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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hollywood's War on America

Hollywood's war on America may have claimed its first two casualties with the murder of two US airmen in Germany by a Muslim terrorist who was inspired by the Koran, and apparently by a clip from Brian DePalma's movie, Redacted.

This isn't the first time the news-entertainment complex has manufactured its own fake atrocity porn with ugly results. In 2005, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff ran a fake report about Gitmo personnel flushing a Koran down the toilet. Muslims reacted with their usual violent restraint, rioting, burning and generally running amok. One of the perpetrators of the 2005 London bombing was reportedly influenced by that story. That would make it the first news article to have killed over 50 people.

In 2004, the Boston Globe was so desperate for anti-war porn in the wake of Abu Ghraib, that it published photos of US soldiers raping Iraqi women that they got from the Nation of Islam. In reality the photos were pornographic fakes, but the Globe went ahead and ran them even though they had already been exposed as fakes.

And before Piers Morgan was picked by CNN as Larry King's replacement, he was working as the editor of the Daily Mirror, and in that capacity he published more fake photos of UK soldiers torturing Iraqis. That got him fired from the Daily Mirror, but made him amply qualified for a high profile hosting gig at CNN, which suffers from even lower standards than the UK's trashiest tabloid.

The rash of fake abuse photos in 2004-2005, in the wake of Abu Ghraib, showed the media's greed for defamatory materials aimed at Coalition soldiers. While the media was busy reproducing enemy propaganda, the men they were targeting were dying in record numbers. While the Globe, Newsweek and the Mirror were fishing for smears, in those two years alone over 1,600 soldiers died in attacks. And while there is no way to measure the impact that the media's fake news stories had on casualties, there is no serious doubt that terrorist recruiters found such stories useful. While the media made a great show of outrage over Terry Jones' plan to burn a Koran, charging him with having the blood of soldiers on his hands, the media has always been eager to sell true or fake atrocity porn, without regard for how much blood they have on their hands.

But when fake news stories wouldn't do, there were always movies. More anti-war movies have been made by Hollywood during the War on Terror, than were made throughout the entire Vietnam War. As it stands now, there has not been a single movie made about the War in Iraq that positively depicts American soldiers and their mission. Instead movie after movie has portrayed US troops as monsters (The Valley of Elah), rapists and butchers (Redacted) working for a secret military-industrial complex (Body of Lies, The Green Zone) or violent headcases (Stop Loss, Harsh Times, American Dreamz, Hurt Locker). Hollywood has been less willing to attack the War in Afghanistan, instead it ignores it.

There is no precedent for such a campaign of defamation by a country's entertainment industry against its fighting men and women. No precedent for a movie industry that consistently makes movies in which Americans are the bad guys and its enemies are the good guys.

It took Hollywood five years to begin making a few obligatory TV shows and movies about 9/11, e.g. (World Trade Center, United 93 and Path to 9/11), but only 2 years later, HBO had already thrown together Strip Search, a TV movie in which a devout Muslim is abused by a female American interrogator. As always Hollywood had its priorities in order, and the media-entertainment complex's first priority was to bash America.

Redacted was distributed by Magnolia Pictures which had gone into the business of distributing movies that attacked or undermined America's war against terror. From Control Room (2004), a piece of shameless Al Jazeera propaganda to Only Human (2004), Voices of Iraq (2004), The War Within (2005) and No End in Sight (2007) (not to mention Jesus Camp). It's an impressive record. Almost as impressive as Warner Independent Pictures which distributed Paradise Now (2005), an ugly work of terrorist moral equivocation, Good Night and Good Luck (2005), In the Valley of Elah (2005) and Towelhead (2007).

Warner Independent Pictures is a subsidiary of Warner Bros, which is a subsidiary of Time Warner, a company that includes both news and entertainment divisions. While one arm of the behemoth distributes fictional movies that take shots at America, its other arms distribute news magazines like Time Magazine and a global news network like CNN. And both its fiction and non-fiction arms share the same perspective.

