Documents Expose How US Government Uses Hollywood to Promote and Propagandize

Friday, August 18, 2017
By Paul Martin

A vast swathe of documents revealing the extent of US government influence in Hollywood – including editing scripts, and blocking critical movies from ever being made – have been unearthed, indicating US officials have covertly helped produce at least 800 major movies and 1,000 television shows since 1910.

The files were uncovered by Tom Secker, an independent researcher, and Dr. Matthew Alford, a teaching fellow at the University of Bath, after diligent trawling of over 4,000 US military and intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. They form the basis of the duo’s book National Security Cinema.

Among the trove are office diary reports from assorted military entertainment liaison offices, documents from the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency on changes made to film scripts, production assistance agreements signed between military officials and film producers, and internal government communications about the entertainment industry.

The Racket

It may not be entirely surprising that the US government seeks to influence films and TV — after all, the power of media to shape public perceptions of major contemporary issues and historical events is well-documented — and it’s no secret US government agencies operate “entertainment liaison offices” connecting entertainment industry professionals with department officials.

However, the publicly purveyed image of these offices — small operations, assisting actors, authors, directors, producers and screenwriters upon request, with minimal input on media projects beyond ensuring “authenticity” and accurate portrayal of agencies in the media — could not be further from the truth. Moreover, previous estimates of how many projects the US government has assisted were woefully inadequate — to say the least, Messrs Secker and Alford were shocked by the scale of what they discovered, and what the US security establishment’s combined efforts have produced.

Typically, state involvement in media projects begin when their producers approach an entertainment liaison office, in search of support and guidance — often, they wish to borrow military equipment, or feature locations and/or personnel in their work, which would cost millions to hire privately. The US security state is more often than not happy to oblige — in return for a say on the project’s content.

As a result, any project US government agencies are involved in is likely to be subject to script changes, in some cases quite seismic, in others small but significant — for example, if there are characters, action or dialog an agency doesn’t approve of, filmmakers must accommodate their demands. Production Assistance Agreements - — contracts between the agency and project —then lock filmmakers into using the military-approved version of the script.

“It’s about promoting themselves, and promoting foreign and security policies and in some cases worldviews that justify their continued existence and massive budgets,” Mr. Secker told Sputnik.

The Rest…HERE

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