Topic: Media Research Center
Despite having a history of attacking actors who make political statements, the Media Research Center makes an exception for actors who spout right-wing talking points. That's what Christian Toto did in his July 1 column touting the star of the right-wing-friendly film "Sound of Freedom":
Jim Caviezel doesn’t read off the Hollywood script on the promotional circuit.
Yes, that’s the understatement of the year.
The “Passion of the Christ” star works steadily in the industry despite his reluctance to toe the company line. Now, talking to select press for his new film “Sound of Freedom,” Caviezel has taken the shackles entirely off.
That means he’s not promoting the progressive cause du jour.
The star mocked the mainstream media for telling lie after lie after lie.
“Hunter Biden laptop, 2 years, you told us, not true…then it’s true. For 7 years, we learn Donald Trump is a Russian spy…Durham report drops” *snaps* “he’s not a Russian spy.”
He decried sexually explicit Pride displays where children are routinely present, another liberal Hollywood no-no.
Toto also noted that "The actor also dubbed the Academy Awards as the “Irrelevant Show” for ignoring films like “The Passion of the Christ” (the film earned three minor nominations – Best Score, Best Makeup and Best Cinematography)." He didn't mention that "The Passion" was criticized for leaning into anti-Semitism by blaming Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus, which makes more sense after director Mel Gibson's virulent anti-Semitism was revealed.
Alex Christy tried to whitewash how "Sound of Freedom" leaned into QAnon conspiracy theories and Caviezel's embrace of QAnon in a July 8 post:
CNN Tonight host Abby Phillip decided to do something different for Friday’s show by doing a movie review. Specifically, Sound of Freedom starring Jim Caviezel who stars as Tim Ballard, a real-life former DHS agent who works to bust child sex trafficking rings. For Phillip and The Storm is Upon Us author Mike Rothschild, the film focuses on a real issue, but is nevertheless a “moral panic” and a plot to get QAnon conspiracy theorists to feel good about themselves.
After noting the film is battling Indiana Jones“for the top spot at the box office,” Phillip also noted “the film and its star are raising eyebrows among critics. Some say that it bends the truth about child exploitation, and it caters to QAnon conspiracy theorists. Its distributor, Angel Studios, denies those accusations. Jim Caviezel, the star of the film, is also known for openly embracing QAnon theories.”
After introducing Rothschild, Phillip led him with more of a statement than a question, “the star of this film, Jim Caviezel is coming under a lot of scrutiny for his embrace of QAnon conspiracy theories. And you seem pretty familiar with him because he doesn't really hide his association with this real wild plot that involves, you know, drinking the blood of children and things like that.”
Rothschild elaborated on that idea, “he is openly embracing and he's openly using its catchphrases and its concepts. He's speaking at QAnon conventions. And this film is being marketed to either specific QAnon believers or to people who believe all of the same tenets as QAnon, but claim they don't know what it is.”
Phillip added, “And the Sound of Freedom does focus on a real issue of sex trafficking. But that theme, it's sort of like that kernel of truth that feeds the QAnon conspiracy theory. Tell us how those two things work together.”
Christy's response to all this? "CNN is reviewing Caviezel’s personal life and not the actual movie." That's a hypocritial statement -- the MRC reviews the personal lives of actors all the time, such as Jane Fonda and Rob Reiner, when make statements that aren't conservatively correct.
Christy then cited a reviewer who noted that the movie was based on a true story, adding: "Exactly. If you want fewer QAnon conspiracy theorists then do not associate movies about fighting sex trafficking with QAnon." By thte same token, if you don't want your movie associated with QAnon, don't hire a QAnon adherent as your star. And maybe don't base your movie on a guy who repeatedly spews xenophobia and anti-LGBT rhetoric and who won't distance himself from QAnon.
