File under: “Old News”
In 2003, ahead of a U.S. attack on Iraq, a robust anti-war movement in Hollywood included a TV commercial starring Martin Sheen and Sean Penn visiting Baghdad. There were online petitions signed by Ed Asner; letters to President George W. Bush pleading for peace were signed by Matt Damon, Tim Robbins, Barbra Streisand and Alec Baldwin; former M*A*S*H star Mike Farrell fronted multiple press conferences where celebrities denounced war. In interviews, Janeane Garofalo stopped identifying herself as an actor — she preferred to be called a member of the U.S. anti-war movement. [Because that acting career was really going gangbusters, wasn't it? Ed.]
The good news for President Barack Obama as he considers a military response against Syria for using chemical weapons against rebels is that he probably won’t have to deal with a similar anti-war movement from Hollywood. But that’s not because there isn’t opposition. It’s just not organized, and, as Asner and Farrell – two of the industry’s most vocal progressive activists — told The Hollywood Reporter Friday, perhaps it never will be.
“What he is talking about in Syria is a potential war crime,” Farrell said. “It will be illegal, and if citizens are killed it certainly could be considered a war crime.”
Another reason some Hollywood progressives have been reticent to speak out against war in Syria, according to Asner, is fear of being called racist.
“A lot of people don’t want to feel anti-black by being opposed to Obama,” he said.
That covers all criticism of President Obama. Their beloved Chris Matthews would turn on them in a heartbeat. “Lou Grant is Bull Connor!” And the corollary is also true: all praise of Obama is purely pro-black. You don’t need to hear it from me; listen to Ed Asner (just this once).