’2016: Obama’s America’ is well-produced, effective political propaganda

A polemic, or propaganda film is not designed to change minds. It’s created to reinforce the beliefs or biases of those who already support it. To energize the like-minded, to rally them to a cause. To attack it because one disagrees with it, or laud it because you agree with it, is more bedwetting than criticism.

“2016: Obama’s America,” is a film polemic; it is not even-handed. It creates a case, using conservative arguments, that President Barack Obama is influenced by anti-colonialism scholarship and seeks, through his two terms, to decrease the influence and strength of the United States by making it more government-centered, loaded with debt and weaker in defense. As a propaganda film, it’s well-produced and effective (just as a Michael Moore documentary usually is). Host Dinesh D’Souza, who also co-directed with John Sullivan, is a well-known conservative thinker. D’Souza is soft spoken but confident, and maintains a reasonable tone to the film.

For more than a hour the ”2016″ is more PBS than FoxNation, as D’Souza guides viewers through an extremely interesting history of President Obama’s life. It’s easy to feel sympathy for our president, who had a tough childhood. An irresponsible father deserted him soon after his birth and his mother appeared more devoted to political activism than raising her son. In fact, when Obama’s Indonesian stepfather began to warm to free enterprise, she moved Obama back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents.

D’Souza travels to Hawaii, Kenya, Indonesia and other locations to recap the president’s diverse past. It’s impossible not to admire the president for achieving so much and overcoming the challenges that life threw at him early in his life. D’Souza interviews friends and Obama family members. I really enjoyed the interview with Obama’s far-younger half-brother, George. Although he lives in poverty, he comes across as an intelligent, thoughtful man, devoid of self pity and far more conservative than his American half-brother. (Although the film does not broach this question, I wondered how the media would react if Mitt Romney had allowed a half-brother to live in squalid poverty.)

An assumption of the film is that Obama’s respect for his mostly absent father, a subject of his memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” has contributed to his liberal political philosophy. Barack Obama Sr. had many personal faults, but he was an accomplished man who studied at Harvard. The film notes policy positions that Obama Sr. crafted for periodicals in Africa. As D’Souza points out, Obama Sr., an anti-colonialist, advocated that nations rely primarily on government to meet needs of citizens. Obama Sr. also was an advocate of very high taxes, even suggesting that a 100 percent on high incomes was not an impossibilty for government to enact.

This is where “2016: Obama’s America” switches into high polemic/propaganda mode. In the final third or so of the film, the filmmakers opine that Obama shares his father’s more radical political beliefs. As evidence, they point to many of his admitted political mentors, including the late communist journalist Frank Marshall Davis, the liberation theology minister, Jeremiah Wright, the late anti-Israel/Western academic Edward Said, unrepentent ’60s terrorist-turned-academic Bill Ayers, and others. As a result, the film argues that President Obama wants to significantly reduce the U.S.’s influence within the world while increasing the influence of nations that he believes have suffered or been held back economically or militarily due to U.S. and western dominance. To argue his case, D’Souza interviews conservative scholars, including Shelby Steele and Daniel Pipes. He also interviews several leftist academics who echo the anti-colonial views that he believes Obama learned from his father and mentors.

Now, Obama supporters will scoff at this, and one can read frantic online reviews more interested in damning D’Souza, the other filmmakers, or other conservatives, than analyzing the film. But, as mentioned, the film is not directed to its detractors. It’s designed to motivate those opposed to Obama’s re-election. And it does a very good job of doing that. It’s produced by an Oscar-winner, Gerald R. Molen, who won with “Schindler’s List.” The film’s politics can be argued, but there’s no fly-by-night production values to scoff at.

I don’t want to give away the “climax” of the film. It’s not my job to reveal spoilers to those eager to see “2016″ for themselves, but the filmmakers argue that President Obama, if re-elected this fall, will initiate a series of liberal/leftist policy changes designed to turn the U.S. into a weakened nation, both economically and militarily. They also argue that the president is determined to reduce U.S. nuclear capability yet allow Iran to gain nuclear parity.

