How low can Sean Penn and his Hollywood helpers stoop when it comes to manufacturing convenient political fiction dressed up as fact for the tarnished silver screen? When you see an editorial in the Washington Post that’s this bad, this low, it would seem.
Hollywood myth-making on Valerie Plame controversy
We certainly hope that is not the case. In fact, “Fair Game,” based on books by Mr. Wilson and his wife, is full of distortions – not to mention outright inventions. To start with the most sensational: The movie portrays Ms. Plame as having cultivated a group of Iraqi scientists and arranged for them to leave the country, and it suggests that once her cover was blown, the operation was aborted and the scientists were abandoned. This is simply false. In reality, as The Post’s Walter Pincus and Richard Leiby reported, Ms. Plame did not work directly on the program, and it was not shut down because of her identification.
The movie portrays Mr. Wilson as a whistle-blower who debunked a Bush administration claim that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from the African country of Niger. In fact, an investigation by the Senate intelligence committee found that Mr. Wilson’s reporting did not affect the intelligence community’s view on the matter, and an official British investigation found that President George W. Bush’s statement in a State of the Union address that Britain believed that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger was well-founded.
Penn didn’t simply jump the shark with Fair Game, he looks to have gone full-Fonzi with a jacket and shades. Sadly, such a lack of integrity and appreciation for truth isn’t limited to Hollywood these days. Lies, like mistakes, reverberate and should have consequences when they are this dishonest and glaring. But don’t look for a currently mostly liberal Washington to hold Penn, or Hollywood, to account for what amounts to blatant dishonesty when it comes to America’s recent political history.
Fair Game isn’t truth, or history, it isn’t even an exercise in mild revisionism. It’s the perpetuation of a Big Lie more suitable for a Politburo, than a Hollywood studio. Hopefully there are still enough Americans grounded in reality to know that Penn’s latest endeavor in agitprop doesn’t belong under some allegedly big political tent spanning from Hollywood to DC. Given the Post’s editorial, Fair Game has more in common with a Pee Wee Herman big adventure, than anything reality-based, or the least bit politically truthful.
“Fair Game” also resells the couple’s story that Ms. Plame’s exposure was the result of a White House conspiracy. A lengthy and wasteful investigation by a special prosecutor found no such conspiracy – but it did confirm that the prime source of a newspaper column identifying Ms. Plame was a State Department official, not a White House political operative.
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.