Writing in The National Interest yesterday, Susan Schmidt alerts American readers to an apparently egregious instance of foreign lobbying through the silver screen. Observes Schmidt:
Hollywood movies, the bête noire of conservative Muslim culture, are an unusual investment for Middle Eastern oil magnates. But the United Arab Emirates, the fourth-largest energy producer in the world, has committed $1 billion to bankroll films, some of which conveniently advance its economic interests.
Noting the ostensibly anti-drilling environmental message of films such as “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour” and “Promised Land” being funded by the UAE, Schmidt avers:
The politics of these filmmakers are no secret, but the source of some of the funding may be surprising. Image Nation is owned by a government that stands to benefit by ensuring that the United States remains dependent on Middle Eastern oil for decades.
“Is this a new form of foreign lobbying?” she asks, pointing out that there are laws against this sort of thing.
Unlike American companies, foreign entities are generally required to disclose to the Justice Department not only lobbying but also efforts to influence public opinion in the United States.
The Justice Department’s national-security division, which administers the Foreign Agent Registration Act, faces a host of new challenges in keeping up with public-relations campaigns given the proliferation of social media and television programming, some of it news, sponsored by foreign entities.
So who is this Susan Schmidt that appears to be so concerned about undue foreign influence in the United States?
Apart from being a former longtime reporter for the Washington Post, she just happens to be a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. And as those familiar with the preeminent case of foreign influence in America know all too well, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is one of the key groups that make up the Israel lobby.
Source and full piece: Maidhc Ó Cathail, The Passionate Attachment, 24 Oct 2012