Liberal Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich Discusses Fox News Job, Violence in Media
The progressive mainstay, who retired after 15 years in the House of Representatives, spoke to THR about his unlikely new role.
Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was among his own on Sunday night, as a guest at a coalition of environmental advocates' Green Inaugural Ball. Held at the Newseum on Capitol Hill, the event featured leaders of the green movement; a perfunctory, one-song performance by will.i.am, who sang “I've Got a Feeling” and left the stage; actors Jeffrey Wright, Tate Donovan and musician Mayer Hawthorne; and a surprise fired-up speech by Vice President Joe Biden.
Retiring from the House of Representatives after 15 years, Kucinich has been one of Congress' most outspoken liberals, an antiwar activist and social justice crusader. He recently signed on to be a contributor to Fox News, a seemingly incongruous match -- something he discussed with The Hollywood Reporter at the event.
The Hollywood Reporter: What have you been up to in the weeks that you've been retired?
Dennis Kucinich: I'm taking the time to plan my future, talking to friends and basically taking the time to craft a really great future for my wife and I, and also looking toward ways that I might be able to play a positive role in things that concern the American public.
THR: You're going to do some TV, right?
Kucinich: I'm going to do some TV, yes. The Fox Network has invited me to be a contributor. I'm happy for that opportunity, and I'll continue to express a point of view that many of my supporters are already familiar with.
THR: That point of view may not necessarily be the generally accepted Fox News point of view. Do you anticipate any trouble?
Kucinich: In the last 10 years, I have been on Fox many, many times. And I know the people, I have a working relationship, we've had an energetic exchange of views, and we shall continue to do so.
THR: What does a contributor role look like? How often will you be on?
Kucinich: I'm like a utility infielder, so I'll be on there once in a while.
THR: We just saw will.i.am perform, and he's been an advocate for Obama, as have many celebrities. Do you find that celebrity advocates for different causes are helpful, or distractions?
Kucinich: I have a very close relationship with actors and actresses, directors and producers and support throughout Hollywood. I believe that you have some of the most creative people in the world who work in Hollywood, and they're people whose point of view is very important in the world. And any time that I get a chance to help people communicate that point of view, it's a privilege to do so. I count many friends in the Hollywood community, and what I've found is people with great depth, who are caring and who care about the world. So I've always celebrated the close connection that I've had with the Hollywood community, and will continue to do so. I appreciate Hollywood, and I'm grateful for the support I've received. In 2004, Hollywood rallied behind my presidential candidacy right at the beginning, and gave me a level of support that was quite helpful. So I'm very grateful, and I look forward to renewing my friendships out there now that I have more time.
THR: President Obama recommended giving $10 million to the CDC to study the impact of violence in the media as part of the gun control package. Do you think those images are part of what causes gun violence?
Kucinich: The issue of violence in our society runs very deep. We have to first examine why people are afraid. We have to recognize that people want to protect themselves, their family and their property. We have to recognize there's a certain mistrust of government. And all of that is pouring into the resistance to any kind of change. So until we do that level of analysis, it's going to be very different to be able to come up with any solution. Now I've come out, years ago, for a proposal for a cabinet-level Department of Peace, which is now called the Department of Peace-Building.
We have to go back to the home, the family unit, the work unit, in order to enable people to re-create a peaceful environment, where we engage in peace-giving and peace-sharing and mutuality, looking at the other person as an aspect of ourselves, where we teach children principles of peace in the home and at school; where we help families who are having difficulties with violence, domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse. There's a whole symptomatology of violence in society, and you can't just put it off on one segment. There's something that runs deeper, that we need a much deeper conversation about, and Hollywood could certainly have a part in that.