Dinesh D’Souza’s anti-Obama movie, “2016: Obama’s America” has become the second-most-successful political documentary in U.S. history, not because people don’t like Obama, but because, like the tagline says, they really don’t know him.
The Obama campaign finally lashed out at the film this week, claiming it’s full of “insidious” lies and distortions. It’s right, but who’s fault is that?
The film may be one of the most overt pieces of mass political propaganda since “Triumph of the Will” by legendary Nazi Director Leni Riefenstahl. It presents myths and distortions as undisputed facts and cloaks them intellectual discourse to give the film a veil of objectivity.
What’s troubling is that the film may be doing more than preaching to the anti-Obama choir. Many potential voters may be watching it in an honest effort to learn more about President, without realizing the film’s true subversive purpose.
It plays off one of the President’s shortcomings during his first term in office; his failure to distinguish himself and his administration. By bending over backwards to be bi-partisan, he made the administration seem an extension of the Bush White House, rather than a clear departure from it.
In fact, unlike President Reagan or even Bush, Obama has no clear ideological point-of-view. So the film gives him one, based on the assertion that he is “captive to the ideology of [Kenyan] Luo tribesman from the ‘50s.”
The idea that the Obama administration has a hidden “anti-colonial agenda” is so patently ridiculous it falls under the “big lie” theory of political propaganda, e.g., the bigger the lie, the more likely people are to believe it. But those lies can only persist in a vacuum. So, what are Obama’s foreign policy goals?
He’s never clearly articulated an “Obama doctrine” like Bush did with his “Axis of Evil” speech. However, misguided–it led to the war in Iraq–at least everyone knew where Bush stood.
It should also be an undisputed fact that Bush administration rushed to bail out too-big-to-fail banks with huge taxpayer subsidies. But Obama’s decision when he took office to avoid laying blame on, and directly criticizing, the Bush administration, left the door open for obfuscation.
The campaign notes other big lies, like claiming the President supported the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. In fact the president spoke out against it before he was released, the campaign rightly asserts.
The Columbia Journalism Review called the documentary “the worst kind of smear journalism—a singularly disgusting work.” But in the end, the president has no one to blame but himself. For more on the campaign’s belated rebuttal, check out its Truth page.