Hollywood favors Democrats with donations

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A new study by the Center for Responsive Politics has re-affirmed the popular conception that the entertainment industry leans left.

The study found that entertainment industry workers within the seven major media conglomerates — Comcast, Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, CBS, Viacom and Sony — gave Democrats more than $4 million and Republicans a mere $711,000 between January and July 2012.

Hal Heaton, professor of finance at BYU’s Marriott School, said these numbers don’t surprise him.

“I think every industry establishes a culture,” Heaton said in an email. “Over time, those who are uncomfortable with the culture leave it, and those a who are comfortable come. This happens to be the culture of the entertainment and media industries.”

Heaton continued to say one dangerous effect of this is that everyone gets their information from these industries, who typically tilt left, and thus the people who get their information from them will also tilt left.

Even though it can have harmful effects on society’s information distribution, Heaton said there are times when corporate-sponsored political donations are acceptable, if not a responsibility of a particular business.

“If regulations have a significant impact on their business, they have a right and even an obligation to let politicians know what those decisions will cost the business,” Heaton said.

He said that whether donations are given privately or through the corporation, the employees and business need to do what’s best for the business.

Tamara Masters, a professor of marketing at the Marriott School, said this is more than likely why the entertainment industry gives so much to Democrats.

“This reflects the understanding of these workers and corporate leaders that the Democrats are more likely to fund the arts and thus it is in their best interest to be sure there is more funding — thus more jobs and entertainment,” Masters said in an email.

Masters continued by saying that business firms look after their best interests and back the individual who they believe will give them the most assistance in providing their product or service.

“Just as firms pay for market information and product development, etc., they may choose to pay to assist a political person or group that will help their firm grow or at least not hinder their ability to do business,” Masters said.

There could be more to the industry favoring one party over the other beyond business purposes though.

Film student Oscar Jimenez, a native of New Jersey, said in his home state being a Democrat is the cool thing while being Republican is frowned upon. Perhaps the same stigma exists in Hollywood.

While Jimenez doesn’t belong to any specific political party, he says the most important thing is standing up for what you believe in.

“You have to find a balance to please everyone, but stay true to what you believe in,” Jimenez said.

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