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George Clooney Politics

How a heart-throb became the voice of liberal America

George Clooney was once famous for his party lifestyle and the beautiful women that he dated. Now it's politics that increasingly sets his pulse racing. Paul Harris reports

Sunday November 27, 2005
The Observer

George Clooney was adamant about one thing last week: he was not attacking the President in his gripping new film about the Middle East - he was slamming the entire geopolitical system.

"Syriana came fast on the heels of Good Night And Good Luck, which Clooney directed and also acted in, a portrayal of the conflict between TV newsman Edward Murrow and the anti-communist witch-hunter, Senator Joseph McCarthy. The film tells how Murrow turned on McCarthy and eventually brought him down.

Clooney portrays the conflict as a principled stance by a campaigning liberal journalist who fought injustice and stood up against big, bullying politicians. It is a compelling story in its own right, but Clooney has never hidden the fact that it draws uncomfortable parallels with a post-11 September media seemingly cowed into being uncritical of White House policy. The film has led many pundits to predict Oscars glory. Newsweek's David Ansen called it 'the most compelling American movie of the year so far'.

Both Clooney's recent films are unusual in taking on a series of controversial targets in mainstream cinematic releases. At one stage Syriana explores the motivations behind a man who becomes a suicide bomber, while Good Night uses archive footage of McCarthy to illustrate its point about the climate of fear he created. That has, in turn, put Clooney in the sights of conservative critics, who have slammed him as the latest in a long line of Hollywood liberals out of touch with the concerns of mainstream America."
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