I’m an Romney supporter, but I’m skeptical of some of the claims. The mere fact that President Obama’s policies — including ObamaCare and his reluctance to build an oil pipeline through the U.S. — are supported by 95 percent of Democrats in Congress seems to weaken the case that these initiatives are all part of a semi-secret Obama plan to implement a Said- or Ayers- approved anti-colonialism vision for the United States. (In fact, it would almost be worth re-electing the president just to see if Obama tries to do the dysfunctional things the filmmakers believe he will try.) Even if the president is elected, the probability that Republicans will control the House and the Senate make the probability of such “nefarious” schemes low.

Also, I’m not as convinced as D’Souza (who earlier wrote the book version of this film, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”) that Obama Sr. is as much of an influence in his life as the film claims. It seems to me that Obama’s mother, the leftist scholar, Dr. Ann Dunham, provided more impact into his life. The film lacks information on her life, and on her work studying women and rural third-world communities. The president, interviewed long ago by the Chicago Tribune, said (she was) “the dominant figure in my formative years … The values she taught me continue to be my touchstone when it comes to how I go about the world of politics.” I think that’s pretty accurate. Ann Dunham never dissed Barack Sr. to her son. In fact, she spoke highly of the absent father to her son.

“2016: Obama’s America” is doing well at the box office (read). It’s grossed $2 million despite being on only 170 or so screens. It gets a wider release this Friday. It appears to be doing the job the filmmakers sought, energizing opponents of Obama’s re-election as the vote draws nearer.

 

 

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40 Responses to ’2016: Obama’s America’ is well-produced, effective political propaganda

  1. David Hudson says:

    I’m a independent Obama supporter. I love this review. I’m fine with someone disagreeing with Obama’s views but there is so much crap propaganda out there. Thank you so much for still giving an opponent respect for what he accomplished despite his early obstacles and for dismissing the film for obvious irresponsible propaganda. It was really refreshing.

  2. dae says:

    As an unrepentant member of the 1960s New Left I could only wish that Obama was how he is apparently being portrayed in the film under review. As far as those on the left are concerned Obama is a equivocating apologist for American imperialism. His feint to the left was used by the powers that be to demobilize anti-war activism. They succeeded.

  3. J64 says:

    Watching the ” 2016:Obama’s America” movie in Ohio and seeing the packed movie theaters, this may be a landslide election in favor Romney contradicting the conventional polling. On Nov. 6, we will find out.

  4. Bob Harris says:

    It is strange that this reviewer disses the case for the thesis that Obama the son is pursuing his father’s anti-colonialism, while carefully omitting mention of what may be the capstone of the case: President Obama’s own book, “Dreams From My Father.”

    • ^^^ Bob Harris you dumbAss read the review" says:

      Bob Harris you’re a dumb ass… the author of this review mentions the book “Dreams From My Father” in the first sentence of the 5th paragraph… Next time TRY READING the review before you comment… Then again if conservatives read.. there would be no need for this documentary or fox news…
      I don’t understand how conservatives can applaud/support Ron Paul for wanting to cut the military spending & decrease the influence of the USA around the world (Ron Paul would close almost every military base we Have around the world)… but when/if a democrat suggest the same thing… conservatives go insane, hatch conspiracy theories, & bitch about it… Classic conservative HYPOCRISY!

      • Aaars McGarkle says:

        WHO the hell are YOU to call anybody a dumbass? You are an ass licker for Bacocksucker O-Scumbag! Drop dead you as*hole!!!!

      • D. Michael Martindale says:

        Insulting responses are particularly unworthy of any consideration when you won’t even sign your own name to it, dude.

        • Charlie says:

          He’s right though, he definitely mentioned the title of the book in the review. and honestly it doesn’t matter if someone signs their name on here or not since none of us know each other anyways.