The merger of news companies with film and television media has created a news-entertainment complex, giant entities like Time Warner, Newscorp or Comcast's NBC Universal, which have a common viewpoint that runs across all its properties. Much of the media's bias can be attributed to a corporate culture whose political orientation spills into the content side of the business. That mandatory liberalism, with its breathy radicalism, has made patriotism into an extinct species within the news-entertainment complex. It also means that the same agenda moves across hundreds of magazines, books, newspapers, cable channels, movies and news programs. An agenda that does not distinguish between fact and fiction.

Hollywood is only one leg of a global empire. And even though Americans have rejected the long line of anti-war movies cranked out by its studios, they have made plenty of money overseas. As the foreign box office grows, the studios orient themselves toward a new environment becoming American in name only. American actors lend their talents to Anti-American movies made in the Muslim world, as Billy Zane, Spencer Garrett and Gary Busey (playing an evil eye stealing Jewish doctor) did in Valley of the Wolves. American exceptionalism is stripped out of even such iconically American products as GI Joe and Superman, with Truth, Justice and the American Way, becoming just Truth and Justice, a telling commentary on Hollywood's view of America.   

Americans get their news and entertainment from multinational corporations which just happen to be headquartered in the United States. But they won't always be. Until recently two of the big six movie studios were actually foreign owned without any noticeable change in the product. Not that there would be. All the major media conglomerates have worldwide interests and television networks and movie releases around the world. America is just another market to them. The Hollywood movie studios created by entrepreneurs have long ago become development farms for recognizable brands. They dabble in anti-war movies in between turning everything from the Smurfs to Battleship into movies.

The television networks which were born out of electronics companies like GE, Westinghouse and the DuMont Network, are now in the hands of many of the same media conglomerates. As cable providers buy up cable and television networks, they turn into amorphous corporate monsters wielding a portfolio of familiar brands. Those monsters will sooner or later be bought up by Chinese or Middle Eastern companies which have the capital and need someplace to put it. The mass mergers are economically unsustainable. Time Warner nearly destroyed itself with its AOL merger. But the Comcast purchase of NBC Universal is more of the same. Content companies are tying themselves to cable's business model. And when the implosion comes, the only ones with enough money to clean up the mess will be China and Russia's post-Communist tycoons or the Gulf royal families, if they're still around by then.

But the media culture of the news-entertainment complex will hardly need to change at all. The hostility toward America and the sympathy toward terrorists that is openly practiced by the complex's personnel is only a shadow of the real thing. It is their public mask. Underneath that mask, it gets even uglier. Call it the Al-Jazeeration of American news and entertainment. Even a propaganda film from a Muslim country like Valley of the Wolves is not significantly more anti-American than the offerings from the domestic movie industry. And Al-Jazeera has not become any more moderate, but it looks more mainstream because its American and UK counterparts have gotten to be just as bad.

The Globe, Newsweek and Mirror incidents show that even if Abu Ghraib had never existed, they would have had to manufacture it. Just as the constant drumbeat of lies about Guantanamo Bay were manufactured and distributed over and over again. Redacted manufactured such atrocities for entertainment, and then those atrocities were repackaged by terrorist recruiters for distribution across sites such as YouTube, stripped of their attribution and treated as actual events. But you can hardly condemn them, when after all mainstream media outlets had already done the same thing.

Arid Uka would no doubt have tried to kill Americans even if Brian DePalma had never soiled paper with pen, and then tried to put it all on film. While Hollywood's narratives have an undeniable power, the Koran has sold far more copies than Avatar. And if Mohammed still had the copyright, it would have made more money too. Scraps of footage from movies like Redacted come in handy, for when the Turkish film industry just can't turn them out fast enough, but their most damaging impact is on Westerners who accept the worldview of the fictional narratives. A worldview in which Westerners are the villains and Muslims are the victims.

