Freedom Rider: Hollywood’s Propaganda

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Hollywood helps Americans feel good about being part of an empire that kills other peoples at will. “Movies have become a happy arm of the United States government as they advocate for violence and war crimes.” Tales of torture and wanton killing are blockbusters in the USA.


Freedom Rider: Hollywood’s Propaganda

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Two recently commercially successful and award winning movies were all about the empire.”

There isn’t any part of popular culture which allows the citizens of this country to escape the glorification of American imperialism. One can’t watch a football game without seeing an honor guard present the colors, or soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, or in the worst case scenario a flyover of military jets. Commercials advertising everything from cars to dog food present endless images of soldiers returning home from the battlefield.

The movie industry has embraced the glorification of militarism and American violence practiced abroad as eagerly as professional sports or advertising. There is scarcely a big budget action movie whose plot doesn’t include a scene on an aircraft carrier and even children’s cartoons and games are brought back to life with story lines made in cooperation with the Department of Defense.

Now the propaganda has migrated from the backdrop of action movies to being the focal point of serious drama. Two recently commercially successful and award winning movies were all about the empire. They were praised by critics and popular with audiences as they spread vicious lies and or defended the worst impulses of the American government.

Osama bin Laden had barely taken his last breath when Hollywood gave the green light to dramatize the story of his assassination. The film Zero Dark Thirty filled the bill, complete with a validation of torture, which is considered a war crime nearly everywhere on earth except the United States.

The movie industry has embraced the glorification of militarism and American violence practiced abroad as eagerly as professional sports or advertising.”

The producers of Zero Dark Thirty were given access to classified documents, an action which ought to have impugned the film makers’ integrity and made it unacceptable to audiences and critics. The Obama administration forgot about its draconian whistle blower punishments in order to make sure that the president and his policies were lionized on film.

While in one instance propaganda demanded a speedy take on history, in another case an old story suddenly became interesting. Thirty years after Americans were taken hostage at their embassy in Iran, Hollywood came calling at an opportune moment politically. Argo won an Academy Award at the precise moment that the Obama administration is making its most serious case for war against Iran. The story of the six hostages who escaped to the Canadian embassy would seem to be interesting enough on its own merits, but the filmmakers added a climactic but completely fictional chase down an airport runway just in case any viewers didn’t hate Iranians enough by the end of the movie. Not to be outdone in the propaganda department, the lead role was played by a white actor when the real life and still living protagonist, Antonio Mendez, is Latino.

If there was any doubt that government propaganda was the order of the day in entertainment, first lady Michelle Obama presented the best picture award for Argo at the Oscars. She was surrounded by military personnel in uniform as she did so.

It is a little known fact that the Central Intelligence Agency has a film office. Its entertainment industry liaison office came into being in the 1990s and has been used to by movie and television producers to shape the agency’s image. Of course, that means lying about history. The producers of Argo gave passing recognition of the CIA operation which over threw a democratic government in Iran and placed a monarch in power in the early 1950s. They didn’t raise the question of why all the hostages weren’t released until Ronald Reagan’s inauguration day or delve into charges that his administration thwarted Jimmy Carter’s efforts to end the standoff.

Argo won an Academy Award at the precise moment that the Obama administration is making its most serious case for war against Iran.”

There was a time when the entertainment industry promoted an anti-establishment counter culture, consciously creating a space for nonconformity. Movies and music were means of escaping the dictates of the status quo. Now they are part and parcel of the establishment and leave no outlet for true creativity or independent thought. Movies have become a happy arm of the United States government as they advocate for violence and war crimes to be carried out around the world.

Hollywood is after all an important part of corporate media. Like other media, it is now shaped by fewer and fewer players, with large conglomerates replacing the creative people who once made films interesting. The endless sequels and big budget action movies now comprise most of what we can expect to see at the multiplex. In a country becoming more and more imperialistic every day, it isn’t surprising to see the Pentagon’s world view on screen.

