Morgan Freeman and National Geographic Caught in Tall Tales
In the first minute of Season 1, Episode 1, Freeman launches with:
“When I was 18, I joined the Air Force. And I did well enough on my tests to qualify as an electronics countermeasures operator. But, I was told I couldn’t take that job. Apparently, no black man could fly with the Strategic Air Command.”
Freeman joined the Air Force in 1955, the same year Rosa Parks courageously refused to vacate her seat in the colored section of a bus, to a white person. The white section was full. There were special building entrances for colored folk, waiting rooms, and separate schools for children. In 1955, three blacks were lynched.
Morgan Freeman served his country honorably during a period of severe racism in the United States.
Reality check: Freeman was born in 1937.
The first black fighter pilots entered U.S. Army Air Corps flight school in 1941. The Airmen served valiantly in Europe in World War II and helped end segregation. They became the famous The Tuskegee Airmen.
The Army Air Corps became the U.S. Air Force in 1947.
On July 26, 1948, President Truman, with Executive Order 9981, eliminated segregated units, and fully integrated black servicemen into all units, 16 years prior to the US Civil Rights Act of 1964. The military was far ahead of American society at large.
By the time Freeman joined the Air Force in 1955, all military jobs were open to blacks. The military had been desegregated. While Morgan Freeman spins yarn about not being able to fly, black aviators were all over the skies. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. had already served in two wars and would soon be in his third, Vietnam. Blacks fought valiantly in all American wars and had earned chests full of America’s highest awards, including many Medals of Honor.
Yes, there were still many problems with racism, but blacks, Japanese, and others proved time and again that through hard work and determination there were no limits for them in the military after World War II. Before those times is another story, and not good.
Benjamin Davis Jr. earned his first star in 1954, Brigadier General, just as his father, Benjamin Davis Sr., had done in 1940. Davis Sr. served in four wars. Father and son generals, both black, both before Freeman joined the Air Force.
Benjamin Davis Jr. would eventually earn 4-stars, full General. His fourth star was awarded long after his retirement, by President Clinton in 1998. Davis originally retired in 1970 as a Lieutenant General. It was believed that, while the military had ended discrimination in 1947, Davis had actually been not promoted to General due to racism. This again, reinforced the difference between ending institutionalized discrimination, and racism.
He and his dad served in a combined seven wars. Technically six ‘different wars’; they both served in World War II, both in the European Theater of Operations.
If there was a ceiling for blacks during Morgan Freeman’s time, he never bumped his head on it. He likely experienced ‘racism’ during his time in the Air Force, but institutionalized discrimination had been eliminated. Men like the Davis’s, who had long since cut trail through incredible efforts, and had experienced institutionalized racism, had helped open all military doors. There is a big difference between racism and institutional discrimination.
Further evidence that institutional discrimination had been eliminated in the military comes in the form of this all-American story. In November 2017, AARP published a Korean War story from 1950 and the US Navy: 1
Thomas Hudner, a former U.S. Navy pilot who received a Medal of Honor for a rescue attempt that made civil rights history, died Monday at 93.
Hudner was a 26-year-old pilot and lieutenant junior grade in December 1950 when he attempted to rescue Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the Navy’s first black aviator, after Brown’s plane was shot down behind enemy lines in South Korea. Hudner crash-landed his own plane on a mountainside near Brown’s plane and rushed to rescue. 2
“When I got to the plane, Jesse was almost frozen. His lips were blue, and he was shivering. The fuselage had crushed his leg and pinned his knee to his instrument panel. I grabbed him by the jacket and tried pulling him out, but he was trapped,” Hudner said in an interview for a 2016 article in AARP The Magazine.
Hudner, who was white, was Brown’s wingman on the mission. He could not extract Brown from the aircraft, and Brown died at the scene as Chinese troops approached on the ground. A rescue helicopter picked up Hudner.
Thomas Hudner received the Medal of Honor. The U.S. Navy honored Jesse Brown by naming a ship after him in 1972, the frigate USS Jesse L. Brown.