During WW2, English radio listeners could tune in to hear Lord Haw Haw spew Nazi propaganda at them. But today there would be little difference between Lord Haw Haw and the BBC. Indeed it was the BBC that spawned Al Jazeera. And during WW2, Hollywood not only took a generally patriotic line, it kept it up even during the occupation for the most part (movies like A Foreign Affair were an exception, and The Americanization of Emily could only be made in the uglier sixties.) The shift is a dramatically ugly one and underlying it is an identity shift.

The American elites see themselves as multinational, citizens of the world, who happen to be stuck in a country filled with ignorant jingoists who believe in Creationism and Nationalism, and don't drink Fair Trade coffee. Their movies and their reporting reflect their mindset. They don't like America very much, or the idea of nations at all. Instead they look forward to a better world in which we all live in between borders. They resent the War on Terror for poisoning the image of Americans abroad and have rushed to be in the vanguard of denouncing and undermining their own country. Their war on America is born of equal parts detachment and self-hatred. And when that war claims American lives, as it may have in Frankfurt, they feel no guilt for it. Perhaps even a species of triumph, of the sort felt by vicarious Keffiyah wearers, when the real deal blow up a bus or a humvee, at striking a blow at the American Empire.

11 comments:

"Lemon Lime Moon" said...

"American elites see themselves as multinational, citizens of the world, who happen to be stuck in a country filled with ignorant jingoists who believe in Creationism and Nationalism, and don't drink Fair Trade coffee"

Yes and so they elected a President of the World too. He fits right in with them.
In a while all this will self destruct.
It is self destructive just as Hollywood type people are.

HermitLion said...

I believe you can add Jarhead to the list of films that portray American soldiers as violent brutes, some of them bordering on mental disability.

"America is just another market to them"
I'd say that this would make companies pander to that market's views, rather than try to impose foreign ones on it, no? There's simply too much hate to attribute this cultural phenomena to economics alone.

And it's how those 'citizens of the world' are actually just 'citizens of the upper-class world'.
They exist as a layer on top of the nations that they hate, and should these nations fall, their fate would not be much better.
Supporting Barbarians doesn't make you cosmopolitan. It doesn't even take you off their death list.
All it means is that you've switched sides, while still enjoying a privileged life amongst those you betrayed.

Edgar Davidson said...

Great analysis as usual, but one 'correction' and one 'omission' worth noting:

The correction: You say "There is no precedent for such a campaign of defamation by a country's entertainment industry against its fighting men and women." Actually there is. The Israeli film industry has been doing it against the IDF since 1981 - and much more ferociously than Hollywood.

The omission: Since you mention the lack of enthusiasm from Hollywood for films about 9/11, I think it is very important to note that there has been plenty of enthusiasm from Hollywood for films about terrorism is which the terrorists are inevitably 'right-wing' whites, Eastern Europeans or basically anything but Muslims. Moreover, in most of these films there is inevitably either a Muslim who is the hero or a Muslim who turns out to be wrongly assumed to have been a terrorist.

Flightpath

noboat1 said...

"American elites see themselves as multinational, citizens of the world, who happen to be stuck in a country filled with ignorant jingoists who believe in Creationism and Nationalism, and don't drink Fair Trade coffee"

Ron Schiller and Betsy Liley of NPR certainly lived up to that statement in a video posted at Atlasshrugs and JihadWatch yesterday. Everybody should watch it, Schiller clearly reinforces your belief Daniel. I have to say that I felt very angry after watching it, but I did learn that sedition could be bought for 5 million dollars.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

HermitLion, true it's just set in the Gulf War so I skipped it. If we go back to the Gulf War, the picture isn't quite as grim, but still mostly negative.

Edgar, yes the Israeli film industry is pretty bad. Maybe even worse. It's not a precedent though, it's the same thing. Ditto in England. First world countries defaming the fight against terrorism.

noboat1, it could be given away for free too.

I would still like to see an experiment in which the producer of a major news network is offered an exclusive on a 9/11 type attack by terrorists on the condition that he doesn't inform the government.

John K said...

Wow! I knew Hollywood was slanted, but I had no idea it was this bad.

I grew up on WWII movies. While I don't care to look at the killing much anymore, I still have fond memories of the way Hollywood supported us as our nation fought "The Last Good War".

