When world famous author and socialist Upton Sinclair swept the Democratic primary for governor of California in August 1934--leading a massive grassroots movement--it provoked Hollywood's first all-out plunge into politics. The First Attack Ads: Hollywood vs. Upton Sinclair explores how Sinclair's inspiring End Poverty in California movement was destroyed by powerful business and political forces, with most of the Hollywood moguls lending a hand.

This is the first film to focus on revered MGM producer Irving Thalberg’s creation of the first "attack ads" to appear on a screen, a forerunner of today's media-based politics. The First Attack Ads shows how the 1934 race marked the rise of "spin doctors," false or manipulated news, and modern campaign techniques that will continue to dominate political campaigning in 2022 and beyond.