D'Souza's '2016': Obama flacks talk trash

Marxist media can't derail box office hit.

WASHINGTON, September 22, 2012 – First dribbling out to a tiny number of select movie theaters in late July, Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film, “2016: Obama’s America” was quietly but inexorably rolled out to a larger number of theaters in August and September. The film—an exposé of the real Barack Obama that the media doesn’t want the public to know—soon became one of the late summer’s biggest box office winners.

In a recent update to its entry on the film, Wikipedia noted that “2016” “has grossed over $30 million as of September 14, 2012, making it one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time.” The film’s take has come as a real shock to Hollywood types who love, occasional documentaries as long as they hew to the Communist party line.

To give you a flavor of this popular film contents, here’s one of the “2016” trailers:

Former Washington Times film critic and current editor of breitbart.com’s “Big Hollywood” web site, Christian Toto, thinks he knows why this documentary from the right is scoring serious points with open-minded, receptive audiences across the country. “He’s the anti Michael Moore on screen,” Toto writes of D’Souza. He notes, however, that in contrast to the corpulent, hyperventilating Moore—a member in good standing of the 1% BTW—D’Souza is “subdued, intellectual and hardly camera friendly in a show business sense. He doesn’t grandstand or play to his audience, an approach which burnishes both his credentials and his larger points.”

Unlike Moore, whose hard leftist tilt has made him the darling of the movie, media, and political elites, D’Souza produced and appeared in “2016” knowing that from the get-go, Hollywood and left wing movie critics would be out to bury his film rather than generate positive buzz as they predictably do for Moore’s propaganda hit pieces. Toto correctly observes that the usual suspects “will deny D’Souza’s right to even make these arguments, waving the race card or other flimsy rhetorical tricks.”

And that’s what those detractors have been doing since they noticed that “2016” was actually hauling in an immodest amount of dough, enough to make it, as of today at least, the second biggest box-office winner of all time in the documentary category.

Alas, D’Souza’s movie currently places just behind Moore’s scurrilous but ruthlessly promoted anti-Bush propaganda film “Fahrenheit 9/11.” That deliberate hit piece was carefully nurtured, filmed, and released on a schedule calibrated to derail W’s 2004 re-election effort. It failed spectacularly in pursuit of that goal. But it made the very happy Moore the now very-wealthy “documentary” darling of the Hollywood left, an unearned status he continues to enjoy.

Author, scholar, and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. PR photo, circa 2010.

Since the Hollywood right would seem to pretty much consist these days of Clint Eastwood and Jon Voigt, however, D’Souza’s film will likely never get close to Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” profitability numbers. Nor is his film likely to crack the Hollywood/movie critic iron curtain anytime soon.

Critics of a book, work of art, film, or production that’s not to their political liking generally try to destroy it either by sliming the author or creator or—particularly in the case of books—simply never allow the “offensive” book to be reviewed. Anywhere. The idea behind this code of silence, like all the tactics of the current American left, is to make it unlikely that individuals will be able to discover even the existence of material that conflicts with Marxist dogma.

Film, however, is a little hard to suppress by omission. It’s just out there and, once introduced into at least a few theaters, the buzz can conceivably build by word of mouth and blog.  So critical Journolistas and fellow travelers have been taking the more activist suppressive approach, piling onto “2016” en masse. Evidence for this abounds in the numerous critical jibes and diatribes hurled at the film by the usual suspects.

“One thing can be said for “2016,” sniffed the Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan. D’Souza’s film is “anything but crude. The best infomercials rarely are.” Except for Moore’s, of course.

This is only for openers, which becomes clear when O’Sullivan opens the floodgates of condescension: “… make no mistake,” he warns. “D’Souza’s documentary profile of President Obama — which is like his earlier writing attempts to portray its subject as not just anti-capitalist but anti-American — is just that: a slick infomercial. As these things go, the movie seems destined to irritate the president’s supporters while mobilizing his detractors, even as it is doomed to win precious few converts. It’s a textbook example of preaching to the choir.”