Morgan Freeman laments problems flying in 1955 or later, yet the Tuskegee Airman started in 1941, and Jesse Brown was lost while flying in combat in 1950.
Blacks were flying in the US military 14-15 years before Freeman claims to have missed his chance due to institutionalized discrimination.
“Hudner told AARP that pilots had been warned not to crash-land their planes to attempt a rescue — meaning he could have been court-martialed for his actions. “I’d have gone in anyhow because Jesse was not just another pilot. He was a friend,” Hudner said of Brown.”
Buddies always beat racism. Something many of us saw generations later in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thomas Hudner probably missed Jesse Brown every day of his long life.
Morgan Freeman sat in a cockpit. Prior media accounts claim Freeman, reported:
“Eventually, Freeman got the chance to train as a fighter pilot. Despite years of anticipation for that very job, as soon as he sat in the cockpit he had a “distinct feeling [he] was sitting in the nose of a bomb.” “I had this very clear epiphany,” he told AARP Magazine. “You are not in love with this; you are in love with the idea of this.” Freeman didn’t hesitate to act on his gut instinct, and left the Air Force in 1959.” 3
Morgan Freeman was honorably discharged in 1959. He headed to Hollywood, a proud Air Force veteran, and proved himself in the film industry, rising to privilege, wealth, and esteem.
As noted, by the time Freeman joined, the military was fully integrated. Integration should not be confused with equality. Racism should not be confused with institutional and legal discrimination. There would be race violence within the ranks for generations to come. The military was desegregated and fully integrated by 1955. But the South, outside the bases, was not. Desegregation on bases did not always translate to the same downtown off bases. The military should be lauded for this, not castigated. Freeman missed a major opportunity to positively highlight the service that helped start his career.
During a similar timeframe of progress with the Tuskegee Airmen, came the secret Tuskegee syphilis study. The operation used unwitting, illiterate black civilians as if they were lab animals. The program was reminiscent of Nazi medical experiments. One doctor mentioned it was helpful that the subjects were illiterate, otherwise they may have read the papers and figured out what was going on.
Along with the terrible, came good, and progress.
In 2017, as narrator of the NatGeo documentary series, “The Story of Us,” why did Freeman include himself as a victim of discrimination when by his own words he turned down an opportunity to become an aviator?
Freeman created revisionist history and made himself a victim of institutional discrimination, all the vogue these days. Freeman is not only the host and narrator, but co-founder and one of the owners of the production company Revelations Entertainment. The production company’s website claims “Revelations Entertainment reveals truth.” Revelations Entertainment has been very successful, with series such as “Madam Secretary” and movies such as “Invictus.” Scripted series and movies, not documentaries.
Tossed in the storm of real discrimination of the era, nobody today need puff up the events from Category 1 to Cat 5. But they do. Today, we see puffing and outright hoaxes with increasing frequency, often from people raising false flags over themselves. There is a market for victimhood and MSM typically repeats false flags uncritically, and when proven false, “There’s nothing to see here,” there is little follow up.
Markets love a vacuum. Victim peddlers whoosh in, hawking their stories to hungry ears. Demand creates supply creates demand creates supply. The opioid of victimhood. Freeman is a commercial artist servicing a market. When market winds shift, Freeman will sail the prevailing winds and change drugs.
In recent years, many purported “civil-rights activists” find racism in every situation. The United States has made incredible progress, so much that some ‘civil rights’ activists resort to creating racial tensions, racial drugs. They expose themselves as virtue signaling racists. Racism is their business, and business was slipping, so they needed to puff it.
Elimination of racism is their enemy, undermining the right to rage, a business model based on race-highs.
Many people thirst for their discrimination ‘street creds’, missing the point that millions of people of many cultures suffered for centuries to reach this point in the USA, a point that most countries in the world likely never will see. Especially African countries. And Asian. And European. And South American.
