Nat Geo: Obama’s ‘Hope’ Thwarted by Tea Party ‘Extremists,’ ‘Violent Republican Opposition’

Sunday night, National Geographic Channel played a two hour special on President Obama called “The Price of Hope.” What was the “price” of “hope” exactly? Apparently Obama not getting his way 100% of the time because of those evil Tea Party Republicans in Congress,(or at least that’s how the documentary spins it.) The entire documentary sets up the President as some kind of untainted Savior who struggled to achieve his dreams for a better America because “extremist” Republicans were too partisan to be reasonable.

The doc starts off with an easy target: George W. Bush.

NAT GEO NARRATOR: Election night, 2008. Barack Obama's euphoric supporters are confident that the first African American president will reverse the legacy of eight years under George W. Bush.

The documentary goes on to spend the first fifteen minutes describing the “challenge” Obama faced trying to reverse the economic downturn he inherited from Bush. Several Democrats are featured blasting Republicans for not cooperating by passing Obama’s huge stimulus bill.

NAT GEO: Before the election, Democrats in Congress had passed President Bush's bill to fight the crisis. But not a single Republican votes for Obama's stimulus bill.

NAT GEO: Despite the opposition from Republicans, Obama's team has pushed through the biggest stimulus in US history...

The doc moves on to Obamacare, setting it up again as a moral cause that Republicans continually blocked Obama on for no apparent reason.

NAT GEO: Obama has inherited a health care system where 46 million people, or 15% of the population, have no health insurance...Within days of Obama's decision to prioritize health care, his Republican opponents are trying to work out their next move.

They then move on to bash the Tea Party for opposing Obamacare. On camera, Democrat Tom Perriello describes a townhall meeting filled with Tea Party members where he said they “kicked” “spit” and even yelled the ‘N word’ at Obama staffers. Nat Geo plays a clip from one townhall but of course none of the described behavior is in the video, just angry people asking questions into a microphone.

The narrator adds to the mud-slinging, saying Obama’s advisors found the town hall meetings with Tea Partiers “disturbing” before contending that Republicans began to embrace these radical “extremists:”

NAT GEO: Until now, the mainstream Republican leadership has been wary of the Tea Party extremists.

Even calling the Republican opposition “violent.”

NAT GEO: January 2010. After a year of dealing with violent Republican opposition to the health care bill, Obama is due to speak at their party's annual policy retreat.

NAT GEO: Obama has made the biggest change to American health care for more than a generation. But Obama's enemies refuse to accept defeat. They want to take control of Congress and repeal Obamacare.

Even on gun control, Republicans are the bad guys:

NAT GEO: Obama has to respond to 14 gun massacres during his presidency. But he cannot persuade Congress to pass any gun control measures. He has to fall back on a president's last resort, executive action, which his successor could reverse.

If it wasn’t clear enough what the theme behind the documentary was already, towards the end they play a clip of Obama speaking to a room full of immigrants saying:

OBAMA: Believe me, believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. [Laughter] [Applause] But that's not how, that's not how our system works.

And Nat Geo doesn’t seem to disagree with the President here. Every step of the way, any opposition to what Obama wants is portrayed as petty, partisan or bigoted. Angry Tea Party protests shouting is juxtaposed with calm Democrat operatives talking to the camera about how dismayed they are to not be able to help the American people.

It ends with a disappointed outlook on Obama’s legacy and spinning his controversies as achievements.

NAT GEO: Obama's presidency has changed America, but not in the ways he had hoped. Instead of bipartisan cooperation, Obama has confronted a polarized, paralyzed Congress, which has struggled to pass any major legislation after his second year in the White House. His promises of change on gun control and immigration have not been fulfilled. But after eight years in the White House, Obama presided over a country where same sex marriage was part of us law. Over 17 million more Americans had health care coverage. Overseas, Obama broke the mold. The US resumed diplomatic relations with Cuba after a breakdown that lasted 54 years. He became the first American president in three decades to negotiate with Iran. And he took bold steps forward on climate change.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Nat Geo’s narrator chides Trump’s voters in the closing remarks:

NAT GEO: In November 2016, Obama's vision of America was rejected by the voters. With the support of a Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, President Trump now begins the task of dismantling Obama's legacy.

President Obama isn’t the first president the channel has covered in a retrospective. They also did a documentary on George W. Bush and 9/11, however that documentary came a full two and a half years after Bush left office, not a week before he had even left the White House, like with Obama.

Earlier this month, ABC anchor David Muir swooned over another Nat Geo documentary on Obama that also debuted Sunday, in which a new fish species is named after the President.

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Kristine Marsh's picture