Once Upon a Time, Hollywood Helped U.S. Image Abroad

Conn Carroll /

On his recent trip to Eastern Europe (including Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania), Heritage foreign policy analyst Jim Phillips was struck by both the prevalence and the ultimate source of conspiracy theories about the United States. In an upcoming memo, he writes:

In particular, young people cited the influence of American movies, which have boosted the popularity of many conspiracy theories. They repeatedly referred to Fahrenheit 9/11, the slanted diatribe created by leftist provocateur Michael Moore. They had difficulty sorting fact from fiction in Moore’s “mockumentary,” a film that mimicked a documentary to disseminate its propagandistic views. The students also referred to Zeitgeist, a more recent documentary-style rehash of conspiracy theories concerning the Catholic Church, the 9/11 attacks and U.S. economic policy.

Much of the anti-American disinformation that is eagerly consumed overseas comes not from governments but from Hollywood. A frequent theme in American-made movies is the threat posed by rogue agencies within the U.S. government or by predatory American corporations that seek world domination. In Hollywood’s jaundiced view, the root cause of terrorism and of many of the Middle East’s chronic problems can be traced back to U.S. foreign policy.

Read his full report below: