This week’s Mainstream Media Scream features a classless effort by ABC to trap “9 to 5” star Dolly Parton into saying something bad about President Trump, even after she said “I don’t do politics.”
In the end Parton won and kept true to her policy of keeping “your damn mouth shut if you want to stay in show business.”
It occurred Thursday on Nightline when ABC’s David Wright tried to get Parton to denounce Trump in an interview, an episode devoted to “Icons of Change” and pegged to Parton’s “Imagination Library” providing children’s books to the Library of Congress.
Wright played video of Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda, who co-starred with Parton in “9 to 5,” denouncing President Trump at the Emmy Awards.
(Fonda: “Back in 1980, that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”
(Tomlin: “And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”)
ABC then showed Parton cautioning Wright: “I’m not being political. I don’t do politics. I’m not getting into any of that. Because I have a lot of fans out there and I don’t want to offend anybody. And besides, I don’t get into that. And so, if you are deciding, you may want to ask me something more serious, don’t. Because I’m not going to answer it.
Dolly Parton, left, stands with actress Megan Hilty, during a news conference for the new musical "9 To 5" in New York, Tuesday, July 15 , 2008. Hilty portrays the sexy executive secretary character Parton played in the 1980 film. Actress Allison Janney, pictures back right, is also in the musical. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Wright, lightheartedly: “Fair warning. Okay. I’m duly warned, I might still ask.”
Parton: “Well, you can ask, but I might still tell you where to put it if I don’t like where you got it.”
Clip of Jane Fonda in the 9 to 5 movie: “You’re a sexist, egotistical lying hypocritical bigot.”
Wright pursued the sentiment: “The sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot portrayed so effectively in that movie by actor Dabney Coleman hasn’t exactly disappeared from the culture.”
Wright zeroed in on Trump, asking Parton: “We have a president of the United States who said those things on that bus.”
Parton resisted: “I’m not addressing that. I do not get into that. Of course I have my opinion about everybody and everything. But I learned a long time ago, keep your damn mouth shut if you want to stay in show business. I’m not in politics. I’m an entertainer.”
Wright gently pressed: “And yet, you’re also a role model.”
Parton: “Yes, I am. That’s why I don’t talk about people.”
Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker explains our weekly pick: “Wright recognized he was going where Parton didn’t want to go, and took Parton’s warning with good humor, but he, nonetheless, couldn’t help himself from using a segment about a good cause – free books for little kids – to try to get a celebrity to denounce President Trump. Parton showed true class in demurring.”
Rating: Three out of five screams.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com