1-11-10 from NEWSCORE
AMERICAN film director Oliver Stone has sparked outrage after branding Hitler a "scapegoat" and praising Stalin. Mainstream media began picking up on his controversial comments about the bloodthirsty dictators a day after Stone spoke out at a California screening to promote his new TV series on 20th Century America. The ten-hour Showtime series, entitled Oliver Stone's Secret History of America, is an attempt to redress what he believed was a biased version of history taught in US schools. One episode focuses entirely on a more positive side of Hitler - whose Nazi regime was responsible for the extermination of six million Jews. British newspapers including The Daily Mail, the Guardian and The Independent today jumped on his comments, made during a screening at the Television Critics Association's biannual press tour in Pasadena, after blog sites such as HotAir.com began to post reports. "We can't judge people as only 'bad' or 'good'," Stone said. "(Hitler) is the product of a series of actions. It's cause and effect. "People in America don't know the connection between World War I and World War II. "Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it's been used cheaply." Stone compounded the controversy by claiming Stalin had "a complete other story". "Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation - he fought the German war machine more than any person," he said. "I've been able to walk in Stalin's shoes and Hitler's shoes, to understand their point of view. "You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate." The Independent reported that the series' lead writer, history professor Peter Kuznick, said Stone was not trying to come out with a more positive view of Hitler. "But we're going to describe him as a historical phenomenon and not just somebody who appeared out of nowhere," he said. Nevertheless protesters slammed his speech with raging debate on online forums. It is not the first time that Stone, 63, has courted controversy through his work. His 1990 film JFK, implied that President Lydon Johnson played a part in President Kennedy's assassination along with the CIA, Army, the Mafia and Cuban exiles.