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Vieira Aids James Cameron in Whitewashing Anti-Military 'Avatar'

Director/producer James Cameron was invited on the Today show Wednesday, for a second time, to promote his movie Avatar (as if the top grossing movie of all-time really needed it). Co-host Meredith Vieira allowed Cameron to brag about screening his anti-military sci-fi flick to servicemen and women on an aircraft carrier but never brought up the criticism, coming from the enlisted, that his movie portrays them as villains.

Using the booking hook that Cameron is a Canadian, Vieira, hosting the show from the Olympics site in Vancouver, first prompted him to talk about the pro-environmental theme of Avatar, to which Cameron absurdly claimed: "Trying to find money to make an environmental movie, you can't do it, either as a documentary or as a feature. So I thought, alright, fine I'll do this big action adventure on another planet but there will be this theme woven through it." [audio available here]

Then Vieira, completely ignoring all the charges his film stirs up anti-U.S. military sentiments, allowed Cameron to slap himself on the back for bringing the blockbuster to the carrier:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know you talk about reaction from around the world. I know you were recently in the Mideast. You screened the movie for some of the troops that are stationed there. What was that experience like for you James?

JAMES CAMERON: It, it was amazing. We flew onto an aircraft carrier, did the whole arrestor hook thing and shot off the steam catapult. That was, that was the, the, the, you know it was just amazing to see these kids, kind of like these young Olympians. You know you've got, you watch these kind of Top Gun images of them firing the steam catapult and doing all this stuff and you think these guys must be in their, their thirties, they're so, so technical and precise. They're 19, they're 20 years old and they're so focused and so disciplined. It was, it was, you know such an inspiration. I actually wound up signing, I made it my personal goal to sign an autograph and pose for a picture with every single person on the aircraft carrier. But they, they had to leave a few to run the reactor for awhile. So I think it was 3300 crew members and it was just, they kept thanking me and I said, "No we're here to thank you for, for, for what you're doing for the sacrifice that you make. Being away from your family and your, and your loved ones." You know and of course they love, we showed them the movie, they loved, they loved the film.

The following exchange was aired on the February 17 edition of the Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: And it's a, and it's a movie with a message, a message that's very important to you about the environment, isn't it?

JAMES CAMERON: Well it's why I made the film in the first place. But I thought you know, you can't, trying to find money to make an environmental movie, you, you can't do it, either as a documentary or as a feature. So I thought, alright, fine I'll do this big action adventure on another planet but there will be this theme woven through it, and I think that's part of how it's connecting for people around the world. They're having an emotional reaction and it's reminding them of how they felt when they were a kid in the woods, feeling connected to the world and, and it's something that, that we're losing in our society. You know?

VIEIRA: You know you talk about reaction from around the world. I know you were recently in the Mideast. You screened the movie for some of the troops that are stationed there. What was that experience like for you James?

CAMERON: It, it was amazing. We flew onto an aircraft carrier, did the whole arrestor hook thing and shot off the steam catapult. That was, that was the, the, the, you know it was just amazing to see these kids, kind of like these young Olympians. You know you've got, you watch these kind of Top Gun images of them firing the steam catapult and doing all this stuff and you think these guys must be in their, their thirties, they're so, so technical and precise. They're 19, they're 20 years old and they're so focused and so disciplined. It was, it was, you know such an inspiration. I actually wound up signing, I made it my personal goal to sign an autograph and pose for a picture with every single person on the aircraft carrier. But they, they had to leave a few to run the reactor for awhile. So I think it was 3300 crew members and it was just, they kept thanking me and I said, "No we're here to thank you for, for, for what you're doing for the sacrifice that you make. Being away from your family and your, and your loved ones." You know and of course they love, we showed them the movie, they loved, they loved the film.

VIEIRA: You know, you, you make such epic films, would you ever consider making a war movie?

CAMERON: Well yeah, I mean I've been fascinated by that. I'm fascinated by the, by the, by the issue of war and the damage that it does to, you know to, to physically but also psychically, psychologically. You know it's a theme that, that, that I'm interested in and, and you know I have some projects in mind for that. But, you know, it's also, you know you're going down a grim path when you do that. I made, I made a film about the, the battleship Bismarck when we dove to the Bismarck, did the dive, you know three miles down and analyzed the wreck site. And just going down that path of, of that history, of that battle, you know was, was quite grim and horrifying. And that's 60 years later. And why are we talking about this?

-Geoffrey Dickens is the senior news analyst at the Media Research Center.