The MRC then hypocritically swung back to reviewing a person instead of his work in a July 18 post by Bill D'Agostino attacking a writer who pointd out how "Sound of Freedom" leans into QAnon:
On Saturday, Bloomberg published a guest opinion piece by the former communications director of a pro-pedophile advocacy group. The article, titled “QAnon and ‘Sound of Freedom’ Both Rely on Tired Hollywood Tropes,” was a late arrival to media crusade against ‘Always With Honor’ — a film about, of all things, child trafficking.
Freelance journalist Andy Ngo over the weekend pointed out the author of this Bloomberg piece, Noah Berlatsky, had an alarming history of defending pedophiles online.
The obvious question is: Why does Berlatsky spend so much time defending pedophiles, downplaying child sex trafficking, and demonizing parents? Perhaps the answer is just as obvious, but we don’t want to allege something we can’t definitively prove.
Instead, let’s ask: Why are Bloomberg’s editorial staff struggling so spectacularly to disavow a man who built his career around defending pedophiles?
Can we also ask why D'Agostino said absolutely nothing at all about the content of Berlatsky's column?
Toto returned for a July 22 column raging at actress Ellen Barkin for making a non-conservative statement, huffing that she and other liberal actors "never suffer for unhinged views like right-leaning stars often do," adding: "Just ask Jim Caviezel, whose sin is being an openly Christian star. The media loathes him for it., and he allegedly lost two agents for starring in 'Sound of Freedom.'" Toto censored Caviezel's QAnon endorsements, which is likely the real reason Caviezel lost those agents.
Tierin-Rose Mandelburg spent a Sept. 1 post complaining that people were still talking about the QAnon-adjacent leanings of "Sound of Freedom":
Though it seems like everyone has moved on from baselessly bashing the Sound of Freedom, CBS Mornings couldn’t find anything better to talk about Friday, as the network allotted a whopping seven minutes-and-change attempting to paint the movie as something of a QAnon conspiracy.
Apparently exposing the truths and travesties of the child trafficking network is just right-wing propaganda - that is, according to CBS. For starters, the chyron of the segment read, “‘Sound of Freedom’ Controversies.” Fill-in co-host Jamie Yuccas stated, “Sound of Freedom is a lightning rod for controversy and conspiracy theories,” adding that the movie has been embraced by “supporters of the fringe conspiracy theory, QAnon," who "falsely believe in the existence of widespread human trafficking rings run by Hollywood and so-called liberal political elites.”
In the segment, hosts spoke with writer-director Alejandro Monteverde, immediately asking how he feels about the film being at the center of so much controversy.
Again, I don’t think the illegal sexual exploitation and abuse of children is controversial. Nobody should ever be for it, full stop. But, I digress.
Nobody is, dear, and merely criticizing this movie does not mean one is in favor of human trafficking. But we digress; Mandelburg went on to assert that the film can't possibly be leaning into QAnon because the director said it wasn't:
Despite Monteverde’s redirect to focus on the facts of the film and its real-life implications, co-host Nate Burleson asked if the choice to cast Jim Caviezel as the main character was the right selection.
Monteverde then went on to explain that Tim Ballard, the man on whom the movie is based, wanted Caviezel to play the role due to the fact that he is a “man of faith.”
Mandelburg censored Caviezel's embrace of QAnon. She concluded by whining again that the QAnon-adjacent aspects of the film were being pointed out:
At the end, the hosts did give a nod to the movie. King insisted it was important to recognize that the movie was made “before all these conspiracy theories.” Great, so out of a seven-minute segment trying to get Monteverde to claim the movie was based on a far right-wing conspiracy theories, a whopping 10 seconds was dedicated to agreeing the movie did a good thing by exposing the horrific child trafficking epidemic.
Honestly, the hosts should be embarrassed. They couldn’t get off the schtick that this movie was supported by “QAnon” and allowed it to essentially run and ruin the whole segment. Kudos to Monteverde for sharing the truth and holding his own.
If Mandelburg really thought the film was honest, she wouldn't be fighting so hard to bury the fact that both Ballard and Caviezel are very much QAnon-adjacent. She's definitely not showing any embarrassment over her deceit.