Hollywood and the war machine

December 23, 2010 § 4 Comments

Empire examines the symbiotic relationship between the movie industry and the military-industrial complex.

 

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§ 4 Responses to Hollywood and the war machine

  • FromSouth says:

    And to think that the greatest war movie made recently was Avatar.
    If only the people at the wrong side of a barrel were 10 feet tall and blue, maybe the message would go all they through and Americas wars would finally become unacceptable.

    Nevertheless, it goes to show what feat is that of James Cameron. He really redeemed himself from making the Titanic.

  • Jim says:

    This excellent programme adds new substance to an article exposing how George Bush’s wartime administration used a magician, Hollywood designers and Karl Rove telling 1,001 stories to sell the invasion of Iraq.

    Christian Salmon who wrote Storytelling, la machine à fabriquer des histoires, La Découverte, Paris, 2007
    “The US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 provided a spectacular illustration of the White House’s desire to create its own reality. Pentagon departments, keen not to repeat the mistakes of the first Gulf war in 1991, paid particular attention to their communications strategy. As well as 500 embedded journalists integrated into sections of the armed services, great attention was paid to the design of the press room at US forces headquarters in Qatar: for a million dollars, a storage hangar was transformed into an ultramodern television studio with stage, plasma screens and all the electronic equipment needed to produce videos, geographic maps and diagrams for real time combat.”

    The above fact is elaborated upon by former CentCom spokesman Capt. (Rtd) Josh Rushing in his book Mission Al Jazeera.

    Salmon further refers to a scene in which the US army spokesman, General Tommy Franks, addressed journalists cost $200,000 was produced by a designer who had worked for Disney, Metro Goldwyn Mayer and the television programme Good Morning America. In 2001 the White House had put him in charge of creating background designs for presidential speeches – unsurprising to those aware of the ties between the Pentagon and Hollywood.

    Scott Sforza, a former ABC TV producer who worked within the Republican propaganda machine, created many backgrounds against which Bush made important statements during his terms of office. On 1 May 2003 he stage-managed the presidential speech on the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier before a sign reading “Mission accomplished: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

    The show didn’t end there. Bush landed aboard the carrier in a fighter plane renamed Navy One; on it was written “George Bush, Commander-in-Chief”. He was seen leaving the cockpit dressed in a flight suit, his helmet under his arm as if he were returning from war in a remake of Top Gun (the film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who is a familiar face in Hollywood-Pentagon operations; he made a reality TV show, Profiles from the Front Line, on the war in Afghanistan).

    The former New York Times theatre critic, Frank Rich, described the television coverage of this event and said it was fantastic – like theatre. David Broder of The Washington Post was captivated by what he called Bush’s physical posture. Sforza had to stage the scene carefully so that the city of San Diego, about 60km away, was not seen on the horizon when the carrier was supposed to be out in open sea in the combat zone.

    More insights can be found in an article by Ira Chernus, “Karl Rove’s Scheherazade Strategy”, Tomdispatch.com, 7 July 2006.

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/99707/chernus_on_karl_rove_s_bedtime_stories_for_americans

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