Posted by: Joe Eds | March 16, 2010

The Right takes on Tom Hanks

The right’s flag pole is patriotism. Whenever that flag is threatened – they rally. They see the HBO mini-series The Pacific, produced by liberal Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, such a threat. Those two must be torn down!

Tom Hanks was on Morning Joe on MSNBC March 5th promoting the mini-series, in that long 20-minute sit down he did make a comment about racism being a factor in the context of the war. Discussing that combat in the Pacific theater of WWII, host Joe Scarborough offered that it was much more “brutal” than in Europe, and had “zero rules of engagement.” Hanks responds that he thinks racism was a factor and that many soldiers felt they had to “kill them all.”

O’Reilly went after him (clip below) as did Michael Savage (clip here). These guys have made a living degrading “Hollywood Liberals”. Hanks is one said of those liberals (long time DNC donor, advocate of gay rights and environmental causes). With his statement Savage and O’Reilly claim that Hanks thinks our country is racist, he is mocking our veterans, Hollywood hates the military and our whole country, you get the gist.

Here’s Hanks on Morning Joe. The comment comes at the 3:45 mark 

Here’s O’Reilly spinning the Tom Hanks comment on his show.

Classic case of blowing a comment out of proportion and more importantly out of context. Hanks clearly did not say we attacked Japan because of race, just that the intensity of the hand-to-hand / face-to-face combat could be seen as more intense because of race. This story hasn’t gotten too much traction, just a few conservative web sites, but it’s one of “those” stories that could catch on. We’ll see.

Clip of CNS reporter approaching Hanks at The Pacific premiere in Washington D.C. about the “racism” comment. It’d be fair to say Hanks gets snippy toward the end, but also fair to say he gives an intelligent response.  Here’s a story from the same news organization, CNS News, with Hanks’ response to the O’Reilly segment:

Hanks: “I’m an actor talking about my work. I don’t know what kind of sniping that is. Down through history, there has always been a brand of organ that is communicating one type of ideology. If you can go back to the times of the election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, that was a poison pen of a campaign and there were newspapers that spread outright lies about each side. I don’t mean to let, I probably let slip something that might have been more of my personal judgment more than anything else but, look, everybody has a TV show to do — that’s fine. Anybody can say anything they want to about this in our great big America. There’s room for everything.”

I’ll conclude this post with another article about Hanks and The Pacific where he comforted a veteran at a ceremony before the DC premiere. You tell me who’s patriotic.



  1. Having watched the video of Hanks on Morning Joe, I think it’s perfectly obvious what he’s saying: The war in the Pacific involved brutal conditions, everyone was scared shitless (that’s the “war of terror” part) and both sides were from cultures that were completely alien to one another (that’s the “war of racism” part). These ingredients are a perfect mixed for bringing out the most vicious and murderous aspects of human nature. Hence, “kill them all.”

    It’s a perfectly sane and reasonable observation to make about the Pacific theater, and I think it shows an admirable acknowledgment of the realities of the human condition. To call what Hanks said “anti-American” seems to me to indicate a belief that patriotism requires believing that every American, especially American soldiers, will everywhere and always behave as saints no matter how bad things get. Which is just head-thumpingly absurd.

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