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Why the Success of Anti-Obama Doc "2016" Doesn't Mean Anything for the Presidential Election

by Anthony Kaufman
August 25, 2012 8:54 PM
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SInce it's opening in theaters, I've been downplaying the success of the anti-Obama doc “2016: Obama’s America,” based on conservative author Dines D’Souza’s conservative book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.” Now that the film is proving to be a strong box-office contender, and that's now an indisputable fact with ticket sales exceeding $5 million over the weekend, and growing, let's look at this piece of right-wing propaganda another way: Just because it's making money doesn't really mean anything this election season.

While the media is quick to make a connection between box office numbers and ideological sway, historically, this has never proven to be the case. Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" tapped into anti-Bush fervor around the country, and grossed more money than any documentary ever, but Dubya still won the Presidency. Not far behind, "An Inconvenient Truth" became another one of the highest-grossing documentaries of all time, and yet, have Americans done anything substantive to combat climate change?

Media events are one thing; politics are another. It's certainly not good for Obama that hundreds of thousands of people are getting behind this partisan nonfiction takedown, but it shouldn't come as a surprise that hundreds of thousands of people don't like Obama in the United States. Millions don't. Millions also watch Fox News. And listen to Rush Limbaugh. And love "The Passion of the Christ." But those people weren't ever going to vote for Obama, and that's no surprise, either.

The media has to do its job, covering the film's strong ticket sales, but maybe they should take a second to debunk the film's many specious claims. For one takedown of the film, I urge you to take a look at this post, "2016: A Fantasy from the Right Wing Dream Machine?" in which the author reveals the inherent racism as well as the imperialist values of the film's author and director. And here's another, equally must-read report from a more established outlet, the Columbia Journalism Review.

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  • Arius | October 28, 2012 4:06 PMReply

    Good movie, that gives us more information on Obama. I do not see this as a Left or Right, or other issue. There are facts in the movie that can be factored in to help understand Obama.

  • joe g. | September 10, 2012 12:34 AMReply

    The comments show the inane nature of the rabid anti-Obama right wingers. They can't just debate policies. They must use completely over-the-top gibberish, and discredit themselves.

    I didn't vote for the guy, but he's far more rational than most of his frothing detractors. It's embarrassing, politics in America. Pick your knuckles up off the floor, for God's sake.

  • mclark305 | August 30, 2012 4:56 PMReply

    Maybe this movie will mean something to you when Obama is given his walking papers.

  • Travers | August 30, 2012 2:24 PMReply

    Mr. Kaufman,

    I have an idea for another article. We can call it:

    "Why the Unfortunate Popularity of Anthony Kaufman's Biased Blog Doesn't Mean Anything to Those Who Can Actually Think for Themselves"

  • Molly pitcher | August 28, 2012 11:09 PMReply

    "Inherent racism of the films author" Good lord Obama speak at it s finest ! The author of the film Dinesh D Souza is a native Indian for heaven s sake ! He is every bit as dark as Pres Obama
    how did he manage to overcome "racism" & succeed in todays America? Oh I get it any criticism or exploration of Mr Obama 's personal history immediately qualifies as "racism", how did I manage to forget that ?

  • Anthony | August 30, 2012 8:12 PM

    I doubt Molly Pitcher will read this, but if she does, let me just say that it's entirely possible--and certainly probable among many sectors of society--that a person who is "every bit as dark as Pres Obama" could also be racist towards him. Are you supposing that a man of Indian descent wouldn't be racist towards an African American? Do you think Chinese people wouldn't hold negative views of Japanese because they're both "yellow"?

  • Rita | August 28, 2012 3:07 PMReply

    It was quite an eye opener to see what was never vetted by the left totie media re Obama & his life history. His close family & all who raised him were Marxists & Anti colonialists (hated the British) which is why Churchills bust was banned in the White House. Spread the wealth is Obama's mantra, why he gave billions to Mexico & Brazil to search for oil on our dime & sell it back to us when we financed getting it ! That spread's a nations wealth in addition to spreading our personal wealth via high gas prices & upcoming taxes on wheelchairs, pacemakers, walkers crutches etc, medical devices, Hmmm seems to me medical devices are used by everybody not just those making $250 grand. Obama sure likes to keep facts hidden, dosen t he ?

  • Ava | August 27, 2012 10:57 AMReply

    Anyone familiar with the 'work' of Dinesh D'Souza should not be surprised by this newest piece. The man wrote an extensive thesis in the 90s supporting the Bell Curve theory. And in subsequent interviews when his theories where challenged (and shot to hell, imo), he wilted but he obviously moved on to bigger fish to try to fry. I've also read his editorial pieces that he wrote for Forbes Magazine concerning Obama and what he seems as some 'anti-imperialist agenda' that he alleges Obama co-opted from his absent Kenyan father-- and it struck me as utter hogwash hypothesis that any advanced high school student with knowledge of history and personal bio of Obama could debunk. But perhaps that's just me as well as anyone else who bothers to read D'Souza's theories and knows what he's about. Cheers!

  • djv | August 27, 2012 10:15 AMReply

    Kaufman, same old liberal hacks.

  • Ruth | August 27, 2012 1:36 AMReply

    Is 5 million a good haul?

  • anthony | August 27, 2012 7:37 AM

    Yes, it's excellent for a doc. And it's going to make closer to $10-15M when it's release is done.

  • Isaac | August 26, 2012 2:26 PMReply

    I am kind of disappointed that this website, to which is greatly love, is taking sides on this. It is not fair to call this a "piece of right-wing propaganda".There are many left-wing documentaries out at almost any moment.
    However, to be fair, there certainly is a greater amount of controversy around this election. In 2008, it was so very obvious that Mr. Obama would become president. Now there is actually some doubt, even among traditionally liberal voters, if Obama is doing the best for the country. Personal feelings are what should not be in an article made by a "journalist".

  • Rita | August 29, 2012 6:04 PM

    Issac you made the same *mistake* that I did. I assumed this site would be *fair* or at least attempt to be unbiased but after finally noting the title *reel Politik* that it is a Commie, hack site marrying movies to Communist/ Marxist ideology. I imagine that is how they like to enter the minds of the young, unsophisticated, & gullible. Red banner is a tip off too. Sad situation but we do have a 1st amendment here in the US. We better watch out for it though with that Marxist in the WH I am sure he has his sights set.

  • PirateForRight | August 26, 2012 5:43 AMReply

    Ha ha, hey Kaufman, you WISH! Whistling past the graveyard of America's rapidly growing disenchantment of Obama? Heh heh, worried much? I'll bet.

  • Al See | August 26, 2012 12:02 AMReply

    It is not the numbers ($) that counts but what the documentary will effect the person? The difference here is that moore’s movie was based on hate for Bush but 2016 is saving America. Not bashing Obama but showing that his policy is not for the greater good of the country. This documentary great urgency is to save our country (2016) versus an enjoyment of destroying a person. (fahrenheit 9/11). True American will do almost anything to save their country and will go vote; but people whose enjoyment is belittling a person will have its fulfillment and go their merry way and not care at all including not voting. The real test here is will Obama lose by a few numbers or will he be crashed in this coming election. Less than two months to go and counting ……

  • No | August 25, 2012 9:51 PMReply

    I went to the blog above that was recommended and was not impressed with the analysis offered.

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