February 21, 2024

‘The Interview’ as anti-North Korean propaganda

As subversive propaganda, attention-grabbing Sony-produced movie flops

Months have now passed since the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the furor has largely died down. It has not dissipated entirely, though, and may yet reignite: The FBI and NSA have made their allegations, but have refused, on grounds of national security, to substantiate them. Some trust the government’s assertions, many in cybersecurity do not. Nevertheless, the debate over whether North Korea was behind the Sony hack has run out of much of its steam. Indeed, the Washington Post article on the resignation of Amy Pascal from Sony did not mention North Korea at all.

Whatever the future course of the Sony hack, the role of the U.S. state raises interesting questions, illustrates disquieting aspects of elite thinking, and leaves behind some mysteries. One is the way officials, and the military-industrial complex, were involved in the production of The Interview as a propaganda vehicle. Just how successful was the movie as subversive propaganda, helping to bring about the collapse so fondly anticipated by many, from President Obama downwards? The answer seems to be that it was a dismal failure.