Ken Burns: Prohibition Movement Akin to Today's 'Demonization of Immigrants'

Ken Burns’ latest documentary, “Prohibition,” is a step-by-step rebuttal of the Left’s big-government ways. So says cagey New York Post columnist Kyle Smith.

But don’t tell that to Burns himself, who apparently sees Prohibition as yet another way to slam the Right’s misgivings over illegal immigration. Burns, arguably the most trusted documentary filmmaker on the scene, did just that on a Sept. 28 appearance on “The Colbert Report:

“This is a story of single-issue political campaigns that metastasized with horrible, unintended consequences – the demonization of immigrants, smear campaigns and the loss of civil discourse,” Burns told the show’s flip host, Stephen Colbert.

Here’s betting Burns wasn’t thinking about Vice President Joe Biden calling conservatives “terrorists.”

I interviewed Burns a few years back in connection with his six-episode series “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Burns is a master storyteller who doesn’t need snail-like pans to captivate a crowd. Spend 20 minutes with him, and you’ll wish someone gave him his own radio show. He’d be a natural.

But hearing him pontificate on politics is a teeth-grinding experience. This sharp, inquisitive fellow spits out the same, stale talking points you’d hear from a quick dose of Keith Olbermann. It’s no accident Burns was one of the first few people to sign on to Olbermann’s new Current TV program.

I remember hearing Burns wax less than poetic about the Right on “The Adam Carolla Podcast” a few months back after an otherwise long and vibrant interview.

Long may Burns reign as the sober and scholarly documentarian of our age. One wishes he applied that same, skeptical mind to some of his political musings.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.