Many black grandparents were deprived of opportunity due to systemic racism, and now the grandchildren are deprived of the opportunity to suffer from state-sponsored discrimination.
Contrary, today, state sponsored discrimination has not ended, but flipped. For some antagonists, a sense of loneliness has settled in with the abolition of barriers and demise of the Klan. Excuses for personal failures have evaporated. There is nothing left but to blame someone else, not the person or culture of origin.
Morgan Freeman again takes the stage. Years before The Story if Us, when interviewed on 60 Minutes by Mike Wallace, Freeman said, “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”
“How are we going to get rid of racism?” asks Wallace.
“Stop talking about it,” says Freeman. 4
If only Mr. Freeman would take his own advice. But, then, ‘advice’ is part of his performance.
Freeman, one of the most successful and respected actors in the world, an Academy Award winner, claims that he was excluded from flying with Strategic Air Command after he joined in 1955. The first of the 6, hour-long episodes, starts with that audacious statement in the first minute. Why?
Deadline Hollywood interviewed Freeman about producing this series: “What I always wanted to do in film is revisionist history,” 5 he said. “In film, I just needed to belong. I grew up watching film and not seeing enough of me. My film career was predicated on being able to see me. That doesn’t cross over to this line of fire. This is a completely different set of rules to live by. What I’m getting the most joy out of is meeting all these type of people.” 6
But apparently it does. The first minute is about “him” and about his revised personal history. Documentaries should be based on facts. Freeman seamlessly reverts to “revisionist history,’ as he calls it.
A British newspaper, The Independent, published of Morgan Freeman, “Universally recognized as one of the greatest voices of all times, it has lent itself to the role of God and the President, narrated the journey of penguins and been the voiceover for presidential campaigns for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The first episode of The Story of Us is nakedly inaccurate. Again, during the first minute of Episode one, when Freeman says, “When I was 18, I joined the Air Force” the producers inserted footage of a U.S. Navy F9F Panther taking off from what is obviously an aircraft carrier.
The scene that Revelations Entertainment chooses to show is a jet fighter taking off with excellent audio effect from a jet engine.
But not a U.S. Air Force aircraft. The jet is a Navy F9F Panther. Freeman and crew do not separate facts from fiction that looks better on screen. This is show business, not fact business.
NatGeo, Revelations Entertainment and Morgan Freeman did not stop there. The very first story of Episode 1 Season 1 was Freeman’s own sleight of hand on his military history. The second story, starting a minute later, is that of proven North Korean fraud Shin Dong-hyuk.
I know the story of Shin Dong-hyuk. I was first to call out his transparent scam in 2013 after he appeared on 60 Minutes. That short episode was enough that I tossed a red flag just minutes after viewing the program.
This risked a defamation lawsuit from Shin Dong-hyuk. He no longer has a chance: a couple years later, he was caught.
For years, journalists spent much time with Shin Dong-hyuk, propagated his scam, creating an international speaker of great repute. Again, with all the real horrors in North Korea, why would any journalist accept a fraud hoaxing it up?
Little-known fact: “North Korean defectors” and handlers have created a lucrative cottage industry of telling their stories, often charging journalist just to meet. The more tears they can evoke, the more money they make, the more papers are sold. In France, the famous serial killer Charles Sobhraj was said by journalists to charge up to $6,000 for a single interview, and journalists would pay it. Journalists can turn a profit from the story, truth being irrelevant. Same scam, different land. Journalists are not always taking the bait, they are buying the bait.
To call out Shin Dong-hyuk is to tell the fish that the worm is plastic with a hook. Like race-baiting.
Please bear in mind the cultural experience which informs my senses. I have lived across America from coast to coast, from the deep south to San Francisco, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina, and more, having travelled extensively or lived in 48 States.
Outside US borders, I travelled or lived in another 74 countries. More than half my life has been beyond “the wall,” in Europe, the Middle East, and 25 Asian countries.
