by John Gibson
People aren't going to like hearing this.
It's Sony's fault. True. Sony's fault.
This entire humiliating episode of the cancellation of the release of an American movie on the demand of a lunatic dictator is entirely the fault of the movie studio and it's deranged, deluded, self important, meddling executives.
That's right. Blame Sony.
Oh yes indeed, we're hearing a chorus of average citizens, Hollywood stars, and even marquee politicians like the POTUS himself screeching in high dudgeon, agonized outrage: "We just let a dictator tell us what to do." And yes, it's embarrassing we caved to someone like this particularly odious dictator.
But it's a mistake to put the entire blame on the dictator. That would be missing what actually happened and how Sony brought it on itself through a combination of self delusion and seriously misplaced self importance.
The dictator is, of course, fatboy Kim Jung Un of North Korea. His cyber terrorists hacked in the computer systems of Sony Pictures Entertainment in Hollywood, stole a bunch of email and financial information, and threatened a 9/11 style attack if Sony execs released a movie called "The Interview." The plot (shorter): tv host and producer go to North Korea to interview dictator, instead kill him for the CIA. It's a comedy. The dictator, a Kim Jung Un lookalike who carries the dictator's real name is killed in a comedic climax--his head explodes.
Look, a bunch of things about this story are not shocking. Namely:
-That a stoner movie star like Seth Rogen and his partner James Franco would make a movie that offends somebody somewhere. That's what they do.
-That the real Kim Jung Un wouldn't like the very idea of the movie, much less the scene in which his head explodes.
-That Kim would issue all kinds of blustery threats to get Sony to stop it.
-That Sony ignored him --at least at first.
And it certainly was not much of a shock once the dictator threatened 9/11 scale terrorism if the movie came out that Sony lawyers would get nervous about lawsuits if the threats were carried out and people such as movie-goers or Sony employees were injured or killed.
Plus, no surprise that Sony headquarters in Japan would call Hollywood subordinates screaming, reminding them that the dictator has missiles that can reach Japan and Sony HQ is not interested in provoking him.
And definitely not a news flash that First Amendment types here in the U.S. would be outraged that any government, much less a foreign government, was censoring an American movie.
That the U.S. government would look on all of the above and issue pieties about the sanctity of our Freedom of Speech? Sorry, no shock.
But even after all that there really is a shocker, a holy-crap moment, as detailed in the stolen emails: the role played a member of the U.S. based Sony Pictures Entertainment board of directors. This mind blower was revealed in the Daily Beast.
It appears that a top Sony executive thought the movie might well do the world a favor by bringing on the actual assassination of the North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un.
According to the stolen emails, Micheal Lynton, a member of both the Sony board of directors (U.S.) and the board of the Rand Corporation, brought on a Rand expert on North Korea for advice on what effect the movie might have on the North Korean dictator.
That expert, Bruce Bennett, wrote to Lynton about the ending of the movie, where the audience sees Kim Jung Un's head explode.
"I have been clear that the assassination of Kim Jong-Un is the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government," Bennett said. "Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will). So from a personal perspective, I would personally prefer to leave the ending alone."
In other words, it wouldn't be a bad thing to provoke someone to kill Kim.
Sony's Lynton responded, saying he'd just spoken to someone "very senior in State" (the U.S. Department of State) and "He agreed with everything you have been saying. Everything."
So at this point we have a very high ranking Sony executive consulting with a North Korea expert in a think tank which does work for the U.S. government who both agree that it would be a very good thing if the movie managed to induce someone in either South Korea or North Korea to assassinate Kim Jung Un. And they both seem to come to same conclusion that in order to further this goal they would not change the ending scene in which the dictator's head explodes.
To emphasize, the email exchange shows someone "very senior" in the U.S. government agrees with "everything (repeat) everything" the expert has said.
And we know that by hacking Sony, the North Koreans have seen this email exchange.
In addition, the emails accessed by the North Koreans show that Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human-rights issues, was helping to consult on the film by way of aforementioned assassination-favoring expert Bruce Bennett, and that envoy "did not appear worried (about North Korea's reaction) and clearly wanted to leave any decisions (on the movie ending) up to Sony."
Once again--North Korea's hacking exposed to the dictator Kim Jung Un the chatter about U.S. officials colluding with a movie company to induce someone to assassinate him.
Seriously... what did anyone expect Kim to do?
We know he's a deranged dictator. We know he's been firing missiles into the Sea of Japan and has threatened to fire missiles over the islands of Japan. We know all the stories about executing his uncle, a former adviser, in an abrupt and brutal manner. We know the stories about the execution of a former girlfriend because the new wife was jealous. We know he is erratic, impulsive, brash, and possessed of insanely bad judgment.
Sony left an email trail that showed it wasn't just a movie, but a serious call to kill Kim Jung Un.
At least you could expect Kim Jung Un to think so.
Since when do we countenance air-heads in Hollywood hijacking U.S. foreign policy? Since when do we side with Hollywood types thinking they can "move the needle", change the world scene, rid the world of a pariah via a movie? Imagine if it had achieved that goal, we'd be treated to the preening, self absorbed, deluded film industry types high-fiving at star studded cocktail parties and leaking word they'd brought down a world wide scourge no legitimate government had been able to touch.
It's no secret the Obama administration is cozy with Hollywood. Is it to much to ask that the President tell his people to call their people and remind them that assassination of foreign leaders--even hilariously despicable ones--is the job of the CIA not pot smoking movie stars.
Please. Can we make that call?