Wikileaks Leak Suggests Hollywood Is Better At Preventing Terrorism Than The TSA

from the winning-the-hearts-and-minds dept

While it seems like US politicians keep insisting that Wikileaks' release of State Department cables has put people in harm's way -- despite a lack of evidence to support that -- some are pointing out that at least some of the cables actually show that some of what the US is doing in the Middle East has been quite effective. Prashanth points us to the news that one of the leaks showed that American TV and movies in Saudi Arabia are actually "are doing more to dissuade young Muslims from becoming jihadists than virtually anything else." As the cable noted: "Saudis are now very interested in the outside world and everybody wants to study in the US if they can. They are fascinated by US culture in a way they never were before."

Of course, the same politicians blasting Wikileaks as a "terrorist" organization can't admit that some of the leaks are actually showing that some of what the US is doing is working quite well. As Prasanth notes in his own blog post, if US politicians were smart, they'd use cables like this to play up evidence that they're doing some things well:
I feel like this is along the lines of winning the people's "hearts and minds". The reason why this works is because as opposed to state-sponsored propaganda (which is pretty obvious when shown), this more subtly shows what's so great about the US.

Finally, I think this report is a great send-up of all the politicians who are equating Wikileaks with terrorism. Quite the contrary: while a lot of what it shows is what we've done wrong (and of course these politicians will hypocritically call for press freedom in other countries yet repress it here), it also shows a lot of what we've done right. Why not publicize that more?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    thublihnk (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    We, the content creators, fighting on the front lines in the War on Terror. Can't wait 'till the Breitbarts of the world hear how much Hollywood is really destroying America.

     

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  2.  
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    The eejit (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Wow.

    Well, that's a poetry of the highest order. The big movie studios doing more to dissuade terrorism than the entire DoD.

     

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  3.  
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    mvarre (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 9:39am

    negativity

    This just goes to prove that people still believe (and maybe rightfully so) that negative information has a much larger impact than positive information.

    Sad really

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Uh Oh...

    "one of the leaks showed that American TV and movies in Saudi Arabia are actually "are doing more to dissuade young Muslims from becoming jihadists than virtually anything else.""

    Expect Jack Valenti to trot this out as justification for ACTA being veiled in Nat'l Security....

     

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  5.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    So let me get this straight. Piracy of american movies in Saudi Arabia, prevents terrorism. Go figure ...

     

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  6.  
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    A Dan (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 9:42am

    I heard someone on NPR mention this a few days ago. He or she said that having our normal TV shows is much more effective than the US-sponsored TV channel there, Alhurra.

     

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  7.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Re: Uh Oh...

    Sad that it will probably happen. Sad because ACTA would just stop people watching our movies.

    Just had a silly thought: "piracy, doing more to stop terrorism then the DoD".

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Why don't they classify Wikileaks as "DUH"

    Again, I am really disappointed that crap like this is classified as "secret". All you have to do is read about Hollywood's involvement during WWII and reverse it. Are our elected officials all really this dumb?

     

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  9.  
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    Steven (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:02am

    but, but, but...

    I though

    PIRACY == TERRORISM

    Now you're telling me

    PIRACY == !TERRORISM

    I'm so confused.

     

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  10.  
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    Tor (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    "Wikileaks Leak Suggests Hollywood Is Better At Preventing Terrorism Than The TSA"

    The tougher question is which one is best at coming up with movie plot threats? ;)

    Seriously though, this is an interesting perspective. I wonder if we haven't seen a transition from poor people envying the living standard in the USA to people in other countries being fascinated by american life style and values. I heard a foreign reporter some time ago talk about how big influence american soap operas had on people's ideas about gender equality in some arabic countries.

     

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  11.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Anytime now...

    We'll be hearing about the DoD sending the MPAA a C&D, over 'brand dilution' or some such nonsense.

    (LOL)

    ; P

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Doesn't really surprise me. Access to Western media and information also played a large role in breaking down the USSR's propaganda machine.

     

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  13.  
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    Jeremy, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Baywatch

    What the article didn't say is thanks to Baywatch young muslims also want to move to LA and become lifeguards too.

     

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  14.  
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    Richard Kulawiec, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    That's precisely correct and bears repeating in very large, bold type as many times as necessary until the lesson sinks in. (Which for some, unfortunately, it never will.)

    Which is why we should have kept the troops at home and flooded those countries with laptops loaded with as much content as we could cram onto their hard drives. Much cheaper, much safer, far more disruptive.

     

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  15.  
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    Joe Blue Jeans, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Totally Agree. The bread lines, repression, and stasis of Soviet society simply could not compete with a culture that looked fun, harmless, and most importantly free.

    Sure, there will probably be a fringe element where that sort of thing just makes them angry, but you'll convince a lot more of the people worth persuading, rational everymen and women.

     

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  16.  
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    Joe Blue Jeans, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: Baywatch

    They're going to have a tough time getting here running in slow motion.

