“MLK / FBI” doesn’t let King’s indiscretions go, but questions why Hoover thought this tactic was necessary. Through his confidant, Sam Levison, King had previously been linked to the “-ism Boogeyman” that America accuses blacks of playing soccer with every time we demand equal rights (communism then, socialism now) . Using clips and storytelling, Pollard and his subjects explain how black men were consistently viewed as a sexual threat, especially to white women. DW Griffith is doing his part to promote this in the anticipated clips for “Birth of a Nation,” but this film delves deeper, pointing out that Hoover’s perception of black sexuality has been filtered through that same vantage point. Whatever King does in these tapes (and as Charles Knox puts it in the movie, I have no desire to know it), it was seen as beyond hypersexuality and disturbed by the supposedly tight-laces Hoover. . The G-men leader was furious that most newspapers and journalists didn’t take the bait, so he asked his team to cut an audio sex tape and send it, along with a threatening letter, to Coretta Scott King.
“As humans, we are the best at convincing ourselves of our own righteousness,” Gage tells us. This type of illusion is intensified and exploited by propaganda. While Hoover saw his nemesis as Sweet Sweetback, he saw his FBI as a stronghold of good, a line of Hollywood bullshit directly injected into the veins of many movies and TV shows. It aided and encouraged the FBI public figure, one Hoover skillfully expressed from his own ideal vision. When someone said “G-man,” you knew exactly what they looked like: stern, white, polished, and wearing a suit and tie. This brand spread is no different from Twitter today; What’s impressive is how well these notions took root in the days before smartphones and social media.
Meanwhile, Dr King is considered by the FBI to be “the most notorious liar”, a story Washington post and the New York Times are happy to splash on their first pages. This gets more coverage than King’s Nobel Peace Prize and leads to the only encounter between King and Hoover. As the press is not authorized, there is no footage to show. Instead, we see the post-meeting press conference, where King navigates the minefield established for him by reporters. Pollard shows this as a bookend to a previous clip where a white UPI woman makes absurd, senseless statements that sound like what we heard from GOP politicians last week: “If you offend your oppressors, you will ruin the unit by making them hurt you more.