Babylon at the Movies: Hollywood on Trial


Hollywood on Trial is a 1976 American documentary film directed by David Helpern. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Following the arrest of Julian Assange on Thursday, April 11, 2019, it seems more than appropriate to examine another instance when the American government prosecuted media personalities for their political opinions and expressions of them. The precedents used within the prosecution of the Hollywood Ten more than seven decades ago are part of the same package that has been executed against Assange. The claim made by prosecutorial forces in both cases is espionage for the act of promoting opinions and objective truths about America, its role in the world, and its imperial footprint.

While it is certainly acceptable and perhaps even logical to be critical of those political opinions, they merit just as much protection as any other under the freedoms afforded the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. I personally have been critical of Assange’s deeply disturbing and obviously racist comments, something that I think is only sane. Many progressives likewise have understandable reasons for criticizing certain actions and policies of the old Communist Party USA, which allowed its solidarity with Moscow dictate a multitude of matters. But that doesn’t merit wholesale trampling of the Bill of Rights.

We could be headed into a dark time for journalism in the coming months and years. Watch out.

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