     

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  17. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Bubba Nicholson, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Wikileaks suggests the obvious

    My propaganda (wrote OF LOVE B0030MIG24 Hillary's Angel B002TSB0ZU, Invented Inclusive Found cure for crime, addiction, perversion, suicide Proposed GA's HOPE ScholarshipProgram/BrightFutures Poems for DeadPoetsSociety &sax solo, lyrics for "Light&Day" Spotless Mind
    FilmingStarWarswasmyideaStories,characters,speeches&concepts(asForce,Jedi,Code)AFewGoodMen ,Aladdin,Alexander,AmericanBeauty,AmericanPresident,Apocalypto,Armageddon,AustinPowers,Avatar,TheAvi ator,BacktotheFuture,Bandits,Batman,BeautifulMind,BenjaminButton,BigFish,BigLabowski,BourneIdentity( myhandprint),Braveheart,ABronxTale,BruceAlmighty,CastAway,CatchMeifYouCan,CharlieandtheChocolateFact ory,ChroniclesofNarnia,CityofAngels,Cloverfield,ColdMountain,CrouchingTigerHiddenDragon,DaVinciCode, TheDayAfterTomorrow,DeepImpact,Elf,EnemyoftheState,EternalSunshineoftheSpotlessMind,FindingNemo,Flyb oys,ForrestGump,GalaxyQuest,Gattaca,Gladiator,GreenMile,GoodWillHunting,Hellboy,Hook,Identity,Incept ion,IndependenceDay,IngloriousBasterds,IRobot,TheIsland,Jaws(styrofoamcup),JourneytotheCenteroftheEa rth,Juno,LadyKillers,LemonySnicket,LOR,LostinTranslation,TheMask,TheMatrix,MeettheParents,TheMexican ,MinorityReport,Munich,MysticRiver,MysticPizza,NationalTreasure,NeverBeenKissed,NightattheMuseum,OhG od!,PassionoftheChrist,ThePatriot,PiratesoftheCaribbean,Pleasantville,PrincessFrog,RaidersoftheLostA rk,RemembertheTitans,RoadtoPerdition,RunawayBride,SavingPrivateRyan,Schindler'sList,ShawshankRedepti on,Shrek,Signs,SimpsonsMovie,6thSense,SleepyHollow,SomethingAboutMary,SpaceCowboys,Spiderman,TheTerm inal,300,Titanic,Troy,TrumanShow,Unbreakable,VforVendetta,VanillaSky,TheVillage,WagtheDog,WaroftheWo rlds,WeddingCrashers,WhatWomenWant,WhatLiesBeneath,WildThings,WildWildWest.MorningEdition,Simpsons,T heVisitor,JAG,TouchedbyanAngel,Bones,Justice,House,Lost,Numbers,Kings,Fringe,Glee) is better than Bush crony propaganda? Well, duh.

     

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  18.  
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    Hoeppner, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Wow.

    People would have never need a reason to look further from home about the US, if the DoD was never stomping around.

     

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  19.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Dec 10th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    They are fascinated by US culture in a way they never were before."
    Yeah, kill and mutilate thousands of our kids and not broadcast a single iota of it I'd be a bit curious too.

     

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  20.  
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    Jose_X, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 6:01pm

    SHOCK!!!

    Do you mean that playing instead of fighting is an attractive feature to humans the world over?

     

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  21.  
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    Jose_X, Dec 10th, 2010 @ 6:21pm

    Two classes of money (holy living money and play money)

    >> Do you mean that playing instead of fighting is an attractive feature to humans the world over?

    This is one reason why I like fair markets with many competitive players if possible and no one too strong. It enables more people to play rather than for many to have to worry about fighting (to get food, shelter, etc) frequently.

    It's also why I am intolerant of the very wealthy's approach when they keep leveraging their easier and easier dollars to add more and more pressure to those that don't have access to a similar quantity of dollars and levers.

    Dollars for food, shelter, education, and basics come first as a human requirement so that all people can eventually be peaceful and play. Afterward, we can divy up the remaining bucks over time to play our games, hopefully with some degree of "reset" mechanism (eg, progressive taxes) so that the same players aren't always starting each year with a huge lead over everyone else. If you always start off with a big lead and many levers, all else being equal, you end up each year with a bigger lead and more levers (until you slip from the diminishing players that are the cream of the crop and get pressured back towards the masses). Think of Monopoly the board game.

    Sure, this may sound crazy to some ears, but it's a pretty interesting way to live I think. We need to make sure there are two distinct categories of dollars: (a) those that apply to the basics (we can find jobs, and we can do our chores to earn these, perhaps a la "to each according to need from those according to ability") and (b) those dollars that apply to our games.

    As a small way to impact legislation in the US at this very moment, consider letting each of your two Senators know that you don't support reinstating the 2yr tax cuts on easy money (money for the top 2%). These people are loaded with levers (including holding huge cash reserves that have become inaccessible to the rest of us).

    Having a fair playing field and a genuine opportunity is a part of thwarting terrorism and of enabling the potential of the "American Dream", no matter who you are or where you live.

     

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