I hate to keep picking on Oliver Stone since he’s got one of the few shows on TV worth watching. I mean, TV is a real wasteland these days. I sometimes find myself watching the BBC channel because nothing better is on. Even Chef Ramsey is better than most American TV shows and the BBC often has better movies than its American counterparts. But back to Stone. His series on American history has been fun to watch, even if there’s little in it that I didn’t know before. But it’s the parts being left out that really amaze me.
The best example so far is Stone’s retelling of the JFK assassination, a subject he covered in depth in a previous feature film, where the evidence of CIA involvement was marshaled. Even though that film was built around a great American hero, Judge Jim Garrison, the courageous judge is not even mentioned once in the series? Huh? Even more astounding, Stone never mentions any details of the plot. We know today that Johnny Roselli bragged to many people about being one of the shooters and was paid $50,000 by his boss Sam Giancana, although Giancana later told his brother the money came from the Texas oil crowd (Hunt, Murchison) via the CIA. Why does Stone back off the facts and not go after the CIA on JFK?
Even more mysterious is how Stone handles 9/11, backing up the fiction that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the event. There’s so much evidence of a coverup in 9/11 it would take several books to cover all the mysteries, but none of the evidence even enters the picture as Stone buys into the fiction that the event took the Pentagon by surprise. Just detailing the Pentagon strike and how that plane did a curlicue in order to hit an office near the ground floor where financial corruption was being investigated, when that pilot could have much easier just made a direct hit on the offices of the Joint Chiefs, which was a straight-line target that didn’t involve any expert maneuvers.
But there are some really good things in the show. Like the detailing of the Bush family relationship with the Nazis. And the fact Standard Oil and other Rockefeller companies did business with the Nazis throughout the war, and sometimes even seemed to be giving them preferential treatment over the allies when it came to crucial war supplies. The German Luftwaffe depended on fuel made only by Standard Oil throughout the war.
The series has been fun to watch, but it also seems pretty rushed, like they wrote a voice-over script in a few days and then slapped a bunch of royalty-free video clips around it, and then stuck in some Hollywood movie clips to provide some color against the grainy black and white newsreels. But the series could have been a lot more informative had Stone just lifted a few more rocks. For example, he mentions the Trilateral Commission set-up by the Rockefellers, but never mentions their earlier and probably more important power center: The Council on Foreign Relations, where the center of energy on political power in America can often be found.