It was bound to happen. One of America's most beloved actors — a modern day Jimmy Stewart — has decided to go all political, alienating half the people who love him.
Yes, America is pretty much evenly divided, has been for years, decades even. So actors and singers and athletes and performers of every kind necessarily risk displeasing half their fans when they take a political stance. And yet they do it every day.
Except for Tom Hanks. The two-time Academy Award winner has, for much of his career, steered clear of politics. Even when Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Hanks said: "We'll all be OK," and "I hope the president-elect does such a great job that I vote for his reelection in four years."
"We are going to be all right because we constantly get to tell the world who we are. We constantly get to define ourselves as Americans. We do have the greatest country in the world. We move at a slow pace. We have the greatest country in the world because we are always moving towards a more perfect union," he said shortly after the election.
But that was all before he was hawking his new movie about The Washington Post, called, smartly, "The Post," which opens December 22. The movie depicts journalists from The Post and The New York Times working to expose a cover-up that spanned four U.S. presidents by publishing the Pentagon Papers, which dealt with U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Hanks stars as editor Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep plays publisher Katherine Graham.
Now, suddenly, Hanks is an expert on American history and an outspoken opponent of All Things Trump — even comparing him to Richard Nixon.
In an interview on Thursday, journalist Howard Kurtz asked the actor, "Do you see parallels between the Nixon panels in this film and the current climate? You’ve talked about President Trump’s insidious campaign against the media and monkeying around with the Constitution?"
Hanks said, "I believe that the Nixon administration at the time did a full frontal assault on the First Amendment by trying to keep, literally trying to stop the press from publishing. I don’t know. You can’t do that and still have the United States of America. I think the current administration and their like-minded allies are waging a guerrilla war on the First Amendment.
"Not quite as overt, but by deluding the job they do in order to establish what the truth is you when you, sort of, raise the legitimacy of those people who are not interested in the truth whatsoever and are putting forth a specific sort of agenda," he said.
Huh. Hanks doesn't mention the "specific sort of agenda" being pushed by the liberal media. Oh well.
The actor has been on a tear of late, teaching an impromptu course on American politics and the Constitution. In a CNN interview December 5 on CNN — interviewed by David Axelrod, a former adviser to Barack Obama — Hanks decried Trump's use of the term "fake news."
"As an American, it concerns me, because it’s monkeying around with our Constitution. It’s relatively obvious, I think, as what is trying to go forward. When you tear down these institutions to a level and say you can’t believe anything that is in any of them, that raises the stock of those agenda-filled other institutions and whatnot so that if you can’t believe them, well that means you get to believe some of the other stuff that is in these and so what is happening is that dilution, the dilution of the great … they’re throwing dirt and oil into a bucket of water. So it all becomes undrinkable after a while. ...
“I think what the current administration is doing — I don’t know that they’re saying, ‘We have to shut them down so they don’t publish anymore.’ What is happening is something that is more subtle and more insidious," he said. "“Other governments in the past who have said, ‘Look, we can’t shut them down because that will cause outrage, but we can denigrate them. We can call them names. We can tell people that those are not the facts.’ That’s what he is saying,” Hanks said of Trump.
Hollywood and the liberal elite have been pressing the notion for more than a year that Trump is exactly like Nixon, and that the supposed collusion with Russia during the election is exactly like Watergate. It isn't, but Hanks is now selling a movie, so why not cash in on the liberal angst and just say so?
Steven Spielberg, director of "The Post," is also pushing the idea.
“There’s a lot of excitement when you talk about stolen papers and government secrets and an administration attacking the press to stop the truth from being told,” Spielberg told The Hollywood Reporter at Washington’s Newseum. “That all happened in 1971, but it’s kind of kind of evocative of things that are also part of the current landscape. And so we thought that was a story that couldn’t wait to be told.”
What's truly frightening is how Hollywood — and now, Hanks himself — is rewriting history to fit its narrow, and completely false, vision of American politics.
And Hanks doesn't know it yet, but he might've just lost half his fans.