Accuracy in Media

One might have guessed that a movie starring Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman would have a leftist bent. That’s the case with their movie, The Interpreter, which is a long commercial for the U.N.’s International Criminal Court. But few anticipated that Stars Wars would be political propaganda.

Star Wars creator and billionaire George Lucas wants us to believe that nothing in the film is intended to be a commentary on the Bush Administration and the Iraq War.

The group, Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood, disagrees, and is urging a boycott.

But one objective reviewer, Tangi Quemener of the AFP news service, sees bias as well, labeling the main character “George W. Vader.”

He points to the dialogue: “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy,” is what Anakin Skywalker, who goes to the “dark side” as the evil Darth Vader, says in the movie. The phrase is said to echo Bush’s warning following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

Quemener writes, “In another scene that has annoyed conservative groups and delighted liberals, Chancellor Palpatine exploits war fears to consolidate his power and turn the Republic into an empire ruled by him alone. Senator Padme Amidala, played by Natalie Portman, watches the scene, played out during a legislative session, and says with disdain: ‘This is how liberty dies: with thundering applause.'”

The New York Times called it significant that Lucas had the premiere of the Star Wars finale at the Cannes Film Festival in France, whose government opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Lucas was reported to have rebutted charges that the film was anti-Bush. “At the time I did that, it was during the Vietnam War and the Nixon era. The issue was: How does a democracy turn itself over to a dictator? Not how does a dictator take over, but how does a democracy and Senate give it away?” Lucas went on to cite cases of countries giving themselves over to dictators. Of course, he was referring to doing the “framework” for the series of Star Wars movies. Are we supposed to believe that the inclusion of the controversial dialogue is just an accident?

Craig Winneker of TechCentralStation says he found the film disturbing because of its “recurring anti-Bush, anti-Iraq war message.” Nevertheless, he still liked the film and he “overlooked the few annoying instances when it veered away from its fantasy world and towards today’s front pages.”

Conservative columnist James Pinkerton said that Lucas outed himself, ideologically, in the film.  “In Lucas’ imagination, America is the evil empire,” he wrote. Pinkerton predicts that more tickets for the movie will be sold overseas-“where Bush-bashing sells.”

But it’s doing very well here.  It made $158 million in its first four days. One wonders whether the audiences are ignoring or absorbing the political message. Whatever the case, Lucas, already a billionaire, must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Perhaps he will now start seeing invitations to the high-powered gatherings hosted by George Soros. Or perhaps Lucas will move to France.

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