By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 19, 2007
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Evan Coyne Maloney, an early pioneer of video blogging. He is currently working on a project – Indoctrinate U – that analyzes political correctness on college campuses. His website is Brain-Terminal.com.
FP: Evan Coyne Maloney, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Maloney: Thanks a lot for the opportunity.
FP: Tell us a little bit about how your first short video, “Protesting the Protestors,” and how it helped get you started.
Maloney: In the run-up to the
Iraq war, there were a lot of peace protests getting a fair amount of media attention. But what I noticed was, none of the reporters bothered to look at the extremist organizations organizing these protests. The Workers World Party, the International Socialist Organization and International ANSWER are rather extreme groups, yet I didn’t see anyone in the media looking into their involvement with the protest movement.
If the K.K.K. sponsored rallies in
Washington, and tens of thousands of people showed up, media coverage would undoubtedly include some mention of the extremism of the people who set it up. Yet these organizations are every bit as extreme as the K.K.K., and their involvement was being ignored.
I also noticed that the media refused to cover the radical element that did show up. There were people who were openly supporting suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. There were people comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler, and nobody was questioning it. You don’t have to like President Bush, but if you think he and Hitler are one and the same, then I think you’re pretty ignorant of history.
So I decided to pick up a video camera and cover the element of the protesters that the media was ignoring, and the result was Protesting the Protesters.
It got e-mailed around so much that it became one of those Internet phenomena. Within a day of posting that video, my relatively obscure website, Brain-Terminal.com, was getting mentioned by Rush Limbaugh and national television newscasters like Brit Hume.
FP: You mention the protestors who openly support suicide bombings against Jewish civilians. The Left thinks of itself as being a progressive force that cares about justice and humanitarianism etc. Yet in this terror war, the Left has ended up being on the side of an ugly totalitarian ideology – an ideology that is based on hatred of pluralism, hatred of women, hatred of minorities, hatred of homosexuals and hatred of almost everything else on earth. What is the psychology of the Left in this context do you think?
Maloney: That’s what boggles my mind. Women are second-class citizens in a large part of the world, treated as property, and it is not only acceptable for their husbands to beat them, but it is expected. Rape victims are stoned to death in “honor” killings while gang-rapists face no punishment. And yet the West’s feminists are silent. In a large part of the world, gays can be jailed and subject to chemical treatments in an attempt to change their gender preference. They are hanged and beheaded simply for being gay. And yet the gay rights activists in the West are silent.
I really don’t get it. There are very severe offenses against humanity occurring all over the world, and yet the left ignores them. It seems they are constitutionally incapable of recognizing any injustice unless they can somehow blame it on the West, on white males, on Christians or Jews, or on the
FP: Zilla Huma Usman, a Pakistani minister and woman’s activist, was, as you know, recently shot dead by an Islamic extremist for refusing to wear the veil. There wasn’t one peep about this from the Left in general and from the feminist left in particular. Just a deafening silence. I think this serves as a hint of what the Left really cares about and what it doesn’t care about at all.
So what short videos have you produced since “Protesting the Protestors”?
Maloney: I’ve produced a total 14 short videos that are all freely available on Brain-Terminal.com.
FP: Your interview with Michael Moore set you on the path of being a full-time documentarian, correct? Can you share the experience with us and how it set you on the road you are on?
Maloney: It was after McCain-Feingold became law, and it occurred to me that the campaign finance laws had a huge loophole in them, what I call the Michael Moore loophole. Whereas private citizens like you or me could not buy airtime to express our views within 90 days of a general election–it would be illegal–
Hollywood was exempt. So people in
Hollywood would have a huge megaphone with which to promote their views, while people like us–people who didn’t have access to the
Hollywood distribution machine–are shut up and shut out of the process.
I didn’t think it was fair that Michael Moore could put out a two-hour political ad in the form of movie, but I as a private citizen could not buy airtime to express my own views (not like I could afford it anyway, but it was the principle of the thing).
So I decided I would try to find Michael Moore to ask him what he thought about that. I staked him out for four days, and ultimately, I got him on camera. The discussion was a little contentious at first, but he did admit that
Hollywood should be more inclusive of different views. He encouraged me to continue working in documentary film. And he even admitted that there’s a market for documentary films other than what
Hollywood typically puts out. Now all I need to do is convince all the folks who put out films like his that he is indeed correct.
They don’t see a market for documentaries unless they hew to the Michael Moore/Al Gore worldview. But I’m going to prove them wrong.
FP: What is the Michael Moore/Al Gore worldview?
Maloney: To me, it’s a worldview that believes that the solution to all human problems is for more government and for greater subservience to government. That the world would be utopia if only we willingly handed over control to a group of hand-picked experts who would be responsible for running things. And that this utopia can be brought about through social engineering if only the will of the individual could be suppressed enough to allow this to happen.
FP: And it’s a worldview that spawned hell on earth every time it achieved earthly incarnation.
Tell us about “Brainwashing 101” and its sequel. What responses were there to these films?
