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Brave New Films's Robert Greenwald Denounces Joel Surnow's History Channel Production of the Kennedys As Political Attack Through Character Assassination
Leading Historians Ted Sorensen and Thurston Clarke Charge the Miniseries with Being Blatant Distortions of the Truth
LOS ANGELES - February 17 - Brave New Films's Robert Greenwald is taking on Joel Surnow and his upcoming History Channel project, "The Kennedys", charging it with being a politically motivated character assassination of President Kennedy and unfit to be portrayed as history. Variety described Surnow as "politically active in conservative politics" and refers to the miniseries as viewed through the lens of the conservative right.* Greenwald and Brave New Films have enlisted leading historians Ted Sorensen, Thurston Clarke, David Nasaw, Nigel Hamilton, and Rick Perlstein to inform the public of the blatant political bias and inaccuracies of the miniseries.
Surnow is best known for his Fox television show "24" and executive producing "The ½ Hour News Hour" for the Fox News Channel. Surnow, a long-time friend of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes, has been described by the New York Times as "[having] hardly been shy about his conservative politics."**
To view Brave New Films online film detailing portions of The Kennedys script with historians commentary, please click the link below:
"I originally heard about the script from my friends in commercials, film, and television. I have read and seen lots of bad television, but this is political character assassination of the lowest and dirtiest kind. It is inexcusable that The History Channel seems to be morphing into Fox News with this. I've produced about fifty-plus movies and never have I read anything this distorted, political, and filled with propaganda being sold as historical truth. It is shocking that the History Channel would carry such a historically inaccurate and politically slanted script." Robert Greenwald, Director, Brave New Films
"JFK is only one of the people subject to character assassination [in The Kennedys]. There's also character assassination against Bobby, against the President's father, Joseph P. Kennedy...I could go on and on down the list...It's just amazing that anyone could be as mean spirited and vindictive as this...There will be hell to pay if anyone is ever foolish enough to put this banal, repetitive, old hat lists of libels and slanders on the air." Ted Sorensen, President John F. Kennedy's Special Counsel and Adviser
"What makes the many historical inaccuracies in this screenplay so suspect, and wicked, is that they are, almost always, devices aimed at portraying President Kennedy, his wife, father, and other family members in the worst possible light. To call these 'mistakes' is too kind; they are conscious political hits." Thurston Clarke, Historian, Kennedy Scholar, and Author of Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech that Changed America
"This script degrades Joe Kennedy, Catholicism and Irish heritage and makes their real life characters into cartoon characters; they not only have to reduce Joe Kennedy to a foul mouth, nasty father who would send his son into harm's way to protect the family name, who turns son-against-son, child-against-child, who cavorts openly with a mistress...all of which is caricature. It makes fun of his Catholicism, and it makes fun of his Irish heritage and that's just unacceptable." David Nasaw, Professor of American History and Chairman of the Center for the Humanities, Graduate Center of the City University of New York
"The travesty of The History Channel's characterization of the real John F. Kennedy is absolute rubbish. To me it's a Republican version of Joseph P. Kennedy that was trotting out twenty or thirty years ago. It was trotted out when JFK was campaigning for president. It was the notion that here was a very powerful figure with a lot of money who was going to dictate what happened to the United States and therefore, the world." Nigel Hamilton, Senior Fellow in the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston
"It struck me that the writer wanted to tell as distorted a story as possible, and find very little in the Kennedy years that possessed any dignity what so ever. A lot of it is designed to basically make John F. Kennedy look like a fool." Rick Perlstein, American Historian and Journalist
*Variety, March 25, 2009 Kennedy mini: The View from the Right http://www.variety.com/
** The New York Times, December 14, 2009 Joel Surnow Takes on the Kennedys http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.