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Kevin Spacey defends how “House of Cards” portrays Washington, to Washington crowd

Kevin Spacey’s fictional Democratic Whip Francis Underwood in the Netflix series "House of Cards" isn’t much like real Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. But the two have become chummy -- and engaged in an honest exchange about the show's portrayal of politics at a Motion Picture Association of America event in Washington on Tuesday night.

Despite their relationship, the actual whip critiqued Spacey’s show when the event's host, NBC's Chris Matthews, gave him the opportunity to ask Hoyer if he had any questions for “the man who’s pillorying your career.” “One of the phrases that I hate the most is when people say ‘well, that’s politics,’” Hoyer said, “and your show is a lot about, ‘well, that’s politics.’” People already have an unfairly negative view of politics, Hoyer explained, and “House of Cards” plays into a nihilistic and venal portrait of politics that goes farther than reality.

Spacey acknowledged the point, but chalked it up to the medium, noting that Hollywood makes plenty of movies about the film business than are grimmer than Hollywood really is. That’s drama.

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