I know the scent of many sorts of Asian bullshit. More so than do many Asians who seldom travel beyond their own borders. After all, Shin Dong-hyuk fooled millions of Asians and Westerners. Just one short episode on 60 Minutes was enough to trip my senses that Shin Dong-hyuk is a fraud. Journalists who promoted his story merely bought the bait he still sells. Dong-hyuk runs a bait store. He specializes in selling lures to journalists who fish for eyeballs.
My original post, and reasons in 2013 for calling out the fraud:
I called foul on Shin Dong-hyuk in 2013. In 2015, MSM caught up:
“Why do North Korean defector testimonies so often fall apart?”
“In January, the DPRK government released a video claiming to show Shin’s father denouncing his son’s stories as fake. When questioned, Shin confessed that parts of his account were also inaccurate, including sections on his time in Camp 14, the infamous labour camp for political prisoners, and the age at which he was tortured.
“Shin is not alone. Another North Korean, Lee Soon-ok, offered testimony to the US House of Representatives in 2004, describing torture and the killing of Christians in hot iron liquid in a North Korean political prison.” 7
“What is behind the inconsistencies?”
“Cash payments in return for interviews with North Korean refugees have been standard practice in the field for years.
“Initially, the payment was to cover the cost of meals and local transport, which was approximately $30 in the late 1990s when I first began interviewing in China and South Korea. However, the fees had risen to $200 per hour by the time I attempted to interview people from North Korea in May 2014.
“A government official from the South Korean ministry of unification told me the range of fees could vary wildly, from $50-500 per hour, depending on the quality of information.”
There is no excuse for NatGeo, Revelations Entertainment or Freeman, to continue to sell Shin’s fraud. Did Freeman’s company pay Shin Dong-hyuk for his wild tale? I do not know; Freeman and Revelations Entertainment have not responded to my requests for interview.
Saddest of all, we are surrounded by compelling, true stories that require no embellishment or fraud. In this story, the U.S Air Force could have been credited with integrating far before American society. This is the truth.
Such has become National Geographic. Just this month, NatGeo linked climate change to ISIS recruitment, spinning another compelling yarn. 8 If Freeman were to take a go at this he might link climate change with race-hoaxing.
In rapid succession, we have Freeman massaging military history, NatGeo and Freeman pushing the admitted fraud Shin Dong-hyuk, and then NatGeo blaming climate change for ISIS recruiting.
There is more, but this is enough. Freeman is an actor and will say what keeps the audience tuned, and what National Geographic and others pay him to say. After all, Morgan Freeman and Shin Dong-hyuk are in the same profession: they are paid actors.
AARP magazine published:
“And though he never asked to be our national truth teller, he’s too classy to complain, especially since the perks are exceptional: he is respected all over the world and commands up to $20 million a picture. “I’m saddled with it,” he says, deadpan.” 9
As Revelations Entertainment prepares to produce a series based upon the life of Rodney King, we can expect a combination of fact and fiction…into what Freeman apparently does best: ‘revisionist history’.
Morgan Freeman nor Revelations Entertainment responded to request for interview.
1 Medal of Honor Recipient Dies at 93
2 Underline emphasis 1950 by Michael Yon
3 Famous Veteran: Morgan Freeman http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/career-advice/military-transition/famous-veteran-morgan-freeman.html
4Morgan Freeman gives a lesson to Mike Wallace
5 Underline emphasis by Michael Yon
6‘The Story of Us With Morgan Freeman’: EPs Talk Exploring Common Humanity In Upcoming Series – TCA
7 Why do North Korean defector testimonies so often fall apart?
8 Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/11/climate-change-drought-drove-isis-terrorist-recruiting-iraq/
9 At 70, Oscar winner Morgan Freeman could be the king of Hollywood. But he prefers to invest his money and his heart where his roots are—in Mississippi by Nancy Griffin, AARP The Magazine, December 29, 2007 https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/movies-for-grownups/info-2007/morgan_freeman_home_again.html