At the Nov. 11 meeting between top Hollywood executives and White House
senior adviser Karl Rove, the chairman of the Academy of Television Arts
and Sciences proposed that videocassettes be rained down on Afghan
forces in much the same way as propaganda leaflets were dropped on enemy
forces in prior wars.
As reported by the current edition of the The
Nation, the Academy's Bryce Zabel remarked, "Why not ask some of our
very best filmmakers to do a three-minute piece on the theme 'My Country
'Tis of Thee' and then compile them together on video and airdrop them
over areas hostile to us?" Zabel told the magazine that that was just
"one idea of about twenty" that he brought to the meeting.
Over 40 key entertainment execs met with a top aide from the Bush administration Sunday at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, to discuss a seven-point White House message to be broadcast worldwide.
At the historic meeting, Karl Rove, a senior adviser to President Bush, met with several top Hollywood brass, including: co-hosts Sherry Lansing, chairman of Paramount Pictures' Motion Picture Group and Jonathan Dolgen, chairman of the Viacom Entertainment Group; Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone; and Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
The discussion concentrated on creating public service announcements but did not emphasize any kind of propaganda or tampering with content in movies and television programs.
"We're not going to set out in any way to influence opinion in a manner which can be construed as a propaganda effort backed by the administration," Robert Iger, president of The Walt Disney Co., told the Associated Press.
"This is a recognition that Sept. 11 was a day that changed the world and if we can step forward and help our country contend with how their world has changed, I think that's the patriotic thing for us to do."
Some of the points Rove proposed to the Hollywood execs to help reach the America public included that the war is directed at terrorism, not the Islam nation; that Americans should reassure their children; and that there should be support for American troops and their families.
No further meetings have been set but the studio brass will now confer with one another to solidify "some concrete forms and plan of action," Lansing told the Hollywood Reporter.
The Bush administration will establish a regular and continuing communication with Hollywood.
MPAA chief Jack Valenti is rounding up top studio executives to
participate in a Sunday morning meeting with Karl Rove, a senior White
House adviser, about how the industry can contribute to the current war
Asked by the New York Times whether he believes the
administration wants to encourage Hollywood to turn out the kind of
propaganda films it did during World War II, Valenti replied that he did
not expect that matter to come up on Sunday, but, he added, "I think if
it's a good story, compellingly told, it is entirely appropriate to see
movies that show the heroism of American armed forces."
maintained that he had no idea what would be discussed. He told the
Times: "I will tell you that I heartily endorse Hollywood getting
involved to help out in any way we can in this war. I am hoping we can
open the meeting up to hear a lot of ideas from people about how we can
be of help."