ABC News: World Without "America" on "This Week"

Originally published at ABC News.

Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza and Prof. Michael Eric Dyson debate D’Souza’s new film America.

Dinesh D’Souza appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos to debate America, his new film, with Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson.

Read the transcript of the segment below.

Martha Raddatz: We’re back now with the man called the “Michael Moore of the Right,” author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. He’s out this week with the new film “America: Imagine The World Without Her,” taking on liberal critiques of the country’s past and present, but some are calling the movie historical revisionism. Here’s Jeff Zeleny with a preview.

Video: What if George Washington had been killed by a sniper’s bullet?

Reporter: Could this provocative take on American history be this summer’s box office smash?

Video: What would the world look like if America did not exist?

Reporter: Controversial filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza offers a striving defense against the country’s critics on historical issues like slavery and land taken from native Americans and against charges today of the excesses of capitalism and America’s role in the world, all pushing back against what D’Souza calls the “shame narrative.”

Video: If America is a force for good, why are they trying to make us feel bad?

Reporter: The movie’s other targets, President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Video: Hillary wanted the radicals to become the government.

Reporter: It’s a one-sided view of history that the right wing filmmaker hopes will equal the success of his last movie, “2016: Obama’s America.” That took in over $33 million as one of the highest grossing documentaries ever.

Video: It’s not a rah-rah patriotism that uncritically celebrates America.

Reporter: On this Independence weekend, a controversial look at America. New fireworks for the old partisan divide. For “This Week,” Jeff Zeleny, ABC news, Washington.

Raddatz: And Dinesh D’Souza joins us live, as well as Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, who is interviewed in the film. Welcome to both of you.

Mr. D’souza, let me start with you. The majority of this film seems to be a defense against those who question anything about this country’s history.

Don’t you have to look back, especially at something like slavery, acknowledge what happened before you can move forward?

Dinesh D’Souza: Absolutely, and actually in the beginning of the film we have numerous critics of America, you included, Noam Chomsky, a native American activist, and we lay out the case against America very passionately and without me making any defense, but I think that the film then turns around and addresses the critics and makes points that get neglected. So, for example, …

Raddatz: Pretty quickly it moves on. I watched it, as I told you. I watched the entire film. It moves pretty quickly.

D’Souza: The reason is that the critique is so well known. In fact, it’s drummed into young people endlessly in schools and in colleges. What’s missing is the answer to it.

So, for example, when Martin Luther King said I’m submitting a promissory note and I demand it be cashed, what was he talking about? Actually, he was talking about the Declaration of Independence, so the reform movements in America to change things have not been breaks with the America founding, they’ve been returns to the American founding. So that’s what the film is, it’s the defense of the spirit of 1776, the same spirit that brought me to America as an immigrant, to live a life unavailable elsewhere in the world.

Michael Dyson: Well, look, to say there’s not a discontinuity between Martin Luther King Jr. and the larger America compact and project is absolutely right. The problem is, as the leftists said, it’s not progressive-ism that has made that claim, it’s people on the right. Now they’ll make an exception for Martin Luther King Jr., but those of us who are critics of the American state don’t believe America is a nation doomed to its own — hoisting its own petard. We’re saying, look, if you love America like James Baldwin said, he said “I love it more than any other nation in the world, therefore, I reserve the right to criticize her relentlessly.”

And I think the point you began with is something that we should remember: that those who are critics of America don’t hate the nation, they love the nation. They want to love it into a better future. Martin Luther King Jr. said, the night before he was murdered, America, be true to what you said on paper. If the litmus test of authentic patriotism is the commitment to an ideal and a goal that furthers the conversation about all people participating equally then that’s the kind of conversation we have.

He shouldn’t be demonized or others who succeed in his — you know, who are successors to him should not be demonized for their questioning.

Raddatz: Professor, I want to move on quickly because we don’t have too much time on this.

At the end of your film, you make a turn to politics more directly and you essentially have a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama turning this nation into a socialistic nation, something you said started when Hillary Clinton was in college.

D’Souza: Yeah, it’s not a conspiracy theory. Rather, a lot of people think that Hillary is like Bill, they go, we kind of want Billary back in the white house because — and the point we make in the film is, no, there’s actually a bridge connecting Hillary to Barack and that bridge is Saul Alinsky.

Now many of us develop our political ideas in our formative years. I was a young Reaganite in the early ’80s. Obama talks about standing at his father’s grave and having a sort of moment of revelation. Hillary met Saul Alinsky in high school, she brought him to Wellesley College, and she wrote her thesis on him. We’re not inventing a connection between them. The connection is well documented. What we show in the film is rare footage of Alinsky.

Raddatz: Professor Dyson, quickly, we have about 30 more seconds. Here’s the reality.

Dyson: Yes, she has interpreted and interpolated Alinsky, but not given the suspicions of Mr. D’souza, somebody who is trying to bring down American government. She’s trying to make that rare act of a politician in public, to bring ideas to bear upon the forces that prevail that help the nation become its best self and to work against the demons that are bespeaking, if you will, a negative impact on America, so Alinsky in terms of his impact on Obama and Hillary Clinton, I’m sure the Alinskyites would say it’s barely discernible now in their political lives.

