California) campaign sparked a coordinated attack from the Hollywood studios. Before PACs and Citizens United, before the plumbers and dirty tricks, before Willie Horton, daisies and mushroom clouds, there were phony newsreels created by famous filmmakers. It seems the original slippery slope of political advertising was a moral mudslide in the Hollywood hills.