Bozell Column: Oliver Stone's Foot In Mouth Disease
How else would you explain the (new) mess Stone (again) has made as he prepares a 10-part documentary for Showtime on "The Secret History of America," including evaluations of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. In an interview with the Sunday Times of London, Stone declared Hitler was a monster, but he was apparently still America's fault: "Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Doctor Frankenstein," Stone said. "German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support."
Stone unfortunately wasn't finished. He proceeded to denigrate the importance of the Holocaust: "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than [to] the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed]." The reason few people know this, according to Stone? "The Jewish domination of the media," he said. "There's a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f----d up United States foreign policy for years."
The major media thoroughly, and for the most part correctly, punished Mel Gibson within hours for a drunken anti-Semitic rant in 2006. But Stone has drawn a pass, since he's made a raft of leftist films, and never one glorifying Jesus. Not everyone took the week off. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League proclaimed "Oliver Stone has once again shown his conspiratorial colors with his comments about 'Jewish domination of the media' and control over U.S. foreign policy. His words conjure up some of the most stereotypical and conspiratorial notions of undue Jewish power and influence."
Stone then apologized for downplaying the Holocaust: "In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret." He's made clumsy associations before: in 1997, he was one of 34 celebrities to sign a letter comparing the treatment of Scientologists in Germany with persecution by the Nazis in the 1930s.
This man's affinity for dictators hasn't waned. He even came to the defense of Iranian president (and habitual Holocaust-denier) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He slammed the U.S. policy toward Iran as "horrible" and added "Iran isn't necessarily the good guy, but we don't know the full story!"
That's the problem with Stone. He always purports to speak truth to power, but he's never met a truth he couldn't demolish.
What Stone always knows is that America is the bad guy. Anyone with the audacity to oppose this country, and better yet, slander it, is suddenly the sugary apple of Stone's eye. He has made documentaries about hate-filled killers like Castro, and Yasser Arafat, and just last month, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez (with a pathetic box-office gross of $166,000). But Ahmadinejad turned him down. "While it is true that Oliver Stone is considered to be among the opposition in the U.S., the opposition is still part of the Great Satan," proclaimed his media adviser, Mahdi Kalhor.
Stone continues to see the gleam in many a dictator's eye. In January, Stone told The Hollywood Reporter that "Stalin has a complete other story…Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any single person. We can't judge people as only 'bad' or 'good.' Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it’s been used cheaply".
Apparently, these mass-murdering dictators are seen too narrowly by Americans: "I've been able to walk in Stalin's shoes and Hitler's shoes to understand their point of view," Stone proclaimed. "We're going to educate our minds and liberalize them and broaden them." Of course, that included blame for America. "Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated."
Stone's apologies for his remarks downplaying the Holocaust will probably prevent Showtime from heeding some Hollywood calls for canceling his "Secret History" series. But it's amazing that Stone's political and historical buffoonery continues to be presented by some interviewers and media executives as something wise and wonderful.