Bryan Cranston’s Tony Award speech: Demagoguery is real ‘enemy of the people’

Cranston won his second Tony Award for portraying Howard Beale in the play Network.

Bryan Cranston’s Tony Award speech: Demagoguery is real ‘enemy of the people’

CBS Photo Archive
/ Contributo
  • Cranston portrayed a news anchor going through a mental breakdown after nearly losing his career.
  • The play Network was an adaptation of the 1976 Oscar-winning film, written by Paddy Chayefsky.
  • President Donald Trump has regularly — and as recently as yesterday (June 9) — called the media the "enemy of the people."

Bryan Cranston won a Tony Award on Sunday for portraying a broadcast journalist in Network, a play adapted from the Oscar-winning 1976 film.

"Finally a straight, old, white man gets a break!" Cranston joked as he accepted the award, for which Adam Driver, Paddy Considine, Jeremy Pope, and Jeff Daniels were also nominated.

Network is a satire about ratings-driven media and, more broadly, corporate-human accountability. In the stage adaptation, Cranston portrayed Howard Beale, a longtime news anchor who learns that network executives plan to replace him due to poor ratings. Beale reacts by telling his live TV audience that he plans to kill himself during an upcoming broadcast. Ratings go up. Executives decide not to fire Beale.

The anchor starts angrily ranting against the ills of society in his regular segments. One of his main targets is the public's apathy and inaction: He challenges viewers to get off the couch, open their windows, and scream, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Cranston described Beale as a man in search of truth:

"Howard Beale is a fictitious TV newsman who found his way into the line of fire because of his pursuit of the truth, and I would like to dedicate this to all the real journalists around the world. . . in the print media and also broadcast media, who actually are in the line of fire with their pursuit of the truth."

The 63-year-old actor — who won his first Tony Award in 2014 for playing Lyndon B. Johnson in the play All the Way also took a swipe at the Trump administration.

"The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy of the people," Cranston said, referencing President Donald Trump's frequent assertion that the media is the "enemy of the people."

It's not the first time Cranston has criticized the president.

Paddy Chayefsky wrote Network in the 1970s, but its themes and subtext still resonate with audiences today, as Aaron Sorkin told the New York Times in 2011:

"If you put it in your DVD player today you'll feel like it was written last week," Sorkin said. "The commoditization of the news and the devaluing of truth are just a part of our way of life now. You wish Chayefsky could come back to life long enough to write 'The Internet.'"

Archaeologists identify contents of ancient Mayan drug containers

Scientists use new methods to discover what's inside drug containers used by ancient Mayan people.

A Muna-type paneled flask with distinctive serrated-edge decoration from AD 750-900.

Credit: WSU
Surprising Science
  • Archaeologists used new methods to identify contents of Mayan drug containers.
  • They were able to discover a non-tobacco plant that was mixed in by the smoking Mayans.
  • The approach promises to open up new frontiers in the knowledge of substances ancient people consumed.
Keep reading Show less

Why cities are critical to achieving a carbon-neutral world

In May 2018, the city of Paris set an ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

Photo by Rodrigo Kugnharski on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • Countries, governments and companies are aligning on a need for net-zero - and this is an opportunity to rethink decarbonizing our cities.
  • There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution – each city's needs must be at the heart of developing integrated energy solutions.
  • A city can only decarbonize through collaboration between government, the private sector, and local communities.
Keep reading Show less

Japanese government appoints new "Minister of Loneliness"

While not the first such minister, the loneliness epidemic in Japan will make this one the hardest working.

Minister Tetsushi Sakamoto

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Japanese government has appointed a Minister of Loneliness to implement policies designed to fight isolation and lower suicide rates.
  • They are the second country, after the U.K., to dedicate a cabinet member to the task.
  • While Japan is famous for how its loneliness epidemic manifests, it isn't alone in having one.
Keep reading Show less
Culture & Religion

How art and design can rebuild a community

MIT professor Azra Akšamija creates works of cultural resilience in the face of social conflict.

Quantcast