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[] Reuters 7.11.01: White House und Hollywood entwickeln gemeinsame Strategie,

Wednesday November 7 4:08 AM ET 

White House summons biz chieftains

By Peter Bart, Variety Editor-in-Chief

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The Bush administration's outreach to Hollywood has taken on new urgency.

The industry's top leaders, including Viacom Inc. chairman Sumner Redstone and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, will assemble in Beverly Hills Sunday morning with Karl Rove, the president's senior adviser, to hammer out a specific agenda for the entertainment industry to aid the fight on terrorism.

An initial meeting between White House aides and showbiz figures took place Oct. 17, but some in attendance expressed frustration because of a lack of specifics. The Sunday meeting will attempt to address this problem.

Moreover, while the initial meeting involved mainly filmmakers and actors, the Sunday session will resemble an industry summit. Invitations were signed by Motion Picture Assn. of America president Jack Valenti, Viacom Entertainment CEO Jonathan Dolgen and Paramount Pictures chairman Sherry Lansing on the instigation of the White House. The invites subsequently went out to the owners and CEOs of the various studios and networks, most of whom quickly agreed to attend.

The invitation stressed the nonpartisan nature of the meeting -- Lansing and Dolgen are well-known liberals -- while stressing the importance of launching an industry-wide effort to help the war effort.

The purpose of the meeting will be to identify strategies and agree on practical ideas, which may involve films as well as TV messages.

One source emphasized that the production of outright propaganda films will not be on the table. Showbiz, the invitation said, has long held the power ``to communicate, educate and inspire'' -- skills that must now be dedicated to the present crisis.

Sunday's meeting represents a major coming together of Hollywood and the Bush Administration. A key figure in arranging the session was Gerald Parsky, who ran the Bush campaign in California.

While the initial October meeting included the likes of Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chairman Bryce Zabel and producer-director Lionel Chetwynd, the Sunday session will be limited to Hollywood's senior statesmen.

``Once we work out some specific objectives, the creative community will be invited back in,'' one source said.

The press will be barred from the Sunday summit, which will take place in late morning at a Beverly Hills hotel.

One executive who planned to attend the meeting likened the effort to those that followed Pearl Harbor.

In 1941, the studios quickly mobilized films carrying ``positive'' messages such as ``This is the Army,'' and brought out a series of films like ``Wake Island'' and ``Torpedo Boat,'' which brought the public closer to the war. Film titles were even rearranged to boost morale: ``Message from Main Street'' became ``Main Street on the March.''

The present conflict poses more complex problems for Hollywood, however. There is heightened sensitivity to the possible injection of propaganda into the media bloodstream.

``Hollywood can contribute in positive ways without becoming a propaganda organ,'' one top executive insisted.

Reuters/Variety REUTERS 

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