Will Smith, Adolf Hitler and a wolf in sheep’s clothing

The most bizarre story over the holiday weekend was the business of actor Will Smith and statements attributed to him by a Scottish newspaper.

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement saying that they “welcome and accept” Smith’s statement that Hitler was a “vicious killer” and that it’s clear that Smith didn’t intend for his Hitler remarks to be construed as praise. “He took immediate steps to clarify his words and unequivocally condemn Hitler as an evil person.”

Well, thank God THAT’s over.

Or is it?

This began with an interview with the Scottish newspaper the Daily Record, which quoted Smith as saying “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘Let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ ” Some, including the ADL and other Jewish organizations, felt Smith was saying Hilter was basically a good guy — something no self-respecting person is even allowed to think.

So Smith went on the defensive and called it an outrageous lie, adding he was “incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such (a) ludicrous misinterpretation.” Damn straight.

That would’ve been fine, but then he made a terribly frightening statement:

“It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen.”

Let’s get off the emotional frenzy of Nazi evil for a minute and think about that statement. If you don’t like what somebody says, one of the first things people do in their own defense is to attack the person making the statement. Will Smith is making the case that the reporter who wrote the story is ignorant, that such people are dangerous when armed with a pen, and — parenthetically, perhaps — that this is something we shouldn’t tolerate. Scotland doesn’t abide by our First Amendment, but the very foundation of a free press is that the gal with the pen gets to decide what she can publish.

We’re at a critical juncture on the free press road in this country. A handful of extremely influential deans of journalism schools joined together last week to suggest in a New York Times op-ed piece that licensing requirements for broadcast companies ought to include a demonstrable commitment to local reporting. What kind of unintended consequences could that bring with it? The fears expressed by journalists that bloggers and other practitioners of personal media are destroying democracy are getting louder. And this Will Smith business will now join other similar exceptions to the rule — such as the John Seigenthaler case against Wikipedia — in arming those who choose to defend the status quo rather than work to find their role in the new world.

Moreover, Will Smith is an actor. He did the interview in the first place to promote his new film. He’s paid to do that; it’s part of the deal. If you’ve ever seen any of these kinds of interviews, you know that they are staged to the point of being a press release. Honestly, folks, is Will Smith talking about his new movie news? The point is that reporters seize the opportunity to probe for what they consider “real” news, and these efforts don’t always come out kindly for the actors being interviewed. This is why many refuse to do them or set such rigid rules in place that the interviews are what THEY want them to be: unpaid commercials for the film.

So are we really surprised when a reporter picks a piece from an interview and writes an unkind story?

I’ll bet the Daily Record set a record of some sort with this, too.

I’m SUCH a bloody cynic.

Comments

  1. In a left-handed sort of way, perhaps this incident of monumental asininity is an overall positive. We’ve finally reached the point, as a culture, where even black guys are required to issue clarifications of remarks that no one of reasonable intelligence could’ve possibly interpreted as support for evil. LOL.

  2. You leave “the emotional frenzy of Nazi evil” to engage in another emotional frenzy. Smith said nothing about limiting freedom of the press. He simply pointed out the power of an ignorant person with a pen. Something we see all the time. You go way overboard in your conjecture. If Smith had a history, it’d be different. But, he doesn’t. He’s pointing out a case of “The pen is mightier than the sword” in which the pen is in the hands of a second rate reporter.

    I’m much more concerned about the “Fairness” Doctrine which is supported by some elected officials. And, some of the limits the FCC has put on TV/radio broadcasts.

  3. Thanks for the comment, M. I’ll admit to taking liberties with Smith’s statement, but it doesn’t change the point, for somewhere, somebody will use it to make the argument that there is legitimate and illegitimate journalism and that the latter ought not be tolerated for the sake of democracy. Emotional? Perhaps.

  4. somewhere, somebody will use it to make the argument that there is legitimate and illegitimate journalism and that the latter ought not be tolerated for the sake of democracy. Emotional? Perhaps.

