The cabal that chooses the 15 nominees for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature has issued its 2013 selections. Why was the the top-grossing documentary of 2012 -- and the fourth most-successful documentary of all time – not on that expansive list?
Because it was “2016,” the film in which conservative author Dinesh D’Souza warns of a dark future for America if Barack Obama is re-elected. The film’s producer, Gerald Molen, who’s already won an Oscar for “Schindler’s List,” was scandalized. "The action confirms my opinion that the bias against anything from a conservative point of view is dead on arrival in Hollywood.”
In Monday’s Washington Post, local editor Vernon Loeb reviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new memoir Total Recall, and retells the amusing tale of Karl Rove telling Arnold he didn’t have a chance of being governor, and then suggested Condoleezza Rice would run in 2006. That didn’t turn out.
But Loeb also predictably pushed the usual button that the GOP is too conservative and needs to be more like Arnold: “His willingness to go his own way as a left-leaning Republican also stands out in this election year, when the GOP has veered hard right.”
Kennedy argued that the fence being built along the U.S. border with Mexico was a waste of money, both in its actual construction and in the money required for its maintenance and upkeep over its lifetime.
At no point did Roberts challenge Kennedy by pointing out the conservative argument that border security and national security are fundamental responsibilities of the federal government under the Constitution.
Robert closed the interview by asking Kennedy about her views on "what the Tea Party is doing to American politics." The daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy painted the movement as borderline anarchistic and simplistically anti-government, as well as bigoted [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]:
Kevin McDonough (photo at right from UFS) can’t seem to avoid inserting liberal commentary into his TV reviews. The syndicated critic on Tuesday wrote about an upcoming PBS documentary on a Chilean judge’s investigation into the government of Augusto Pinochet, and editorialized that "The Judge and the General" "offers a cautionary tale for Americans," since Chile "had a long history of democratic government" before Pinochet’s coup. He continued that the film "begins and ends with scenes of rallies by fanatical supporters of Pinochet, who died in 2006 before facing trial. None of the attitudes expressed by these angry thugs would seem out of place on American talk radio."
McDonough doesn’t explain what exactly these attitudes are, but the implication of his argument is that conservative talk show hosts and their listeners are "angry thugs," that they’re a threat to "democratic government," and that they would install a Pinochet-like regime if they were given a chance.
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales heaped loads of praise on Helen Thomas even as he lamented that documentarian Rory Kennedy will present HBO viewers tonight with"A Story With a Few Holes." Shales found it disappointing that Thomas's affinity for Israel's enemies was left untouched in Kennedy's "Thank You, Mr. President."
Shales started by insisting that "[o]ne can't help wondering if the film was shortened in the final edit to obscure a blemish or two on Thomas's celebrated career-- the documentary equivalent of cosmetic surgery." [Keep it civil, comments thread!]
Even so, Shales himself gussied up "Hell No" Helen in his review, insisting she's a reporter who "can't be accused of party partisanship" and who was "brave enough to chastise fellow journalists -- for supporting the Iraq war in the aftermath of Sept. 11 and abetting what she considers the right-wing persecution of Bill Clinton." Nah, the Hearst columnist sure doesn't sound like a left-wing partisan hack to me.
Near the end of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to film maker Rory Kennedy about her latest documentary on the career of left-wing White House reporter Helen Thomas: "We're going to talk to Rory Kennedy, director of a new documentary about the legendary journalist." Smith began the segment by declaring: "Veteran print journalist Helen Thomas has been covering the White House since 1961, when John F. Kennedy was president. And now there's a new documentary honoring her decades of extraordinary work, called, ‘Thank You, Mr. President.’"
Smith asked Kennedy, the daughter of Robert Kennedy, about her decision to do the documentary: "Why pick Helen Thomas?" Kennedy replied: "She's been covering nine administrations, she's been at the front row of the White House. And she has extraordinary insight into these presidents. And she's also an extraordinary journalist." Smith later commented: "Where she sits and what she does day after day after day, I'm not sure we value enough."
Some of Thomas’s "value" and "extraordinary work" can be seen by her comments in 2002 while speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: "I censored myself for 50 years....Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?’...I have never covered a President who actually wanted to go to war. Bush’s policy of pre-emptive war is immoral – such a policy would legitimize Pearl Harbor. It’s as if they learned none of the lessons from Vietnam....Where is the outrage?" In 2003, Thomas remarked at a Society for Professional Journalism banquet that: "This is the worst President ever. He [George W. Bush] is the worst President in all of American history."