Westernist said...

Did the Allies commit war crimes? Did Allied troops rape German and Japanese women and kill them point blank?

Looking back we only talk about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and less about Dresden. We're still debating if it was necessary but the bottom line is that we don't spill much ink over it. History is already written. Apart from these three major events, we would never, ever consider the possibility that the Allies might have been war criminals too. This is a non-sequitur, we ignore it and we move on.

We should treat this war the same. Yes, there are bad apples within our armies and they should be expunged. Some other times it's necessary to play rough since our opponents are more likely to understand force than anything else. But war is hell. These things have happened, are happening and will keep happening in wars. We did not start this war. We did not draw first blood. We should hold our troops to the idealized, high standards we do with the Allied powers.

DP111 said...

I think the rot set in during the Vietnam war. That war saw the West retreating to its own redoubt, and from there it has been retreat all the time. Even Reagan or a successful Gulf War I did not stop the rot.

Thankfully, we are getting near the bottom. Once riots due to food shortages created by lack of cheap energy, coupled with expensive or lack of energy to keep warm, hits Joe Public, the worm will turn.

Our politicians, you know those men of the people who keep their ears close to the ground and sense the mood of the people - well they are buying bomb and bullet proof cars on the taxpayers dime.

Anonymous said...

Edgar Davidson writes, "Moreover, in most of these films there is inevitably either a Muslim who is the hero or a Muslim who turns out to be wrongly assumed to have been a terrorist."

That certainly is becoming the common meme not just in today's movies but in popular US TV shows. "24" was a classic case in which, after one early season arc in which Muslims *were* involved, all subsequent ones showed Arabs and Muslims either as saps for the *real* folks behind the terror (inevitably white industrialists or government officials) or as heroes. Most recently, it was seen on ABC's "Castle" -generally a wonderful show - in which Syrian-American Muslims are framed for a planned dirty bomb attack by (wait for it) three US Special Forces guys.

Keli Ata said...

It doesn't surprise me that Hollywood hasn't slammed the war in Afghanistan. As I recall, their darling president Obama in a debate said the war should focus more on terrorists in Afghanistan and that we should get our troops out of Iraq.

Do you have any thoughts on the movie Valkyrie? I just bought the DVD and frankly loved the movie. Though after watching it four or more times to figure out what was going I read some stuff online; people saying the German resistence is a myth.

The failed attempt on Hitler by Stauffenberg seemed straightforward. The really interesting part was how Hitler's inner circle (the German resistence) were able to modify Operation Valkyrie to exclude the SS as being in control if Hitler was killed or otherwise out of commission.

The Stauffenberg plan, according to the movie, was to convince the German Reserve Army that the SS killed Hitler as a coup to gain power.

The theory was that the reserve army, who like many Germans were loyal to Hitler would be furious with the SS and battle against them.


Since the attempt to kill Hitler failed and a guy named Fromm refused to go along with the media reports of Hitler's death without confirmation nothing happened. Stauffenberg et al could have pulled it off were it not for Fromm instituting operation Valkyrie without confirmation of Hitler's death.

Anyway, have you seen the movie?

Another OT thought--I really didn't pay much attention to the whole Rachel Corrie thing until recently. The pictures are so staged it's unbelievable. Not just the two separate bulldozers taken earlier in the day, but the ones of Corrie once she was hit.

In one picture Corrie is lying in a path of dirt with the bulldozer behind her. In another she's in front of a pile of what looks like straw.

The ISM has taken their lead from the Arabs.

More on topic--it is alarming that Muslims are funding MAJOR films in the US with extensive promotion. Miral will be devastating to Israelis.

Where are the pro Israel film makers in the US to counter movies like Miral?

Sorry for the lengthy comment. I've been away for a while.

Anonymous said...

the emphasis is wrong here...the Jewish hating gays are the ones behind the anti American push...and who will get the blame for this betrayal? the Jew...and can anything be worse than a traitor? the gay agenda...

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