While not surprising, it shouldn’t be acceptable. If Barack Obama or any other president declares that there will be war against Iran, then most Americans will approve. Sadly, that approval will be even harder to fight against if the powerful and appealing images seen on the silver screen are perceived to be part of the call to arms.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)


Holly-weird 3 Propaganda Oscar Film's + QT's A-Historical Django

Speilberg's {non}Historical 'Lincoln' balanced out {San}Quentin on the QT's Spaghetti / Blaxplotation film [w slavery as its prop] 'Django'. Then there's the pro-CIA Torture / anti-Muslim film '0-dark-30' matched w the pro-CIA / anti-Iran film 'Argo'. All 4 of these Oscar nominated [for best picture] films are problematic distortions of TRUTH, w 3 of them [Lincoln, 0-Dark-30 & Argo]  obviously being pro-USA propaganda films maquarding as so-called 'historical' [actually 'Lincoln' was far more subtle than the others]. 

I confess I put all my money on 'Lincoln' for winning Best- actor, picture, director [& likely best supporting-actress too]. I did NOT pick 'Argo' to win any major Oscar- because Holly-weird 'liberal' 'pretty-boy' Ben Affleck wasn't even nominated for best director- cause he ain't in the same class as a film-maker as Speilberg, Ang-Lee, Kathryn Bigelow or even {San}Quentin on the QT for that matter.

But then they come up w an unprecedented move of having the FLOTUS Michelle O [backed-up by a military color-guard no-less] announce the sleeper [agent] 'Argo' as this yr's best picture Oscar winner. IMO when combined w the fact that O-Bomber's pick to head the CIA [Drone / Torture Master Brennan]- disingenously conflates Iran's nuke [energy] Prog w N.Korea's nuke weapons prog, the pro-CIA / anti-Iran propaganda film 'Argo's' Oscar may indicate that O-Bomber's preping to do a number on Iran . 

PS: It seems that '0-Dark-30's' so blatantly pro CIA-Torture propaganda theme effectively drew all the heat from pro-CIA 'Argo'- which paved the way for its 'unexpected' Oscar win [google &/or Wikipedia CIA 'Operation Mockingbird']. IMO the best no-holds barred critique of '0-dark-30' [beyond just the pro CIA-torture controversy] see: - as Ms Miriam Kale awards Kathryn Bigelow her 'LENI' {Riefenstahl}. In pt-1 Ms Kale explains why she [& I] thought 'Lincoln' would win for best picture & director along w best actor. 

Hol(l)ywood is a synonym

for the Black mis-leadership class.  In other words, it is just as destructive. 

The propaganda coming out of the left coast is stunning.  Lincoln was a white supremacist for Christ's sake!  Holywood puts Goebbels and Ms. Leni Riefenstahl to shame.

If there was a God, he would have made statues out of this country a long time ago.

We have become the worst country on the face of the earth and deserve to die an agonizing death, which we ultimately will.  



Seems BAR, Inc staff are the only astute observers today

If I can just add a couple of points, a TV show called "Person of Interest" is being made to get us accustomed to being 'droned' on and surveiiled via the latest snoop technology developed by a guy hired by gov't to fight the War on an idea...oops sorry, Terrorism by means of watching each and every action of all citizens with NO warrants or Due Process protection and obtaining data projected by the experts at EFF to be kept for many years. Yeah, the heroes are out there 'protecting' citizens the evil all around us,(of course the real evil is the gov't system that made it all possible to get this information in the first place)using a surveillance system that sees and knows about everyone every minute of the day through its Information Technology. Yeah, think of it, the impetus by gov't in its paranoid terror war, is on the job leeching evil from the world by former gov't workers who created the best way to watch us..I mean, protect us from the evil terrorists of the world(the US being one of the main terrors unleashed on the world). The show seems to be popular, which means corporate media is successful once more in lulling us to sleep and having us accept invasions of privacy,'s for our own good.

