Culture Caucus Podcast

Why Did Washington Break Up With Hollywood?

The fourth episode of our Culture Caucus podcast observes that celebrities in the Obama White House are most often from the music industry, or the world of sports. We also interview A.O. Scott, the New York Times film critic and author of the new book Better Living Through Criticism.

President Barack Obama gives a toast during a National Governors Association dinner and reception in the State Dining Room of the White House on Feb. 21, 2016.

Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

Remember the halcyon days of Barbra Streisand and Tom Hanks hobnobbing with the Clintons in the White House, of David Geffen and Steven Spielberg attending private screenings in the East Wing Family Theater? The days of Liberal Hollywood, such as it is, appear to have waned during the Obama administration. The major celebrities in the Obama White House aren't from the world of movies; they're from the music industry or, more than anywhere else, sports. We have a president who would rather hang out with the guys from Pardon the Interruption than George Clooney. This is a shift.

In the fourth episode of the Culture Caucus podcast, we look at how Hollywood influence in Washington has dimmed, and wonder what being a “Hollywood liberal” even means anymore. Might this change in a Hillary Clinton administration? And how would Hollywood react to a Trump administration? We discuss.

In the second half of our podcast, we talk to A.O. Scott, the New York Times film critic and author of the new book Better Living Through Criticism, about the Oscars and the institutions of Hollywood and the Academy Awards. Is there a benefit to these yearly film industry self-flagellations? And how liberal is Hollywood, anyway?

It's a good one! We apologize for the delay. We'll be back on our regular schedule now. You can e-mail us at Come say howdy!


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