Oliver Stone Attacks Me: Here is my Answer, Oliver.
What one can note from Stone’s letter is that he does not even seek to answer any of the main points I make in my PJM blog, or to refute any of the specific obvious distortions Stone makes in the movie. For example, he does not answer the following charge I made in the WSJ op-ed:
The film depicts the ups and downs of Mr. Chávez's rise to power, including his failed 1992 coup. It recounts how he was saved from death by armed forces loyal to him, and was brought back to power in large part by Gen. Raul Baduel. The general is shown discussing the role he played in Mr. Chávez's restoration.
A small detail Mr. Stone conveniently leaves out is that in 2009, Gen. Baduel, who Mr. Chávez had appointed as defense minister, was stripped of power, indicted for corruption, and imprisoned because he had opposed Mr. Chávez's attempts to institute constitutional changes that would transform Venezuela into a formal dictatorship.
Instead, he cites his own lengthy answer to the devastating article that appeared in the New York Times by Larry Rohter. Rohter, I am sure, will write his own answer to Stone.
By sending his letter criticizing me to HNN, and not to PJM, where my post originally appeared, Stone has revealed something about himself. HNN is a site read mostly by professional historians, whose respect Stone obviously is most anxious to get. He knows that most of them, even many on the left, know that his penchant is to distort history and to present the past as one giant conspiracy, a trait most revealed in his film JFK.
So Stone wants to distort history and present agitprop propaganda, while passing it off as genuine history. The problem is that the goal is irreconcilable. He can do one or the other, and not both. Then he is obviously burned when anyone from the historical community writes to expose his methodology. He wants to dish it out, but obviously, he can’t take it. Mr. Stone, it turns out, is very thin-skinned. Or perhaps no one is going to the theaters to see South of the Border. That is the best revenge we all can have for his paean to a would-be Leninist dictator in our hemisphere.