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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 07:52 GMT
Bush adviser meets Hollywood execs
President Bush's political advisor Karl Rove, centre, surrounded by Hollywood executives
Karl Rove, centre, discussed spreading patriotism
Top Hollywood executives have met with a senior advisor to President George W Bush, to discuss ways the industry might spread the message of patriotism and tolerance.

Karl Rove, the president's political advisor, met with the executives in Beverly Hills to discuss the change in the political climate in the wake of the terror attacks.

We talked about no propaganda - the industry decides what it will do and when it will do it

Bush advisor
Karl Rove
"Content was off the table," said Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

"Directors, writers, producers, studios will determine the kind of pictures they choose to make and the compelling stories they want to tell," he said.

A lot to offer

Forty-seven representatives attended from most of Hollywood's major studios, including CBS, Sony, Viacom, Dreamworks and MGM.

Mr Rove said the studio chiefs had a lot to offer.

"These people, like every other American, feel strongly about the events of 11 September and the need to see this war through to its victorious conclusion," he said.

Mr Rove said that on the agenda in the two-hour meeting were volunteerism, support for US troops and their families, and showing that the war in Afghanistan was not against Islam but against terrorism.

Ideas were also raised like putting on shows to entertain troops, getting new movies overseas quickly for soldiers and sailors and producing TV public service announcements to reassure children and families.

'Not propaganda'

Mr Rove emphasised that the government was not asking Hollywood to produce propaganda.

"The world is full of people who are discerning and we need to recognise that concrete information told with honesty, specificity and integrity is important to the ultimate success of this conflict," Mr Rove said.

Mr Valenti said the studios could produce public service announcements for the local and overseas audiences.

"We can try to tell people how America has been the most generous country in the world, we have fed and clothed and sheltered millions of people without asking anything in return," Mr Valenti said.

He said Paramount had sponsored the meeting, which also included trade union leaders.

PR battle

The meeting is being seen as an attempt by the government to win the public relations battle as it continues its bombing campaign against Afghanistan and clean-up operations in New York and Washington.

Hollywood sign
A plan to repaint the Hollywood sign red, white and blue was rejected
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the meeting was not about influencing plot lines for films.

"The White House will share with the entertainment community the themes that are being communicated here and abroad: tolerance, courage, patriotism," he said.

An executive quoted in Daily Variety likened the gathering to one that followed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

That led to the major Hollywood studios producing more patriotic, morale-boosting films.

Public service announcements have previously been used to warn children of the perils of drugs and to promote literacy.

Hollywood is just one of the industries that has been affected by the 11 September attacks.

In the immediate aftermath, films with violent or contentious themes were shelved, including Arnold Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage, and an episode from Friends set in an airport.

See also:

30 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood plans patriotic gesture
08 Oct 01 | Film
Hollywood re-think expensive
13 Sep 01 | Film
Hollywood 'changed forever'
08 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Hollywood sign stays white
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