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Book Review - CIA in Hollywood

The CIA In Hollywood is a must read and fascinating investigation of how the Agency effects its image in films.  Tricia Jenkins uses interviews with the Agency’s public affairs staff, operations officers, and historians, as well as with Hollywood producers, technical consultants, and screenwriters who have worked with the Agency to determine how it shapes its image in film.  After 9/11, the CIA’s image has gradually improved in film and television program.  She addresses how the CIA allows access to its resources and buildings in return for approval of and possible changes to scripts. Jenkins delves into the CIA’s role in the production of Argo,  The Agency, In the Company of Spies, Alias, The Recruit, The Sum of All Fears, Enemy of the State, Syriana, The Good Shepherd, and more; however, she misses the boat on the film, Argo in which the CIA exaggerates its role at the expense of the Canadian role – see   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_%282012_film%29 when she relies solely on information from CIA sources.  The author ends the book by raises important issues about the ethics and legality of a government agency like the CIA using popular media to manipulate its public image.

Agencies like the CIA or say the army are similar to product placements that are placed in the film.  They are there to make you have a favourable view of the CIA or the product being placed – in this case it is the CIA.  While the placement of products in the film can make watchers buy them, the placement of violent guns can make us more accepting of war – a film can make us want to see another party dead – a perhaps immoral act that we would not otherwise agree to – that can may us agree to a war on terror or to spend billions on national defence.  When you watch your next film, look out for product placements – both of products and of government agencies and ideas.

Category: Educational
Start Date: 2014-12-25
End Date: 2015-01-31
Venue: Public Library or a Book store near you

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