Entertainment Gone Awry

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

What’s Hollywood to Do?

Over the last eight years we saw Fahrenheit 911SyrianaRedacted,RenditionStop LossLions for LambsIn the Valley of Elah, and a host of other movies released about the U.S. war on terror and the Iraqi conflict. The general theme was that George Bush lied and so destroyed the Constitution and put us into Iraq, where we are waging an amoral war, among other unmentionables.

Are there additional such movies in the pipeline? After all, U.S. policy under President Obama has largely adhered to the Petraeus/Bush plan in Iraq; Obama actually accelerated operations in Afghanistan where losses are spiking. Renditions and tribunals continue. So do Predator strikes, as well as wiretaps and intercepts. Guantanamo, while not in the daily news as before, remains open. Have suddenly, say, between November 2008 and today, the above policies changed in any measurable manner, or, was the furor simply that the policies per se were never the problem, just the person who implemented and oversaw them? Take him away, and presto, the same policies become fine — and thus no longer warrant the best and brightest in Hollywood to offer much needed exposés?

All of which poses the question: What is Hollywood to do now? Do a hit piece on Panetta’s CIA? Obama and the new opium war in Afghanistan? Robert Gates’s unlawful Pentagon? The back-room deals of Hillary Clinton at State? In nine months, we went from lions to lambs?

First Stones

There was a quite tough “I accuse” column by Maureen Dowd on the hypocrisy of Republicans who talk of morals and then prove to be captives of their all-too-real appetites. Fair enough. Some of her examples do juxtapose sermonizing with womanizing, and score points. But . . . wait: Who will police the police?

This moralist, I think, is the same journalistic scold who only recently in another hit piece clearly plagiarized a paragraph from another writer and then when caught (remember, the cover-up is always worse than the crime) in weird Mark Sanford-like rambling fashion pleaded that she had only inadvertently stolen it from an unidentified correspondent, who in turn had first lifted it from someone else (e.g., “I was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing who suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent — and I assumed spontaneous — way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column”). Sort of like the purchaser of a fenced TV pleading that she’s innocent since she didn’t steal the set herself. If the hypocritical sin of the pious politician is adultery, then surely its moral counterpart for the journalist is intellectual theft followed by a refusal to ‘fess up when caught.

©2009 Victor Davis Hanson

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