On May 18 and 20, CBS will air “Hitler: The Rise of Evil.” Catholic League president William Donohue issued the following statement today on the miniseries:
“From the first announcement of this made-for-TV movie, Jewish groups have been up in arms. Some questioned why it was necessary to do a TV portrait of Hitler while others wanted it squashed. Given what Jews endured in Nazi Germany, their response makes sense. But what galls the Catholic League is the double standard that is at work. For example, when the Catholic League objected to the ABC show ‘Nothing Sacred,’ we were blasted by Marvin Kitman of Newsday for doing so. Yet when he first learned of the miniseries, Kitman declared—sight unseen—‘I am so against this Hitler movie in advance.’ Why doesn’t he take his own advice and lighten up—it’s just a flick! Just turn the channel!
“What Jewish groups feared most was the possibility that the movie might ‘humanize’ Hitler. That is why they pressured CBS from the get-go: not until they were satisfied with the film would they back off. And they got what they wanted. The original script, met with disapproval, was scrapped altogether. A new screenwriter was hired and reliance on the Ian Kershaw biography of Hitler was scaled back. But this wasn’t all. CBS will even go so far as to issue public service announcements during the telecast to promote tolerance. The network will also make a generous donation to a Holocaust-related charity. These are the kinds of somersaults the networks are capable of doing. For some.
“CBS is owned by Viacom, the same company that owns Showtime. Two years ago, we protested the incredibly anti-Catholic Showtime film ‘Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All.’ Not only did Viacom chief Sumner Redstone not respond to our concerns, the movie’s director, Marshall Brickman, justified the attack on Catholicism by saying the Church ‘deserves to be the butt of a couple of jokes.’ That’s quite an understatement, given the maliciousness of the film.
“The bottom line from Hollywood is: Catholics deserve to be bashed and Jews deserve special treatment. All this from the dons of inclusiveness.”