CBS This Morning on Thursday ignored the larger issue behind the blacklisting of a small Christian film that had its Oscar nomination revoked. Talking to Bruce Broughton, the man who wrote the title song for Alone Yet Not Alone, reporter Ben Tracy failed to wonder if there was a religious motive behind the controversial actions. On Wednesday, the film's nomination was stripped because Broughton, a former Academy official, had previously sent out a mild e-mail promoting the film.
Tracy noted that "Academy rules do not prohibit sending e-mails or even the more aggressive 'for your consideration' ads all over Hollywood this time of year." [MP3 audio here.] But during the segment, the journalist never considered other possibilities. The Washington Times's Vince Morton explained, "The film’s status as a small Christian film led Orthodox Christian film blogger Peter Chattaway to predict charges of religious persecution in the coming days, playing off the image of Hollywood as a liberal bastion hostile to Christianity."
According to Entertainment Weekly, only six other films have had their nominations revoked in the Academy's history.
The religious blog site Patheos.com questioned:
Would the Academy have rescinded the nomination if the film were better-known or better-connected, and not an obscure Christian independent film (let alone an independent film that openly associates itself with social-conservative, religious-right types)?
The movie has been endorsed by prominent conservatives not well liked by liberal Hollywood, such as Rick Santorum and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
Yet, Tracy avoided this angle and only questioned Broughton on the insinuation of improper lobbying for the movie.
Talking to the Hollywood Reporter, the songwriter explained:
I’m devastated. I indulged in the simplest grassroots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention. I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them. I simply asked people to find the song and consider it.
Even the co-hosts of This Morning didn't buy the Academy's reason to strip the nomination.
Gayle King lamented, "I don't understand the kerfuffle for him, considering how we see some people really relentlessly campaign." Charlie Rose noted, "I thought they all relentlessly campaign." Norah O'Donnell agreed, "Yeah, lobby. That's part of it."
In another story, the Hollywood Reporter pointed out that Alone Yet Not Alone has also run afoul of an activist Native American organization:
Alone Yet Not Alone is based on a true story about two sisters captured by hostile American Indians around 1755. Since the song's nomination, some are attacking the film for its negative portrayal of Native Americans. "They give out Oscars for racism now?" asks the website NativeAppropriations.com, for example.
Considering all the religious and political attacks on the film, Tracy could have at least wondered if the movie's politically incorrect nature led to Wednesday's actions.