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University of Southern California Professor Steven J. Ross Discusses Hollywood and Politics

March 01, 2012

Steven J. Ross, professor of history at University of Southern California, visited the law school on Feb. 29 to discuss his recent book "Hollywood Left and Right." The book explores the influence of Hollywood on American politics from the 1920s to the present.

Professor Ross argued that conservative celebrities have had more influence on government than liberal celebrities. Liberals like Charlie Chaplin, Jane Fonda and Warren Beatty had less influence on American politics because of their issue-oriented stands, using their celebrity to make an issue more known to the public, Ross said. By contrast, he added, conservative celebrities Louis B. Mayer, Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger had more influence on American politics because they were more movement-oriented, using their celebrity to give conservativism a friendly appealing face to voters.

He concluded by exploring the current influence of entertainment through FOXNews, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The event was sponsored by the Drexel chapter of the American Constitution Society.