The Mid-Atlantic Blog

March 03, 2006

George Clooney

A useful corrective this morning to the laudatory coverage of George Clooney that we've seen over here (Newsnight and Culture Show interviews, and so on).

The perception that he's tried to put across, and which has been backed broadly, is one of political activism against repression expressed through his films, in particular the two on release at the moment, with that action causing people to attack him without reason.

Charles Krauthammer points out that the problem with "Syriana" is that it presents a picture of US policy that is in fact diametrically opposite from the truth: rather than attempting to overthrow democracy and freedom around the world, Bush has regularly used the full force of the military to promote it.

And as for "Good Night And Good Luck"? Economical with the truth is probably the best that can be said for it. Covering the US government and Congress attempts to avoid infiltration by Communists during the Cold War is hard to do accurately if you work on the basis that there wasn't any such attempted infiltration, against the evidence that has been released since the end of the Cold War. You don't have to love Senator Joe to know that there was a problem... and Eisenhower was publicly challenging the witch hunts before Murrow was. Not a huge amount of bravery there, then.

Opposition to Clooney, then, isn't just because of his point of view politically: it's because he doesn't present the inconvenient facts that disagree with his view, and by doing so produce ideas that are further from reality than can be justified by artistic interpretation.

Incidentally, Mark Steyn, as always, is also good on this point here.

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