Intimidating a studio to drop a film is outrageous - unless the Clintons do it

Jack Hellner points out that some studio project cancelations under intimidation don’t seem to bother the mainstream media very much.  Remember this?  Amy Chozick and Bill Carter wrote in the New York Times, September 30, 2013:

The ideas seemed simple enough: a documentary on CNN and an NBC mini-series that would capitalize on the popularity of one of the world’s most visible public figures. But nothing is simple when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The ideas seemed simple enough: a documentary on CNN and an NBC mini-series that would capitalize on the popularity of one of the world’s most visible public figures. But nothing is simple when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

On Monday, the networks said they were abandoning their projects, bringing to an end two initiatives that were announced with much fanfare over the summer.

To be sure, Republicans were concerned about puff pieces helping a Rodham Clinton candidacy for the presidency.  But since when does the GOP have any sway in Hollywood?  More to the point:

[Rodham Clinton] aides trying to guard her image privately grumbled about the projects, according to a person close to Mrs. Clinton who would not discuss private conversations for attribution.

The aides expressed concern to CNN that a for-profit documentary, which would be released theatrically and broadcast on CNN, would pose a potential conflict with its news coverage, especially since the cable channel had no creative control over it. They contended that the NBC mini-series, while not a direct conflict with the separately run NBC News division, would try to enhance ratings by focusing on the more melodramatic aspects of Mrs. Clinton’s life.

Over coffee at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Georgetown, Mr. Ferguson [filmmaker working on the CNN project] met with Nick Merrill, a press aide to Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Ferguson requested access and interviews to make his documentary.

But what was supposed to be a cordial get-together quickly became confrontational, said the person close to Mrs. Clinton, who was briefed on the meeting. Mr. Ferguson aggressively promoted his résumé — which included the documentary “Inside Job” about Wall Street’s role in the 2008 financial crisis, and a 2007 film, “No End In Sight,” about the American occupation of Iraq. (Mrs. Clinton has strong support on Wall Street, and as a senator in 2002 she voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq.)

Mr. Merrill had not seen Mr. Ferguson’s films, but expressed skepticism about his intentions after he complained to Mr. Merrill that Clinton aides had told potential sources not to cooperate with his documentary. Mr. Ferguson said he felt Mr. Merrill had “interrogated” him and was dismissing the project because of Mr. Ferguson’s history of tough coverage. Both men left the meeting feeling uneasy.

What followed was a three-month tug of war between Clinton aides and Mr. Ferguson, who had planned to explore Mrs. Clinton’s life and career from her days working at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Ark.

On Monday, Mr. Ferguson abandoned the documentary and CNN said it would not find another filmmaker to continue the project. In acommentary posted on The Huffington Post, Mr. Ferguson said pressure from Clinton aides who did not want the film made became too intense. “I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud,” he wrote. “And so I’m canceling.”

I certainly don’t remember howls of outrage over censorship, nor do I recall brave statements from actors denouncing the cowardice.  Kim Jong Un, eat your heart out.  You are an amateur.

Jack Hellner points out that some studio project cancelations under intimidation don’t seem to bother the mainstream media very much.  Remember this?  Amy Chozick and Bill Carter wrote in the New York Times, September 30, 2013:

The ideas seemed simple enough: a documentary on CNN and an NBC mini-series that would capitalize on the popularity of one of the world’s most visible public figures. But nothing is simple when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The ideas seemed simple enough: a documentary on CNN and an NBC mini-series that would capitalize on the popularity of one of the world’s most visible public figures. But nothing is simple when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

On Monday, the networks said they were abandoning their projects, bringing to an end two initiatives that were announced with much fanfare over the summer.

To be sure, Republicans were concerned about puff pieces helping a Rodham Clinton candidacy for the presidency.  But since when does the GOP have any sway in Hollywood?  More to the point:

[Rodham Clinton] aides trying to guard her image privately grumbled about the projects, according to a person close to Mrs. Clinton who would not discuss private conversations for attribution.

The aides expressed concern to CNN that a for-profit documentary, which would be released theatrically and broadcast on CNN, would pose a potential conflict with its news coverage, especially since the cable channel had no creative control over it. They contended that the NBC mini-series, while not a direct conflict with the separately run NBC News division, would try to enhance ratings by focusing on the more melodramatic aspects of Mrs. Clinton’s life.

Over coffee at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Georgetown, Mr. Ferguson [filmmaker working on the CNN project] met with Nick Merrill, a press aide to Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Ferguson requested access and interviews to make his documentary.

But what was supposed to be a cordial get-together quickly became confrontational, said the person close to Mrs. Clinton, who was briefed on the meeting. Mr. Ferguson aggressively promoted his résumé — which included the documentary “Inside Job” about Wall Street’s role in the 2008 financial crisis, and a 2007 film, “No End In Sight,” about the American occupation of Iraq. (Mrs. Clinton has strong support on Wall Street, and as a senator in 2002 she voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq.)

Mr. Merrill had not seen Mr. Ferguson’s films, but expressed skepticism about his intentions after he complained to Mr. Merrill that Clinton aides had told potential sources not to cooperate with his documentary. Mr. Ferguson said he felt Mr. Merrill had “interrogated” him and was dismissing the project because of Mr. Ferguson’s history of tough coverage. Both men left the meeting feeling uneasy.

What followed was a three-month tug of war between Clinton aides and Mr. Ferguson, who had planned to explore Mrs. Clinton’s life and career from her days working at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Ark.

On Monday, Mr. Ferguson abandoned the documentary and CNN said it would not find another filmmaker to continue the project. In acommentary posted on The Huffington Post, Mr. Ferguson said pressure from Clinton aides who did not want the film made became too intense. “I decided that I couldn’t make a film of which I would be proud,” he wrote. “And so I’m canceling.”

I certainly don’t remember howls of outrage over censorship, nor do I recall brave statements from actors denouncing the cowardice.  Kim Jong Un, eat your heart out.  You are an amateur.