Election ads make Hollywood publicity look like child's play

Election ads make Hollywood publicity look like child's play

I don't know who will win the presidential election at the time this column goes to print, but I do know this: I've never been more sick and tired of anything in my entire life than I am of this campaign. It's been nauseating - and the worse part is, we didn't even need to be put through it. Six months ago, most polls showed Kerry and Bush tied at 48%. Two days before the election, they showed the exact same thing. What a colossal waste of time and $500 million. The conduct of these left and right spinsters at least ensures I'll never again be embarrassed about covering for misbehaving celebrities. Sure, Tinseltown publicists can say with a straight face that Eddie Murphy was merely "offering a ride" when caught with a transsexual prostitute, or claim an actress suffered from "exhaustion" instead of an overdose, but that's child's play compared to this "below the Beltway" bedlam. Have pundits less shame than Paris Hilton? Perhaps the real "axis of evil" facing this country is the unholy alliance between media, money, and bull*#!&. At the expense of serious examinations of the issues, broadcast coverage and advertising fixated on the "horse race" and emphasized negative personal attacks. This forces each candidate to then spend millions more on response ads - and the cycle continues. Networks win, voters lose. The current political and cultural rumble is so heated that even previously nonpartisan entertainers joined the fray. As someone who's worked with Hollywood stars for more than a decade, I take offense at the notion that actors have no business expressing political opinions. More often than not, it's conservatives who say this, which I find laughable, as both Reagan and now Arnold launched political careers from Hollywood. So, actors can't express opinions until they become governor? That's as hollow a position as Bush's "compassionate conservatism" or Kerry's "opposed support" of the war. One amusing sidebar to this political torture has been the snip between Hollywood mucho macho moguls Mel Gibson and the aforementioned Arnold. The passionate one claims Schwarzenegger hung up on him when he voiced opposition to stem cell research. Arnold denies. Gear up for a celebrity death match. Mad Max vs. The Terminator might make Kerry vs. Bush seem like a love fest. Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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