Washington (CNSNews.com) - Hollywood celebrities attending the 89th annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington on Saturday night made it a point to condemn celebrity anti-war activists.
Actor Kelsey Grammer, who plays the lead role in NBC's "Frasier" sitcom, said he refused to watch this year's Academy Awards because of the anti-war "crap" that fellow celebrities spewed.
Grammer said he was spared filmmaker Michael Moore's anti-war acceptance speech and attack on the Bush administration at the March 23rd Academy Awards. "I didn't hear it because I didn't watch [the Academy Awards], Grammer told CNSNews.com.
"I wasn't interested. I knew that that kind of crap was going to be there and I thought, I am not interested," Grammer added.
While accepting an Oscar for his anti-gun documentary "Bowling For Columbine," Moore said, "We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons...Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you."
Grammer called Moore's movie "a one-sided film" and blamed the media for giving so much publicity to Moore's anti-war speech.
"The media just loves to pay attention to whatever is happening that makes the most noise," Grammer explained.
Jason Priestley of "Beverly Hills 90210" television fame, agreed with Grammer and lamented the excessive coverage of anti-war celebrities by what he termed the "liberal media."
"I think more people should keep their opinions to themselves," Priestley said. He was particularly incensed by Moore's acceptance speech.
"It was shocking. I did not believe that was the forum to voice your opinions. Michael Moore is allowed to have opinions and his opinions are valid like everyone else's opinion, but I just didn't think the Academy Awards were the place to voice them in that manner," he explained.
'Keep their mouths shut'
Actor Robert Duvall said he is not a fan of Michael Moore, and he lashed out at Hollywood political activists.
"They should keep their mouths shut," Duvall said.
Asked if the media over-emphasizes celebrity opinions, actor Ron Silver emphatically agreed.
"I do, because at the end of the day, who cares? There are more important things on the table. But if they wanted to use Natalie Maines (of the Dixie Chicks) or Tim Robbins or me, or whomever, that is their business," Silver said.
Silver, a cofounder of the Creative Coalition, a generally liberal Hollywood activist organization, was an ardent supporter of the war in Iraq.
Asked if he has received any flak from other celebrities such as fellow Creative Coalition founder Susan Sarandon for his outspoken support of the war, Silver quipped, "Absolutely none, absolutely none, we just don't talk anymore."
Silver also dismissed Moore's acceptance speech,, saying, "I don't listen to Michael Moore...I didn't agree with him."
Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton defended the media's continuous coverage of celebrity activism.
"Hollywood celebrities generate millions of fans. I don't think that's overindulgence, I think that that is appropriate to those that have widespread appeal to be given widespread coverage," Sharpton said.
Steve Doocy, anchor of the FOX News Channel's morning program "Fox and Friends," said media focus on celebrity activism is helping to hold Hollywood accountable.
"In the past, Hollywood celebrities have never been held accountable for some of their kind of kooky ideas that aren't in line with the balance of America," Doocy said.
Andrew Firestone, the star of ABC's current reality series "The Bachelor," said he feels uncomfortable with entertainers using their celebrity status to promote their political views.
"I personally feel as though you speak about what you know. I would never want to be in a position to abuse the position I am in, in order to put my opinions across," Firestone said.
"We have to remember that actors are actors, and elected leaders are elected leaders," he added.
Trista Rehn, ABC's former "Bachelorette," thinks the media should focus on celebrity political activists.
"That is the media's job, it is to focus on people's opinions and what is going on in society and I think we place celebrities up on a pedestal, so people want to know what they think," Rehn said.
'Dirty, dirty, dirty'
The journalists assembled at the dinner generally praised themselves for a job well done on the recent war coverage, but there were exceptions.
Cyber journalist Matt Drudge was happy about CNN executive Eason Jordan's recent confession that the network withheld many details of Saddam Hussein's atrocities over the last ten years to protect its news sources in Iraq. CNN has come under fire by many media critics for censoring the news in exchange for continued access to Iraq under Hussein's former government.
"I am glad they are coming clean. I am waiting for the other networks to come clean," Drudge said. "I am waiting for the other newspapers to come clean. This town is dirty, dirty, dirty and CNN confessing is a nice start," he said.
Sharpton believes the American public did not get the full truth about the war from the media.
"I think media ought to cover everything on both sides. I think that there was some media that didn't say all they knew about Saddam [Hussein] and I think others have not said all they knew on the United States military side. I think both acted irresponsibly," Sharpton said.
CNN's Bob Franken did not like FOX News's use of the phrase "we" when covering the U.S. armed forces during the war.
"I disagree with the FOX approach to it. I believe it was jingoistic, but that's their approach to it. They would disagree with me, I suspect," Franken told CNSNews.com.
"We have to be remember and even those of us who are in the embed [program] have to remember, it is 'they,' not 'we'. It's just an important distinction. We serve our country by doing that," Franken explained.
The embed program allowed journalists to travel with pre-assigned military units in order to give the public a more authentic feel for the war.
Franken noted the fierceness of cable news competition and complimented the other news channels on their war coverage.
"The cable wars, I am sort of uncomfortable with them. I congratulate FOX, I thought that they did a very nice job, so did MSNBC, so did we," he said.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer praised the Pentagon's embed program.
"The embed process, I thought, worked excellent...I think it helped the journalists, I think it helped the pentagon, but most important, it helped the American public to understand what was going on," Blitzer said.
CBS corespondent Bill Plante was more cautious about the embed program.
"I think it worked well in this war, but it only gives you a very small picture from the point of each embed. You need the big picture as well as the little picture," Plante said.
"I hope [the Pentagon] continues it, but I hope they don't try to make it the only view of the war," he added.
President Bush addressed the White House correspondents' dinner and also lauded the embed program. Bush said journalists got a first-hand look at the "skill and bravery and decency" of soldiers, while military personnel "gained a greater respect for the journalists traveling with them, who showed a tenacity and courage of their own."
Many Iraq war combat veterans as well as members of Congress and the President's cabinet attended the press dinner, which was held at the Washington Hilton.
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