    Oh, that’s already happening. Instapundit provides some good examples (mostly “legitimate” journalists vs. “illigetimate” journalists). And, emotions appropriate too for that matter when directed in the right direction. I just don’t see Smith as any threat at all and he’s being lambasted by some. (I don’t think you lambast him. But, from what I just saw on cable news, it’s happening.)

    Hitler was a mad man. God knows what he thought when he woke up each day. I doubt Hitler perceived himself as evil although he was one of th most evil persons in history. Smith’s mistake was using Hitler as an example. The only example Hitler is good for is that of an evil mad man. But, it is also a mistake to overreact to Smith. It’s no wonder celebrities want staged, scripted interviews.

  5. joachim lefranc says

    Dear Sir,

    It is quite interesting to see the power of the Jews in America. They can condemn anyone who thinks freely and speak without fear about politics. They are ready to boycot a movie or an actor if he dares say something which could be interpreted as harmful to the Jewish community in the world. Will Smtih had to apologize about a basic truth : everybody thinks he handles good in his own eyes otherwise he would not do it. The Bible says about the same and nobody complains.

    It is quite obvious that the chancellor of Germany did a lot of good things besides the deportation of the Jews which was a desaster for his country and a calamity for this people. But Adolf Hitler built a lot of highways in Germany he built a great Olympiastadion in Berlin, he built a airport Tempelhof in Berlin, he planted VW factory. I am sure alot of Jews drive a VW and never compain about this invention of Adolf Hitler. He was not the incarnation of Evil but a politician who leads his country to the collapse with the help of lot of supporters and many adversaries.
    Let me remind you that people said that the last emperor of Germany Wilhelm II was the incarnation of evil until 1940. And the same was sais about Napoleon; He was also regarded as the incarnation of evil.
    It is time that people try to judg the history of the second world war as an exchange of bad intentions : The German had their share under lthe leading of Adolf Hitler but the allies had theirs too. War was the evil and the forestanders of war were criminal on both sides.
    The same can be said today!

  6. Will Smith? Oh no, another victim. Didn’t anyone tell him that he can’t talk about the ONLY victims in the human history? I hope that he doesn’t go to the next step and start blaming the new generation of the victims of WWII?

    Unlike Will Smith, I am not going to be paid for saying my opinion. God gave me this right, and no law can take it away from me. However, I can’t deny that if someone is stronger than me, they can shut me up. Jungle laws, are what we live by nowadays.

    Survival for the fittest!

    But allow me to rebel for a moment and say something about the new generation of Adolf Hitler’s victims’ decendents.
    The new generation of some of the WWII’s victims live right next to where I live; in fact they live in my country and I live outside of it.
    This generation learned and mastered one thing after the tragedy of WWII atrocities, how to be worse than the Oppressor. They are doing great job so far, I believe there will be more to see in the future. They came to a country, used to be called Palestine and now it is called Israel. I used to be sensitive to names myself, but there is a lot more to worry about and be upset about than just renaming the country.
    Israel (A lot call it: the Jewish state, Bush is one of them), this country is above the law. The only country that can punish, abuse, torture, kill, massacre and use all kind of weapons against un-armed people in our modern history. All of that in the name of being victimized in the past!
    What is so scary about this philosophy is that Black people in America have the right to do the same to the whites! The Vietnamese can do the same to the Americans! The Chinese can do the same to the Japanese! The Native Americans (what is known as American Indians) can revenge for all the massacres that have been committed against them by most of the European nations who colonized the continent and called it the USA!

    Journalism and freedom of speech are victims to the Jewish influence on the powerful nations of this time. Because of all that, I am not surprised for what happened to Will Smith or anyone else who says what they think out loud.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Terry Heaton discusses the controversy that erupted after actor Will Smith said the following: “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘Let me do the most evil thing I can do today’. […]

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