Hmm. For a minute there, we thought O’Sullivan was referring to “Fahrenheit 9/11” back in 2004, which was busy preaching to the losing Kerry Choir that year.

Noting the “2016’s” obvious anti-Obama tone, O’Sullivan next attempts to turn the tables on D’Souza with what he imagines to be impossibly clever verbal jiu-jitsu. But his hubris soon gets the better of him.

The film’s “real bogeyman isn’t Obama, who D’Souza acknowledges can come across as an appealing and charismatic leader,” writes O’Sullivan. “That honor is shared by several men D’Souza refers to as Obama’s ‘founding fathers,’ in an unsubtle dig at the president’s patriotism. It’s a group that includes communist Frank Marshall Davis; former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers; academic Edward Said, whose views are described as anti-Zionist; liberal Harvard professor Roberto Unger; and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a proponent of so-called black liberation theology.”

So smug and confident is O’Sullivan that he is, in fact, acknowledging the validity of D’Souza’s key trail of evidence that proves the reality of Obama’s implacable leftward tilt; namely that Obama’s most important mentors—CPUSA radical Davis; Pentagon bomber, confessed terrorist, and now university law professor Ayers; radical PLO apologist and anti-Semite Said; unrepentantly hard left law South American professor Unger; and, of course Reverend Jeremiah “God damn America” Wright, cannot in any way be mistaken for American patriots. Because they’re not. (At least Wright is honest about this.)

D’Souza’s “unsubtle dig” at the president’s patriotism is, in fact, the truth. With friends and mentors like those just listed, Barack Obama was, is, and always will be a man of the left whose loyalties lie with something other than the United States that most of us still cherish.

O’Sullivan quickly dismisses his unintentional crumb of insight with a cynical wave of the hand. “None of the names of these putative villains is new,” he writes, “which gives ‘2016’ the air of a “Nightmare on Elm Street” sequel, pandering to the franchise’s hard-core fans, while boring everyone else.”

In writing this standard party line boilerplate, O’Sullivan fails to understand the nature of his own very real pandering to the left. And, if he had actually seen the film in a theater—which is doubtful—he could not have failed to notice that “2016’s” audiences were far from bored. In fact, in both times yours truly viewed this film, the theater audiences applauded at the end.

But facts are not part of O’Sullivan’s game. ‘2016’ is, we conclude, is O’Sullivan’s own “Nightmare on Elm Street.” He’s just incapable of admitting it.

Washington Times writer Valerie Richardson recently interviewed writer, film critic, and now talk-show host Michael Medved on Hollywood documentaries in general and “2016” in particular, evincing a pointed and opposite response with regard to D’Souza’s documentary (of which he approves) and the milieu in which it was released. “It’s because of Michael Moore and his success that a whole generation of children want to be documentarians, and some of them are conservative,” he noted.

But, according to Richardson, “[w]hat annoys Mr. Medved is that the Academy Awards never acknowledges right-leaning documentaries. ‘The only films that get recognition are left-wing films. Everything else goes straight to the trash can,’” he said. Which will undoubtedly be where the Hollywood left pitches it when the 2012 Oscar Nominees for documentary filmmaking are released.

Buttressing Medved’s points, Richardson herself doesn’t “expect ‘2016: Obama’s America’ to change that trend. Only three of 14 ‘major critics’ listed on the Rotten Tomatoes website gave the film a positive review, with reviewers describing it as everything from ‘a vicious, larger-than-life racist lie’ to ‘deeply boring.’ On the other hand, 77 percent of moviegoers gave it a positive rating.”

Note the predictable, gratuitous use of the “racist” smear in the above context. Apparently, the politically correct contemporary definition of “racist” today describes any individual whose opinion on any topic differs from either the Marxist party line or from the received wisdom of President Obama. Look for more of this as we approach the November 2012 electoral day of reckoning.

You’ve read the critical pro and con that’s currently floating out there on the Internet. We’ve got a few opinions, too, and we’ll get to them in our next column here.


NEXT: What did WE think of ‘2016”?

Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

Follow Terry on Twitter @terryp17


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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times (1994-2009). 

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