Originally posted at The Guardian.
The documentary maker, whose film 2016: Obama’s America was a hit in the U.S., is to probe Hillary Clinton’s formative years in new film America.
Rightwing documentary film-maker Dinesh D’Souza, whose popular film 2016: Obama’s America attacked the president ahead of the 2012 election, is turning his attention to prospective presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
In his new film America, to be released on 4 July, he follows Hillary Clinton’s political awakening and career, arguing that Clinton is trying to “undo the nation’s founding ideals”. He portrays her meeting with community organiser Saul Alinsky as a teenager as being a “radicalising” moment, which cemented a distrust in the American middle class.
“Hillary and Obama both started out as bohemians or hippies, and then quickly adopted the Alinsky-ite approach of, as Alinsky says, ‘dressing square’: seeming very respectable, being very self-disciplined, and ultimately pretending to be a friend of the middle class, whose values you are trying to undermine,” D’Souza said in an interview with rightwing website The Blaze.
He also argued that Americans were taught to be ashamed of their country via the traumas of western expansion and slavery, “a kind of programmed narrative of American shame, and the reason for that is that they are being prepared for a political and financial shakedown … that if history had been fair, they wouldn’t have this big house and this nice couch and this big-screen TV and this nice car.” He said that Obama and, if elected in 2018, Clinton, were aiming to reduce America’s power and influence, calling Obama a “global redistributionist.”
D’Souza is a popular voice – 2016: Obama’s America became the second highest-grossing political documentary ever in the US, making $33.4m, while America is produced by Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List producer Gerald R Molen, and features an extended debate with Noam Chomsky.
The focus on Clinton in the documentary is especially significant, given that the US TV networks NBC and CNN both backed down from miniseries that would have portrayed her life. Set to air before the 2016 presidential race in which many expect her to run, both right- and leftwing voices expressed concern that the series would be either too favourable to Clinton or too politically cautious. Liberal voices will now likely clamour for a counterweight to D’Souza’s film.
D’Souza, born in Mumbai before emigrating to America as a student, angered the Obama administration with his previous film. Obama’s campaign website described his views as “offensive and repugnant”, saying the film was “an insidious attempt to dishonestly smear the President by giving intellectual cover to the worst in subterranean conspiracy theories and false, partisan attacks.” Others also criticised it, with the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody typical in calling it a work of “propaganda that offers base innuendo in lieu of argument”.
D’Souza recently pleaded guilty to having made illegal campaign contributions, using other people’s names, to a failed 2012 Senate campaign by Republican candidate Wendy Long. He faces between 10 and 16 months in prison.
He has suggested, even after his guilty plea, that his indictment is politically motivated following his Obama film: “We don’t want the politics of putting your critics into handcuffs. It’s a very troubling way for a country to operate. In fact, it’s the way third world countries operate, where they use the army or the police to go after their opposition.” His producer Gerald Molen agreed, describing his indictment as “criminalizing dissent through the selective enforcement of the law”.
Read more at The Guardian.
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