What does Jack Valenti really
know about the Carter case, and when did he start knowing it?
Mr. Valenti has made a second
attack on the many people who believe Rubin Carter is guilty
of murder. His latest critical comments appear in a letter published
March 26, 2000 in the Los Angeles Times,
Mr. Valenti must have put
on his Sherlock Holmes hat, taken considerable time out of his
busy Oscar-season schedule, and spent many hours investigating
the case before writing his letter, because he states as fact
that critics have "unfairly taken aim at both Rubin
'Hurricane' Carter and Denzel Washington."
He goes on to take sides with
the man twice convicted. He writes:
"It's tough to figure who's getting the
worse deal: Hurricane Carter, who because the movie of his life
is up for an Oscar, is suddenly being retried in the media and
on the Internet; or Denzel Washington, whose beautiful and poetic
performance has been caught up in the controversy.
wrong to retry Rubin Carter in the media. The Supreme Court should
have had the last word on his case. It's wrong to judge Denzel
Washington's performance on anything other than its artistic
merit. Let the academy members have the last word on his performance."
Mr. Valenti seems to feel it's okay to retry
the case in the media as long as it's Universal Pictures which
does the retrying. One wonders whether Mr. Valenti's position
is inspired by rock-solid principle or by the knowledge that
Universal Pictures contributes a nice chunk of his budget.
Mr. Valenti apparently doesn't know that it
was just two alleged procedural errors cited by a rather liberal
judge that got Rubin Carter out of prison. The evidence that
convinced two juries still stands.
Mr. Valenti also seems to forget that it was
Denzel Washington who took Rubin Carter by the hand, brought
him onstage and declared "this man is love" to the
world -- forever entwining the "private" controversy
with his professional life. It is Denzel Washington who appeared
at Rubin Carter's side on "Oprah" and "Larry King
Denzel Washington put on the bathing trunks
of publicity and dove into this swirling controversy; Mr. Valenti
is complaining because we're saying Mr. Washington is all wet.
Denzel Washington would have been better served
if Mr. Valenti had handed him a towel.
-- Cal Deal, 3/26/00