ABC's Tapper Airs Skepticism of Spielberg's "Munich" Take On Terrorism

MRC's Megan McCormack reports that on Thursday's "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Jake Tapper gave some air time to the view that Steven Spielberg's new film "Munich" has a "dangerous naivete," arguing that "fighting the terrorists only makes them more likely to commit acts of terror." Granted, when skepticism is coming from liberal magazines like The New Yorker and The New Republic, publicizing it on ABC is not as shocking. Tapper leaves out the role of screenwriter Tony Kushner, the controversial hard-left gay playwright. The transcript follows:  

Robin Roberts: "But first, opening tomorrow, a new movie directed by Steven Spielberg that's causing controversy before it even hits the screen. Spielberg took extraordinary steps to keep details of the film secret, with only a few actors even allowed to see the entire script. The film is called 'Munich,' and the controversy over how the movie treats terrorism. Here's ABC’s Jake Tapper."

Jake Tapper: "Whether with Jaws, Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg is usually not one for controversy. But along with the Oscar buzz for his new film, Munich, is another sound, outrage. Harsh criticism in The New York Times [here and in a David Brooks column] , The New Republic and elsewhere, accusing the film of painting the Israelis who fight terrorism as also being guilty of fueling terrorism. The critics say that the picture makes an alarming point, fighting the terrorists only makes them more likely to commit acts of terror. The film begins with the murder of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics, which riveted a worldwide television audience of millions. The film then tracks the Israeli secret service as they hunt down those responsible and focuses on the psychological toll this takes on the characters.

Steven Spielberg: "When we face terror we have to respond to it. But how do we ensure that we didn’t become what we're going after?"

Tapper: "New Yorker correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg says as a metaphor for the post-9/11 world, the movie falls short."

Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker: "The entire film implies that terrorism is the product of counter-terrorism. In other words, fighting terrorism just makes terrorism worse or, even in, in a strange way, creates it."

Tapper: "Spielberg disagrees."

Spielberg: "On the contrary, what this movie is showing is that a response that may be the right response is still one that confronts you with some very difficult issues, and when we have to respond to terror today, what's relevant is the need to go through a careful process."

Tapper: "But where Spielberg sees a message of caution and optimism, others see a dangerous naivete. For Good Morning America, Jake Tapper, ABC News, Washington."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis