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Bad litigation, good films

John Nolte, editor in chief of the conservative entertainment blog Big Hollywood, has just completed a fun bit of list journalism reviewing "The Top 25 Left-Wing Films. The evils of corporate America are a recurring theme, naturally, and the litigator as hero variation is found in two "honorees."

No. 11 is "The Insider," targeting the tobacco industry, and No. 14 is "A Civil Action." Nolte comments on the latter:

"A Civil Action" is based on a true story and by all accounts, unlike the bogus "Erin Brockovich" suit, the facts of this case stand true. So my argument is not with the movie itself or this specific case. By all accounts this was a real tragedy, where due to toxic poisoning in the groundwater, a lot of people got sick and died, including children.

My argument is, however, with Hollywood's relentlessly out-of-context, choosing of only these kinds of stories to build up the drip-drip-drip effect necessary to craft an unfair and dishonest narrative that always portrays corporate America as homicidal maniacs. As an example of how out of whack Hollywood's lack of context is, I know of no American corporation responsible for as many deaths as the EPA's politically motivated decision to ban DDT in 1972.

Nolte asks, where's the movie about that? And... "Where are the David and Goliath films about the man who built his business up from nothing only to have it destroyed by a feeding frenzy of greedy trial lawyers bankrupting him with frivolous environmental and discrimination lawsuits? Where are the movies about the family businesses destroyed by bullying unions and an overbearing federal government led by predator attorneys, soulless bureaucrats, and self-righteous Marxists disguised as environmentalists?"

Oh, and the Oscar nominations are out. They nominated "Gasland" as a feature documentary? True, there's no category for Best Anti-Energy Agitprop, but still.

UPDATE (Jan. 31): Walter Olson suggests Mr. Nolte was too quick to approve of the claims in a "Civil Action." He alerts readers to The Woburn Skeptics Page summarizing all the buncombe spread about the litigation over contamination at Woburn, Mass.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.