Material From Suspicious Sources Don’t Always Merit Dismissal

Dave Killion — January 5, 2013

Matt Damon’s new film “Promised Land” has drawn some criticism thanks to a conservative think-tank. The Heritage Foundation has raised concerns about the movie’s financing –

“A new film starring Matt Damon presents American oil and natural gas producers as money-grubbing villains purportedly poisoning rural American towns. It is therefore of particular note that it is financed in part by the royal family of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates”….”While left-leaning Hollywood often targets supposed environmental evildoers, Promised Landwas also produced “in association with” Image Media Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, according to the preview’s list of credits. A spokesperson with DDA Public Relations, which runs PR for Participant Media, the company that developed the film fund backingPromised Land, confirmed that AD Media is a financier. The company is wholly owned by the government of the UAE.”

Like everyone else, I have my biases. Even so, although I may approach material with a presumption that it is wrong (or right) depending on its source, I judge that material on the strength of its arguments. To dismiss material because of its source is, I think,  a form of intellectual bigotry, and unsuited to any serious scholar. And I don’t think I ever concern myself with the motives of the material provider, which is largely irrelevant. Now, there are obviously things wrong with “Promised Land” (chiefly, that it stinks), but I think Heartland is kicking up more of a fuss than this merits.

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