By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik July 28, 2011 at 11:45AM
Two new political docs came into my purview recently, quite randomly, but they seem to be united by an effort to be nonpartisan.
After all of the hoopla surrounding the Sarah Palin documentary, it's nice to find filmmakers with perspectives that purportedly try to cut through the bullshit of political bias, and try to actually understand an issue, rather than push an agenda.
I haven't seen either film, however, so I can't say if they're any good, nor can I say if their claim to non-partisanship is valid. I have my suspicions, frankly.
But Kevin Williams' "Fear of a Black Republican" and Brian Malone's "Patriocracy" are both being presented as somewhat even-handed.
Williams' website claims "Fear of a Black Republican," is a movie that "neither party wants you to see," and judging from reports, the movie seems reasonable in its general criticism, criticizing Republicans for inadequately and ineffectively trying to court African American voters, and chastising Democrats for taking for granted the African American vote.
But before we give Williams -- a white Republican -- the benefit of objectivity, it's hard for me to believe that he's not surreptitiously pushing some sort of anti-Democrat agenda. The assumption he begins with and perpetuates is that Democrats don't do enough to serve black communities. But the fact of the matter is that African Americans (and the lower classes, in general) are generally screwed by the system. If the film suggests that Republicans would serve them any better, that's not just presumptuous, but ludicrous. (Reagan-Bush, anyone?) But let's hope the film is smarter than that.
If "Fear" may lean right, Brian Malone's "Patriocracy" probably leans left.
Exploring the extreme polarization in America that has crippled the country’s ability to tackle its problems, the film has played around in a rough edit to some local audiences, and features interviews with such commentators as Bob Schieffer, CBS News's chief Washington correspondent, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, and Republican Senator Alan Simpson (see below). Judging from the trailer, the film seems to show that anti-government rhetoric is out of control (that'd be from the extreme right), but it also shows clips of both Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck as symbols of misinformation. It's a good reminder -- for me, and for others -- to cool down the political-baiting and speak the truth.