Every couple of years Washington DC decides to stick its nose into Hollywood, but usually it’s about violence or sex or some other deeply Puritanical nonsense. This time it’s a whole bunch weirder and sort of more menacing.
Peter King, a US Representative from my home state of New York, is also the House Homeland Security Chairman, and he’s aiming his Sauron-like Homeland Security gaze on… a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden. Kathryn Bigelow’s movie about the hunt for bin Laden, which was in pre-production before SEAL Team Six killed OBL, is what he’s so concerned about. He wants to look into cooperation between the Obama administration and the filmmakers.
“The Administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government,” King wrote to the Defense Department and the CIA, according to Politico. “In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history.”
First up, props for ‘cinematographic,’ which is a word almost never used. Most people would have just gone with ‘cinematic.’ Second of all, the smart bet is that King isn’t upset about the administration declassifying documents or something but rather that Bigelow’s movie is now scheduled for an October 2012 release, which strikes the GOP as an ‘October surpise’ that could help Obama in the polls in November. They should know, as they pretty much invented it with Kissinger announcing that the Nixon administration was ending the Vietnam War just 12 days before the election. Many people believe that Ronald Reagan avoided an October Surprise in the 1980 election by working out a deal to release the Iranian hostages after the election. They were released LITERALLY FIVE MINUTES after he was inaugurated.
Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal released the following statement:
“Our upcoming film project about the decade long pursuit of Bin Laden has been in the works for many years and integrates the collective efforts of three administrations, including those of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, as well as the cooperative strategies and implementation by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Indeed, the dangerous work of finding the world’s most wanted man was carried out by individuals in the military and intelligence communities who put their lives at risk for the greater good without regard for political affiliation. This was an American triumph, both heroic, and non-partisan and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise.”
This all feels like a bunch of hoohah. It’s not unusual for the military and the government to cooperate extensively with filmmakers and journalists, especially in cases like this, which will make the government and military look really, really good. But on top of that, this is a movie they were already making that just luckily managed to get itself a whole new ending. This film isn’t some insidious Democratic propaganda piece. It’s a story of great American heroism and determination, and you would hope that Peter King could put aside his partisan fervor long enough to figure that out.