Director Oliver Stone has told reporters that his new miniseries, "Secret History of America," will put Stalin and Hitler--as well as Mao and McCarthy--"in context." Arguing that "we can't judge people as only 'bad' or 'good,'" Stone said Hitler has served as "an easy scapegoat throughout history."

Though many are offended, few are surprised. "Stone's real achievement," writes Harry de Quetteville in the Telegraph, averring that everyone knows history requires context, "is to have said something so banal and yet so offensive." Conservative Newsbusters' Lachlan Markay--among others--points out that Stone is also "known for his loving portrayal of Venezuela's Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez." Meanwhile, damning with faint praise, Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice notes that "in fairness to Stone, some of his films have not quite been as good/bad (pick the one that fits your political bias) as the advance billing suggested."

The consensus? As a professional provocateur, Oliver Stone's aiming for controversy makes good headlines, but it's not exactly news.