Friday, December 03, 2010


Update on Valerie Plame Affair--Hollywood Version

Although we won't know until tomorrow, nothing about the box office performance of the lying docu-drama Fair Game these past two weeks indicates that it will expand into new theaters (beyond the 386 it now plays in) today. It has made only $6.3 Million domestically in the four weeks since its limited, rolling release (and a similar amount overseas). That's about half the production budget. The distributors passed on expanding last week due to weak ticket sales, and the only thing that has changed is that more people are complaining about the so-called accuracy of the film, that if fails to include any real screen time to the real life revealers of where Ms. Plame worked, state department undersecretary Richard Armitage and the late Robert Novak. How can you pretend to be factual and ignore the quintessential, albeit inconvenient, facts? Here, here, here and here are more outraged reviews. Money quotes:

Hollywood has a habit of making movies about historical events without regard for the truth; "Fair Game" is just one more example. But the film's reception illustrates a more troubling trend of political debates in Washington in which established facts are willfully ignored. Mr. Wilson claimed that he had proved that Mr. Bush deliberately twisted the truth about Iraq, and he was eagerly embraced by those who insist the former president lied the country into a war. Though it was long ago established that Mr. Wilson himself was not telling the truth - not about his mission to Niger and not about his wife - the myth endures.

My old boss Bob Novak reported that Wilson's wife was a CIA operative. His original source was Richard Armitage, Bush's deputy secretary of state. Inconveniently for the storyline of "Fair Game" -- and the story the Left pushed for years -- Novak and Armitage both opposed the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq.

It's hard to argue that two Iraq War opponents got together and decided to punish Wilson for publicly questioning the case for war -- especially when Novak was doing so long before Wilson was. And Armitage was a famous dove, even by State Department standards.

Given Hollywood's bias against subtlety and complexity, the filmmakers had a choice: Lie about Novak and Armitage to make them Iraq hawks -- or simply ignore them. The screenwriters chose the latter. Novak is mentioned only once, at the moment Plame reads the column. Armitage is mentioned only in the text epilogue in the closing credits.


It's wrong to assert that the disclosure of Mrs. Wilson's identity was part of a malignant effort to hide an even bigger nefarious plot of having "lied us into war." If anything, the Bush White House (including Mr. Libby) was the victim of bad information - information supplied by Mrs. Wilson's incompetent CIA.

UPDATE: The number of theaters showing the film this past weekend went up 40%, to 436 (so much for my prognostication) but revenue went down 37.8% and the movie was 14th for its fifth weekend of release. It will just barely make its money back but its a loser both for its box office disappointment and its alternate reality sense of history. Even the Washington Post criticized the lies at the heart of the movie. Enough said.


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