Matt Damon is scared. Last week his e-mail runneth over with nasty Sarah Palin rumors. And before he could get his facts straight, the “Bourne” film series star and Barack Obama supporter spread false fears in a hysterical video that immediately went viral on the Internet.
“I want to know if she thinks dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago or if she banned books or tried to ban books,” Mr. Damon raged to the Associated Press. “I mean - you know, we can’t - we can’t have that.”
Mrs. Palin has neither pushed for creationism in Alaska schools nor moved to ban a single book in Wasilla. Yet the “Ocean’s 14” ensemble is currently unable to get through another smarmy scene for fear that a John McCain presidency will lead to an evangelical Christian theocracy and catastrophic artistic oppression.
The sad fact is that actual artistic oppression - book banning in its many modern forms - is a matter of course in the entertainment industry, especially when the underlying product is declared politically incorrect or runs contrary to the interests of Hollywood’s political altar, the Democratic Party.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations runs rings around Hollywood’s pious First Amendment absolutists.
“I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs,” director Phil Alden Robinson wrote after changing the script from Muslim terrorists to Austrian neo-Nazis in the Tom Clancy thriller, “The Sum of all Fears.” “And I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination.”
While Mr. Clancy put up an admirable fight, actor Ben Affleck acquiesced, cashed his multimillion-dollar check and fought the dreaded Austrians, whose flagging Teutonic self-confidence again took a hit. Thanks to Hollywood artistic appeasement, Arab youth in totalitarian Muslim countries indoctrinated in anti-Western thought dodged another esteem bullet.
Perhaps Mr. Affleck would still have a career as a leading man if the highly anticipated “The Sum of All Fears” added up to the realistic “war on terror” headlines that dominated news cycles as it came out in 2002 - or, God forbid, matched up to its authors’ chosen words, characters and ideas. Now Mr. Affleck sits near the craft service table watching his wife, Jennifer Garner, fight the bad guys.
The silence of the celebrity political class was heartbreaking when Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic radical in retaliation for making “Submission,” a critically acclaimed film that portrayed horrific female oppression within the practice of Islam.
Yet Hollywood - quick to find martyrs near to its heart (Valerie Plame, et al) - ignored its fallen Dutch comrade and refused to celebrate the film and its maker, fulfilling his murderer’s greatest desire.
“It’s like a really bad Disney movie,” Mr. Damon said of Mrs. Palin’s political rise.
Yet it was a really good Disney movie that stands as a lasting symbol that censorship is alive and well in liberal Hollywood. In 2006, ABC and its parent company poured $40 million into a five-hour, commercial-free miniseries called “The Path to 9/11.” Built to play every year on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the docu-drama chronicles how the al Qaeda menace grew under the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Night 1 focused on the Clinton years; Night 2 looked into the eight months leading up to the attacks under President Bush. ABC considered the two-day movie experience a gift to the country, and over the two-night airing an astounding 28 million viewers tuned in.
Less about politics, “The Path to 9/11” focused on the emergence of radical Islamic terror as a clear and present American threat. Neither administration was cast as the villain; the Islamic terrorists were. Both administrations were rightfully portrayed as underestimating the threat.
Yet politicians and government employees tied to Bill and Hillary Clinton, all who admittedly hadn’t seen the film, took to the airwaves to demand it not be aired or be radically edited, with only days to go before its premiere.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter and even former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, who was convicted of destroying top-secret national security documents, demanded that Disney cut the movie to their liking or pull it from the air, within days of its anticipated airing.
Political hacks gleefully declared victory over free speech. Hollywood stood silent as the political class demanded blatant censorship.
Because the Clinton political family didn’t like one scene in one movie - one that accurately portrayed that the Clinton administration had chances to take out Osama bin Laden - ABC and Disney folded to the pressure and, as a result, the film will likely never be seen on network television again, nor will it ever make its way to the lucrative DVD market - the modern equivalent of taking it off the library shelf.
Even $2 million movies make their way to the marketplace - let alone $40 million controversial ones that already have been seen by millions.
“It’s censorship in the most blatant way,” left-wing filmmaker Oliver Stone said. “I’m not vouching for its accuracy - it’s a dramatization - but it’s an important work and needs to be seen.”
“Blocking the Path to 9/11” is a devastating documentary directed by former talk-show host John Ziegler that shows exactly how censorship works in America. As long as it is supported by Democratic politicians and by liberal Hollywood players, censorship is a useful tool to stifle dissent.
Mr. Ziegler’s documentary is a cautionary tale on how the mainstream media play a crucial role in supporting Democratic causes and how liberal blogs bolster the media and Hollywood’s leftward attack. No film better illuminates how censorship is operative in modern America and is utilized by the very people who demand absolute creative freedom.
If you can’t find “The Path to 9/11” or the documentary that spells out the crime of its suppression, perhaps you should look out for Matt Damon’s latest project, “The People Speak,” featuring “dramatic live readings” from America-bashing usual suspects Danny Glover and Eddie Vedder, and honoring Howard Zinn, the celebrity left’s favorite revisionist historian and the Marxist professor who inspired the Robin William’s character in “Good Will Hunting.”
Maybe Sarah Palin can give it a look on the campaign trail and understand why a beautiful and accomplished woman from Alaska poses such a threat to Hollywood and the Democratic Party - and why so many people in heartland America are rooting for her to win.
• Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site breitbart.com and is co-author of “Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity.”