Maloney: It’s funny. We had a great response from the audiences who saw the short films “Brainwashing 101” and “Brainwashing 201.” Both films won awards at film festivals, and we got a great reception from the students who got a chance to see them. Even a number of professors were supportive.
But school administrators were another story. It is in their best interests to limit the flow of information leaving campus to glossy admissions brochures and warm-and-fuzzy alumni newsletters designed to encourage graduates to open their wallets. Anything beyond that is a problem for them, especially a film that exposes the dirty little secrets of higher education.
In producing “Indoctrinate U”, we had the police called on us about a half-dozen times. And when we were screening the short film “Brainwashing 101” at
University–my alma mater–the head of security was brought in to threaten me with arrest in front of an audience assembled to watch my film.
I never thought my own alma mater would try to shut down the career of one of its own alumni. It was pretty eye-opening.
FP: So share with us your current project: ”
U.” When will it be released?
Maloney: We’re going to have a media screening for the film at the end of April, at the
Center here in
New York. (For more information, see the film’s website.
Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult to predict when the film will be released. You see, films are like new cars. The minute you drive them off the lot–or in the case of a film, hold public screenings–they lose significant value. Distributors like to “own the premiere”; they want virgin films. So we’re holding off on any timetables until we’ve exhausted all our options with distributors. And if we still can’t find a distributor, we’ll put it out ourselves. But we’re still trying to give
Hollywood a chance to prove that they’re not the same one-party state that campuses have become.
FP: Why do you think that
Hollywood and the academic campus are one-Party states?
Maloney: If the question is why do I perceive them that way, the answer is pretty simple: ample evidence demonstrates them to be that way.
When you see
Hollywood celebrities expressing their political opinions, very rarely do you see anyone express anything other than a left-wing worldview; it almost never happens. Similarly, when you take a look at the documentaries put out by
Hollywood, to whatever extent they contain a political perspective, it is also invariably left-of-center. Quite simply, that is the default position in
As far as higher education, there have been several studies showing that academics are much further to the left than the rest of society. The fact is, when political speech is suppressed on campus, it is almost always (not always, but most of the time) right-of-center speech. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a non-partisan civil rights organization that defends the free speech and free thought rights of students and professors in academia, states that most of the cases they receive are of conservatives who’ve had their rights trampled on campus. And FIRE is an organization that defends all comers. So the slant of the cases they receive is a symptom of the overwhelming slant in academia.
Now, if the question is why Hollywood and academia are that way–i.e., how did they get that way–that is a question that I could probably spend decades studying and only begin to approximate an answer.
In a general sense, I think that communities tend to be self-reinforcing, and that when any community passes a certain threshold of uniformity, the self-reinforcing nature of the community becomes exaggerated and more extreme. People who, as individuals, would never think of trying to punish someone simply for their political perspective become much more willing to stand by and let that happen if it appears that such a thing is what the community desires. And as the community becomes increasingly extreme in how it treats dissidents, people who simply stood by when it happened in less extreme cases become afraid to speak out against the increasing extremism, lest they be punished or cast out of the community themselves.
It’s simple group dynamics, and I don’t think any particular part of the ideological spectrum has a monopoly on groupthink and the negative consequences to which it leads. It is a human frailty, not a liberal or conservative thing.
FP: Share with us some of the innovative things you are doing to make yourself a force that
Hollywood can’t ignore.
Maloney: I don’t really care whether I’m a force in
Hollywood, and a lot of things in
Hollywood would have to change before someone like me could be considered a force there.
But we are doing a few innovative things to prove that there are lots of people interested in the topics we’re covering in ”
U.” On our website, we’ve got a Google Map where people can type in their zip codes to express an interest in seeing the film near them. And when they plug in their zip codes, it puts a pin in the map, showing graphically that there’s interest all over the country in seeing this film. Already, without spending a single dime promoting the film, we’ve had nearly 150,000 page views on our website, and we’ve got thousands and thousands of towns with pins in them. And we haven’t even spent a dime promoting the website yet.
So, while we have far to go before this grassroots campaign is noticed in
Hollywood, the fact that we’ve gotten this far this fast is very encouraging.
Of course, we need the help of everyone who cares about free thought in higher education, and we need the help of everyone who wishes Hollywood would every once in a while put out a documentary that speaks to them. If people get involved, I think we can help them bring about a lot of positive change.
FP: So what are some ways people can get involved and help?
Maloney: Right now, our biggest hurdle is convincing
Hollywood that there is a market for a different kind of documentary film, one that doesn’t necessarily have the same old perspective that the industry routinely churns out. And that’s where people can help.
If people visit our website and plug in their zip codes, we can prove that a market exists for this film. If they watch the trailer and forward a link to all of their contacts, I think we can get over 100,000 people to punch in their zip codes. And if we do, I think we can get mainstream distribution for this film.
That’s what is needed to help open
America’s eyes. I think many people suspect that these problems exist within academia, but I don’t think they have any idea just how pervasive or severe the problem is. No level of academia is immune, nor is any particular geographic region. Most colleges and universities in
America seem to be this way, and it is important that Americans begin to question the environment on campus and address the problem.
FP: Evan Coyne Maloney, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview and we wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
Maloney: Thank you very much.
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