Raddatz: Thank you both. It’s a very interesting movie. Everybody should go see it.

Read more at ABC News.

 

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12 Comments

  • Elliot Harvey says:

    July 6, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Raddatz should have let Dinesh close by telling people to “see the movie or buy the book” and “decide for yourselves.” Or she should have done it.

  • Natalie Zelenak says:

    July 6, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    Ah could someone please tell me what the heck Micheal Dyson was trying to say. It all sounded like gobbledygoo when I watched the video. I scrolled down to read it thinking it would make more sense only to discover it really was gobbledygoo.

  • Timur says:

    July 6, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    So, Mr. Dyson, when Ward Churchill says he would drop an atomic bomb on the country, was he really trying to improve things? Critical introspection is a good thing, but the left have pushed the negative side of this narrative without any balance. If you were to raise a child and only ever criticize, only ever find fault, only ever point out the weaknesses, you would eventually have a very depressed, very self-loathing child (and you would be guilty of child abuse). The film doesn’t whitewash our history, it puts it in perspective. It gives optimism – a feeling the left seems to want to deny to the people.

  • Patrick says:

    July 6, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    If America was a house, the Left would root for the termites and blame the architect.

  • Bleufishcat says:

    July 6, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Since when did facts become controversial?!

  • Becky Buck says:

    July 7, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    Martha, you say you watched the movie and you think it moved on pretty quickly. I have seen it three times thus far and I certainly disagree with you. There was a lengthy part at the beginning of the movie to explain the indictments against America. A “lengthy” explanation which included illustrations, videos, and personal interviews conducted by Dinesh. Unlike you, he did not debate or contradict them, nor did he interject his own views. Dinesh is a very gracious man and obviously extremely intelligent with a fervor for America and a passionate desire for the truth to be told about America. Whereas, Obama wants to “fundamentally transform the United State of America,” Dinesh wants to restore America to her rightful, uniquely exceptional place. Now that we have seen what Obama’s socialist “transformation” looks like, a healthy majority of Americans don’t like it. But, Obama is still intent on forcing his vision on America. Clearly, the “revisionists” are on the liberal left, they are the progressives, like Howard Zinn, the social activist who calls himself a historian. We have early, well documented accounts of our history by “historians”, and eye witnesses of our beginnings. Dinesh’s history is also well worth the read: http://www.dineshdsouza.com/about/

  • steve says:

    July 7, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    Everyone should see the film and then decide. I saw it on opening day and it brought tears to my eyes at certain points in the film. My one wish would be that ALL Americans see it at least once and then have a national dialogue on the contents presented. Thank you Mr. D’Souza… your name makes me think of another patriot…John Phillip Souza…I think of him every 4th of July.

  • Gary says:

    July 7, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Why does Radditz preface Dyson’s last comment with “here’s the reality”…

  • joe says:

    July 7, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    FDR said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – so we don;t need to fear obamaites – we need to answer their propaganda with truth – brilliantly portrayed in this fantastic movie!

  • Alexis says:

    July 7, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    All I heard from Dyson was “blah blah blah”. Very disappointing interview. What was Dyson doing there, anyway? This should have been for Dinesh to tell about his movie, not a debate ABOUT a movie. Dinesh didn’t get much of a chance to tell what his movie is about. I saw it over the weekend, and it was AWESOME! Thank you Dinesh, for bringing many truths forward, and for loving AMERICA!

  • Anthony Lanfrank says:

    July 9, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Was it me or was I imagining that every time D’Souza wanted to say or rebuke something she cut him offf? Am I wrong?

  • Roger says:

    July 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Is Raddatz being intentionally stupid when stating at the top that “…some are calling the movie historical revisionism.”?
    It’s common knowledge that historical revisionism is when you take ‘ACTUAL history’ and ‘revise’ it according to ‘what you believe’ happened decades (or centuries) ago. It’s also common knowledge that the left-wing universities across the nation (and some public school systems) are actually committing this sort of historical revisionism. With only seeing the trailer for this movie thus far, I can see that D’Souza’s concept is to present a ‘hypothetical vision’ of what the world would look like IF the creation of the United States of America never happened. This is not a revision of America’s history. It is presenting her history and then asking: ‘What if none of this ever happened’? It’s actually a stroke of genius from a very gifted thinker and sober-minded patriot, in (what I believe) is an attempt to make people think positively about America IN SPITE OF her admitted errors, missteps, disasters, contradictions, etc. Obviously, many of the aforementioned negative aspects of her history have been addressed, redressed and corrected BECAUSE OF the founding principles that were presented as the benchmark we STILL need to be striving for – NOT DISMANTLING ALTOGETHER, as Alinskyites like Obama are attempting to do. PS – Patrick, your statement about the ‘termites’ and the ‘architect’ was absolutely BRILLIANT – one of the most brilliant, accurate and concise assessments of the Left I have ever heard (just brilliant).