November 25, 2002
Letter to the Globe: Hollywood and Washington Separate?

If Doug Saunders really wanted to argue that Washington and Hollywood are separate entities ("Hollywood. America. More than ever, they aren't the same," Saturday Nov. 23), it's surprising that he didn't at least mention the cozy relationship between movie studios and the Pentagon. According to mainstream news sources (ABC, BBC, USA Today), the Pentagon subsidizes Hollywood's war movies, and in exchange, gets to "negotiate" changes to the scripts and plot of these movies. It doesn't take too much imagination to see that movies, as a result, are much more likely to be pro-USA in significant ways.


A straightforward Google search confirms the worst of it and more, though most mainstream coverage simply notes that this (age old) team-up is likely to produce "better movies".

Of course, once the Pentagon has access to the set and scripts, it seems obvious that studios will simply nix scripts that aren't likely to be Pentagon-approved. So we get more Pearl Harbour and less Full Metal Jacket and Platoon. It seems obvious that--if the subsidies are substantial enough--the influence could easily spill over into other movies, mostly through hollywood execs' desire to not piss off the Pentagon. But then again, there is no reason to believe that the Pentagon won't be so bold as to drop hints about non-war movies anyway. What have they got to lose?

posted by dru in letters