American conservatives are forever whinging about "liberal Hollywood," but really they have only themselves to blame.

When they were in the cultural ascendancy back in the 1940s-50s, they used their power — through groups such as the MPA (Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals), The American Legion and the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) — to pressure the studios into creating blacklists that essentially ended the careers of anyone who had communist or even vaguely liberal views, or knew somebody who did.

One such victim of the blacklist was screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was hauled before the HUAC to be quizzed on his political activities and combatively invoked his First Amendment rights, only to wind up doing jail time for contempt of Congress. Once he got out, he had a family to support, so Trumbo devised some devious ways to write scripts under pseudonyms and skirt the blacklist.