My second point is the insane TV shows like the CSIs, Bones, and others that supposedly are steeped in science to solve crimes, yet lately more and more themes allowing psychics to end up solving the crimes, while reality, science findings using evidence to solve crimes takes a backseat to the amorphous Sylvia Brown look alike fraudsters that seem to also subscribe to NCCAM nonsense like "Touch Therapy."  Seems creationism thinking is infecting the whole field of knowledge, and, yes, I know the idea of ESP may he cool, but it isn't real, however entertaining it may seem and proponents don't belong on science based shows. And a really infuriating episode of CSI, had David the Asst ME complain of back pain, yet then speaks of...wait for it...making an appointment with a dadgum Chiropractor, for Zeus sakes, not an Orthopedist, I mean it would be like asking an Astrologer about the latest findings on the age of the Universe based on observations Astrologers have been making...NOT. Think of it, if the star formation above you at birth has relevance, the close proximity of the doggone Obstetrician delivering you would have much more of an effect, their being, you know, closer to you and all that(recall the fact that bodies attract according to their masses).

Thnx, Mr Ford&BAR gang, you're all doing an excellent job.

What!!??"Argo won an Academy Award"?AARRGGHHH Why???

I did not see the Argo movie, but knew just about what was going to be in it and that Iran was going to be made out to be the bogeyman; one question, though, was there mention of the 27 years prior to Iran's hostage taking of Americans, the CIA's staging of the removal of a Democratically elected leader who wanted the oil profits of Iran to go to the people, and not the foreign US and European oil corporations? Instead they put in place the Shah who brutalised his people as the dictator he was, so natch, the Iranian people got pissed and put a stop to the Shah. Too bad religious extremists took his place and made it worse for a time. The sanctions the US is putting on Iran hurts the people(lest we forget the US proxy war between Iran and Iraq, also caused suffering, as young Iranians boarded a bus headed for the frontlines, so they could die as martyrs against the Iraqi armies), not Iran's leaders, and besides they tried 3 times post 9/11 when Bush was in charge to talk with the US and European leaders about relevant issues, Bush refused each time. Iran is a sovereign nation and hasn't attacked anyone for 100s of years, can the US or even Israel say that?

What a Difference 30+ Yrs Make:

FYI: 'Argo's' plot is minor off-shoot of the 1979 - 80 Iranian hostage crisis, in which irate Iranian students, during Iran's revolution, seized control of the US Embassy there, saying that it was from the US Embassy that US CIA & Military personnel was working in cahoots w the Shah's notorious SAVAK [gestapol] force- [Note: if you check the list of the 52 US hostages @ Wikipedia, at-least 20 can easily be IDed as CIA &/or military intel / operatives / specialist; w most of the rest being US Marine embassy guards]. And it must be noted that NONE of these guys died, nor were seriously injured, nor [unlike Gitmo] were tortured into making false confessions!

But My Real Point Is: After just 2 weeks the Iranians released nearly all of the Black & women hostages- including an Air Force Capt Intel Officer & Air Force Administrative Managerial Staff Sgt. Why? Because in the 1979 = a decade after such Black [freedom-fighter] leaders as Malcolm X, MLK, the Black Panthers, Kwame' Toure' [aka Stokely Carmichael], Elijah Muhammad's NOI [including Muhammad Ali], Angela Davis, etc... the Iranians understood that Blacks were also victims of US imperialism- thus their fight was NOT w Blacks [nor even white women]- but rather w the white-male dominated US power structure.

But now 30+ yrs later in the age of Obama, w the face of US Black [imperial-power] leadership being O-Bomber, Eric Holder, Sue & Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Uncle Judge Thomas, etc -&- the face of US' white women leadership being Dim Sec of States- Madame{'I think the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children are worth it'}Albright & Hitlery/Killary{'I Came, I Saw, He Died- Ha, ha, ha'}Clinton... With O-Bomber boasting about using economic warfare to ruin Iran's econ- using Iran's thus far non-existent nuke-weapons prog as a phony excuse [despite the IAEA's & the US' own NIE reports to the contrary]- & being backed by 95% of Black voters... And then the unprecedented move of having FLOTUS Michelle O present the Best Picture Oscar to that pro-CIA / anti-Iran propaganda film 'Argo'- If the Iranian Hostage crisis happened today why in HELL would the Iranians let the Black & women hostages go??!!