Cultural Revolutions

Standard Fare

Canada's role in World War II was relived last year on Canadian national television via a mini-series entitled The Valour and the Horror. The second part of the series, Death by Moonlight: Bomber Command, was met by protests so widespread as to cause the whole series to be placed on the agenda of the Canadian Senate's Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. The senate hearings, at which historians and other witnesses testified to the film's inaccuracies and distortions, coincided with the CBC (which broadcast the series) asking its ombudsman, William Morgan, to prepare a report.

Morgan's report, which was cut from its initial 60 pages to 13 before being released to the public, found that the series is "flawed as it stands and fails to measure up to GBC's demanding policies and standards." The senate subcommittee found that "the National Film Board, based on a brief statement of the concept, handed over $729,000 to the filmmakers and gave them the right of final cut. They made little or no attempt to check the accuracy of the filmmakers' research."

The film soon became a media issue: Bomber Command veterans vs. electronic and print media that closed ranks behind the producers, Brian and Terence McKenna, and charged the veterans with censorship and libel. At first, the GBC's chairman undertook to correct the many errors on air, but this was not done. The National...

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