Both sides are wrong on Hollywood! (1-24-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 24, 1941)

By Jimmy Fidler

Both sides wrong!

It’s a bit difficult for me to decide which is the more ridiculous – Senator Burton K. Wheeler, with the blanket charges that the movie industry has deliberately propagandized for international hatred and war, or Hollywood, with its asinine efforts to deny the molehill of truth that underlies the publicity-seeking solon’s accusations.

Admittedly, the film industry has laid itself open to such attacks by turning out pictures that reeked propaganda. I have often quarreled with such movies. BUT I’VE NEVER SAID THE STUDIOS MADE THEM WITH THE DELIBERATE AIM OF SENDING THIS COUNTRY TO WAR!

I have said – and I believe it is true – that in at l;east the majority of cases, our producers were convinced such films would reap huge profits. And unfortunately, when as producer thinks in terms of box office, he is blind to all else.

So, I am positive the several propaganda movies were the result of stupidity, and not of all malicious intent to incite our citizenry to rush from theaters to arsenals. In other words, the same greed for the almighty dollar that causes producers to make movies they know will rile censors, induces them to make pictures that they know will take the U.S. one step closer to war.

Hollywood could learn a lesson from the tempest of hot air generated by the Senator from Montana, to wit: Quit sticking out its darn fool neck by tampering with controversial subjects, political issues and such – and make movies for entertainment only.