Seal Team Six – Pulp Truth?
Will Screen Seals Seal the Election?
No one ever accused Harvey Weinstein of lacking a flair for marketing. Weinstein is the man who made a fortune with Pulp Fiction. This time he’s out to cash in – and more – on truth.
Now the Weinstein Company is releasing Seal Team Six, a feature film about the operation that assassinated Osama Bin Laden – it airs just before the election. It’s reported that Weinstein had the filmmakers film additional sequences of Barack Obama looking serious as the president walked around the White House and sat at his desk, and then cut that footage into the existing movie. This way, the distributor of Inglorious Basterds makes Obama the Brad Pitt of Seal Team Six.
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden will have its world premiere on Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 8pm ET/PT / 7pm CT on National Geographic Channel.
The Republicans and their birther friends are crying foul. The timing (and the hurricane) makes it hard to swift-boat the commander in chief, although they now plan to try with a commercial that alleges that Obama wasn’t telling the truth about the attack on Bin Laden’s safe house in Pakistan, plus a Fox News blitz on the “cover-up” around the attack in Benghazi. Even after the hurricane, the Swift Boat sails again.
Weinstein’s gambit makes sense. Showing Obama as a decisive leader with the coolness of nerve to take out a mass murderer half-way around the world is a story without ideology that might win over a white working-class voter in Ohio who thinks that Romney’s notion of war is yelling at your caddy. Women who are said to be drifting to Romney might get a sense of security from the movie if they watch it on the National Geographic Channel. Does anyone watch that channel? I can just imagine the jokes about Obama’s birth certificate.
Could a television program make a difference in the final days of the campaign? Absolutely. Television has been significant in the last 6 months, but not in the ways that the people paying for it would have anticipated. Let’s not forget that Romney’s talk to his contributors, captured on video, about the 47 per cent of the population that he doesn’t care about, was a damaging reality check. Would the man who wants to cut everything support providing government-paid health care to the families of Navy Seals?
Obama’s wooden, aloof performance in the first debate with Romney was moving (picture) evidence of a serious error in judgment by the commander in chief. The Democrats are still paying for it, and it’s not sure that they can dig themselves out of that hole.
There’s also the commercial motivation. Films about the Middle East have done horribly at the box office, which should have been a good indication of Iraq/Afghanistan fatigue long before the politicians recognized it. Even The Hurt Locker didn’t attract much of an audience after it won an Oscar. After the election, who’s going to watch Seal Team Six? Before the election, someone might.
Republican laments of unfair play sound hollow now. After all, weren’t they triumphant about the unanticipated success of the documentary film by Dinesh D’Souza, 2016: Obama’s America, which argued in a D’Souza voice-over that Obama’s alleged anti-colonialist streak, nurtured by the father that he never knew, would doom the US to second-rate status in a competitive world. That message packed multitudes into the multiplexes (more than Michael Moore’s Farenheit 911) until the militantly Catholic D’Souza was found to be staying at an evangelical convention with a fiancée, while he was still married to someone else. The public that rushed to the documentary hasn’t seemed to care that D’Souza says he was planning to separate from his wife, to whom he credits insights in his film and elsewhere, and that he was a victim of a plot hatched by jealous evangelical rivals. A right-winger claiming to be the victim of a right-wing conspiracy? Sounds like fun.