FW: Your Tax Dollars Subsidize Bush War Hero Movie
- I sent this message out to some friends, thought many of you might find it
From: Ryan Lanyon
Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2003 10:19 PM
Subject: Your Tax Dollars Subsidize Bush War Hero Movie
I don't know exactly how you feel about George Bush, but if you're
anything like me, you think he's a self-serving warmonger hungry to
dominate the world's (and Canada's) oil supply and economies. You
probably would not associate the word 'hero' with him, and wouldn't be
willing to give him a nickel of your money to help fund his unjustified
Well, you gave him hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of nickels
to help him get reelected. His propaganda machine is in full force,
filming a made-for-tv movie that makes him look like a hero on 9/11,
surely to be aired in the next 18 months leading up to election day.
And where was this movie dripping in American patriotism filmed?
Toronto. And who helped subsidize this Republican production? You did.
The details are in the Globe and Mail article below.
Disgusted at the thought? I am. Want to do something about it? Now's
the time. Sheila Copps, one of those lucky three running for the
Liberal leadership, is the Minister in charge of the program that gave
Bush & Co. their dough (see:
_e.cfm). I know you probably don't write many letters to federal MPs,
but now's the time. Believe me, if politicians get enough letters about
something, they make change. I've seen it happen at the local level.
Here's where you can reach Ms. Copps:
And in case you'd like to hear from some other American politicians who
have a slightly more critical opinion of Bush & Co.'s actions, see the
speech from Senator Robert Byrd at the bottom of this very long e-mail
(or link to:
_2003may_list/byrd_speeches_2003may_list_2.html). [Previously posted on this
9/11 film makes hero of Bush
TV movie, made with White House help, gives revised account of
By DOUG SAUNDERS
Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - Page A1
Trapped on the other side of the country aboard Air Force One, the
President has lost his cool: "If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell
him to come and get me! I'll be at home! Waiting for the bastard!"
His Secret Service chief seems taken aback. "But Mr. President . . ."
The President brusquely interrupts him. "Try Commander-in-Chief. Whose
present command is: Take the President home!"
Was this George W. Bush's moment of resolve on Sept. 11, 2001? Well, not
exactly. Actually, the scene took place this month, on a Toronto sound
The histrionics, filmed for a two-hour TV movie to be broadcast this
September, are as close as you can get to an official White House
account of its activities at the outset of the war on terrorism.
Written and produced by a White House insider with the close
co-operation of Mr. Bush and his top officials, The Big Dance represents
an unusually close merger of Washington's ambitions and Hollywood's
A copy of the script obtained by The Globe and Mail reveals a prime-time
drama starring a nearly infallible, heroic president with little or no
dissension in his ranks and a penchant for delivering articulate,
stirring, off-the-cuff addresses to colleagues.
That the whole thing was filmed in Canada and is eligible for financial
aid from Canadian taxpayers, and that its loyal Republican
writer-producer is a Canadian citizen best known for his adaptation of
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, are ironies that will be lost on
most of its American viewers when it airs on the Showtime network this
While the film is intended for U.S. viewers, it is produced in
collaboration with Toronto-based Dufferin Gate Productions in order to
take advantage of Canadian government incentives. It is eligible for the
federal Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit, the Ontario Film
and Television Production Services Tax Credit and a federal tax-shelter
program, which together could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars
in Canadian government cheques being sent to the producers.
Lionel Chetwynd, the film's creator, sees nothing untoward about his
role as the semi-official White House apologist in Hollywood. For him,
having a well-connected Republican create the movie was a way to get the
official message around what he sees as an entertainment industry packed
with liberals and Democrats.
"A feeding frenzy had started to develop around this story, and a lot of
people who wanted to do this story had a very clear political agenda,
very clear," Mr. Chetwynd said in an interview from his Los Angeles home
"My own view of the administration is somewhat more sympathetic than,
say, Alec Baldwin's. . . . In fact, I'm technically a member of the
administration [Mr. Chetwynd sits on the President's Committee on the
Arts and Humanities], so I let it be known that I was also interested in
doing it. I threw myself on the mercies of my friend Karl Rove."
Mr. Rove is the President's chief political adviser, so this was not a
typical Hollywood pitch. But then, Mr. Chetwynd is not a typical
Hollywood writer-producer: He is founder of the Wednesday Morning Club,
an organization for the movie colony's relatively small band of
Republicans, and he led the White House's efforts to enlist Hollywood's
support after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Chetwynd's script is based on lengthy interviews with Mr. Bush, Mr.
Rove, top aide Andy Card, retiring White House press aide Ari Fleischer,
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other Republican officials in the
White House and the Pentagon. He says every scene and line of dialogue
was described to him by an insider or taken from credible reports.
Yet compared with other journalistic accounts of the period, the movie
is clearly an effort to reconstruct Mr. Bush as a determined and
principled military leader. The public image of Mr. Bush -- who avoided
military service in Vietnam and who has often been derided as a doe-eyed
naif on satirical TV shows -- is a key concern to White House
communications officials, many of them friends of Mr. Chetwynd.
While Mr. Chetwynd says he principally wanted to tell a good story, the
movie's mission gives it a distinctly different tint from other such
The scene aboard Air Force One is offered in several other accounts --
but most of them present Mr. Bush as worried as he asks to go home. An
account published by the British Daily Telegraph has him saying: "I'm
not going to do it [appear on TV] from an Air Force base. Not while
folks are under the rubble. I'm coming home."
Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter, recounts a line similar to
Mr. Chetwynd's in his book Bush At War: "We need to get back to
Washington. We don't need some tinhorn terrorist to scare us off. The
American people want to know where their President is." But it is a
complaint, not an order.
In accounts such as Mr. Woodward's, Mr. Bush seems uncertain, and spends
a lot of time approving proposals from his aides. In this movie, Mr.
Bush delivers long, stirring speeches that immediately become policy.
Mr. Chetwynd said that he did not write such scenes principally to
bolster the image of Mr. Bush, but that the image was a concern.
"The belittling of the President really irritated me, but I didn't start
out on a crusade," he said. "I wanted to show . . . how he was able in
that moment to grab hold of things as a leader in those critical days."