The renewed attention on media bias since the Washington Post cartoon about Ted Cruz’s children reminded me of Kyle Smith’s December 14, 2015, review of Bridge of Lies in Commentary.
Smith writes that Hollywood loves “based on a true story” scripts for their emotional draw and their putative lessons about our society. But all too often those lessons really aren’t what Leftist Hollywood wants them to be, so movie makers change the facts to comport with their view of the world.
Smith describes how several Oscar-hopefuls amended reality to fit the liberal narrative. Imitation Game is based on the life of Englishman Alan Turing, a genuine hero of the Western world whose decryption work at Bletchley Park was indispensable to winning WWII and the creation of the computer age.
The true story is that in 1952 Turing reported a burglary to the police, but lied about some details to hide his homosexual relationship. As the police investigated and the inconsistencies became apparent, Turing ultimately admitted the truth. He was convicted of gross indecency and chemically castrated. It was terrible, barbaric and unjust treatment of a national and civlizational hero.
But the writers of Imitation Game, felt compelled to hide that Turing lied to police. Instead, they invented a Soviet spy ring that blackmailed Turing with his sexual preference.
Turing no doubt felt compelled to lie about his sexuality due to the laws and social norms of the time and in the circles where he traveled. The tension between being true to himself and hiding to conform and keep his station is a worthwhile topic. But Hollywood needed an unblemished martyr.
In Kill The Messenger, Gary Webb gets the hero treatment for his articles in the San Jose Mercury claiming the CIA was responsible for the crack epidemic in California. According to Smith, Kill the Messenger portrays Webb as “a martyr to the truth undone by jealous rivals rather than his own egregiously flawed work.”
In real life, Webb’s work has been widely discredited, as he overstated his meager evidence and exaggerated the implications of what he actually had. But admitting this reality undermines the Leftist conspiracy theory that the government (and the satanic CIA no less!) is culpable for urban drug abuse.
In Trumbo, Dalton Trumbo is imprisoned and blackballed from Hollywood after admitting to being a Communist in a great oratory before The House Un-American Activities Committee. In reality, Trumbo was called before HUAC and immunized, meaning that he faced no consequences for answering questions and was not entitled to assert his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. Trumbo nevertheless refused to answer questions and was convicted of contempt of Congress.
A film about a craven refusing to answer questions before Congress is not compelling; a film about government persecution of a man for speaking his beliefs is. So reality changes.
Hollywood knows that changing one fact or one part of a story can have a huge impact on history’s lessons. The public revolt against West Germany’s conservative government that birthed Germany’s current progressivism began when a policeman named Karl-Heinz Kurras shot unarmed protester Benno Ohnesorg in 1967. The image of this establishment brute murdering progressive youth drove a movement.But it was a set-up. In 2009, Kurras was revealed as an agent for East Germany’s notorious secret police, the Stasi. The New York Times reported:
It is as if the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard had been committed by an undercover K.G.B. officer, though the reverberations in Germany seemed to have run deeper.
“It makes a hell of a difference whether John F. Kennedy was killed by just a loose cannon running around or a Secret Service agent working for the East,” said Stefan Aust, the former editor in chief of the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel. “I would never, never, ever have thought that this could be true.”
And that’s the point. Hollywood is going back in time and transmogrifying history into perfect leftist morality plays. If this reminds you of the Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, you’re not far off.DONATE
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