And the hits keep coming ...
Yesterday, I wrote about complaints lodged by members of Sarah Palin's Alaska posse against HBO's "Game Change," a film about the 2008 GOP presidential campaign that is scheduled to premiere March 10.
You should know that none of the people lodging the complaints, including columnists at Big Hollywood, have seen the film. They are basing their criticism on a HBO trailer for the docudrama -- and making wild leaps of speculation based on a couple of minutes of videotape.
I have seen the film, and think it is already proving to be one of TV's more important cultural productions of the year based on the debate it has generated weeks before its debut.
And by the way, it features terrific performances from Julianne Moore (Sarah Palin), Ed Harris (John McCain) and Woody Harrelson (as McCain adviser Steve Schmidt). This is a culturally important, politically informed and highly entertaining movie.
And now comes Brent Bozell, head of Media Research Center, attacking the film at Townhall.com. in a column headlined "HBO's Palin Pollution." He's upset that accounts like mine report how poorly Palin comes off in the film based on the reality of her performance as John McCain's running mate in 2008.
Since Bozell mentions me four times in the first eight paragraphs of his post (and uses much of what I wrote about the film without providing a link to the original), I guess I need to respond.
You can read Bozell's column here.
Part of what you will read is Bozell taking on my suggestion that folks like him wait until they have actually seen the movie before attacking it by saying they don't need to see it first.
As Bozell writes:
Reporters are already underlining the Palin aides haven't seen the movie. But isn't that the point? As Pat Buchanan once said about another subject, "Does one need to lift the manhole cover to know what's below?"
Not the guy I would quote, but since Bozell has, let me just say, as a journalist, I believe wholeheartedly that the answer is, "Yes, you do have to lift the manhole cover -- always, always, always." Otherwise, you are assuming or guessing -- and both lead to mistakes and stereotypes based on ignorance of the facts.
In fact, I would say that quote suggests the very path to a closed mind filled with stereotypes, assumptions and the kind of uninformed attacks being launched against the film.
So, as someone who has seen the two-hour film, let me just offer one more bit of information based on what's actually in the film rather than some partisan fears as to what Palin truths the movie will reveal to an audience of millions.
The film is being described by those on the right, as if it is only about Palin or is a biography of Palin, to use Byron York's characterization. Read his post here.
But it is neither. Instead what HBO has delivered is a compelling and politically-savvy chronicle of the 2008 Republican campaign for president from the time McCain selected Palin and things started to spin out of control for the GOP.
Palin's many flaws contributed mightily to that tailspin - no doubt about it. And that's powerful stuff.
But, in the end, this story is larger than her or any one politician, as the GOP is once again faced with choosing a ticket for the real White House at a time when this country is in deep trouble.
"Game Change" is in part the story of how our political system let someone as dangerously ill-equipped as her get that close to the Oval Office. And that's something we need to think about long and hard in 2012.
And the hits keep coming ...