  5. ^^^ Bob Harris you dumbAss read the review" says:

    Bob Harris you’re a dumb ass… the author of this review mentions the book “Dreams From My Father” in the first sentence of the 5th paragraph… Next time TRY READING the review before you comment… Then again if conservatives read.. there would be no need for this documentary or fox news…
    I don’t understand how conservatives can applaud/support Ron Paul for wanting to cut the military spending & decrease the influence of the USA around the world (Ron Paul would close almost every military base we ave around the world)… but when/if a democrat suggest the same thing… conservatives go insane, hatch conspiracy theories, & bitch about it… Classic conservative HYPOCRISY!

  6. Mark says:

    I’ve seen the movie, it’s right on and scary since I’m a democrat. it’s the #1 grossing film this week. Not good for us liberals.

  7. JG says:

    I’ve seen this movie. As a historian I find it ridiculous that they try to paint Obama as being an anti-colonialist, and then try to imply that being a anti-colonialist is somehow anti-american (as if America was a colonial power that controlled a bunch of people/countries across the globe ).
    In reality being anti-colonial is quintessentially American, it’s what we were founded upon.. America was originally 13 British colonies, we got tired of being British colonies that were being exploited by the British crown so we fought for our independence. Which means our founding fathers were anti-colonialist, they didn’t want to be a British colony. Anti-colonialist lead to the creation of this nation so being anti-colonialist doesn’t make someone anti-american.. that notion is foolish & ignorant.
    To this day we as Americans support democracies & free people around the world. Colonies are rarely democratic & are rarely free. Democracy & colonialism are not compatible (something our founding fathers knew). So to be pro-democracy you essentially have to be anti-colonialist.

  8. John W says:

    Romney’s father was born in Mexico.

    I wonder if D’Souza will do a Part II ?

    • D. Michael Martindale says:

      Did D’Souza make an issue of Obama’s father’s birthplace? Did Doug in his review? I didn’t notice it.

      Mentioning where someone lived as part of a biographical overview is not the same thing as criticizing where they lived.

      • Charlie says:

        @John No they won’t make a romney sequel because the producer Gerald Molen is a mormon like Romney.
        But someone could argue that the values of Romney’s grandfather are reflected in him and are destroying America. Example:

        Grandpa Romney left the country.
        Mitt Romney’s money leaves the country.

        Grandpa left for selfish reason because he didn’t want to obey US laws & wanted more wives than he needed.
        Mitt Romney money leaves the country for selfish reason because he doesn’t want to obey US tax laws & wants more than needs.

        • Charlie says:

          Leaving the country because you don’t want to follow the laws is unamerican.
          Sending your money out of the country because you don’t want to pay taxes is unamerican.
          & Etc.

          • Brent Glines says:

            Leaving the country because you don’t want to follow the laws sounds like an exercise in freedom. Same thing with respect to taxes. If it isn’t illegal, people are free to do whatever they want. You may not like it, and it may illustrate an unintended consequence of poorly designed legislation, but to say that it’s unamerican is a bit silly.

            As I recall, according to the Declaration of Independance, our rights are God given, not government given. If the government starts infringing on our rights, then it is the government that is being unamerican, not it’s citizens. And one of those God given rights, I think, is the freedom to vote with your feet if you disapprove of the laws being passed.

            As an example of this, there is a reason why I choose to live in Utah and not in California.

        • Ares says:

          Romney’s Grandpa left because the US Government got involved in a religious practice in violation of the 1st Amendment and limited how many wives a man could have.
          Which part of that sentence is Un-American?
          The Government wants to raise the taxes on the “evil rich people” and not take income tax from 50% of Americans. Being American means “doing your fair share”. If someone is trying to protect the “fruits of their labor” from a government who isn’t taxing people fairly, what is Un-American about that?

          • Aaron says:

            Let’s see who those 50% of Americans are…Military, the elderly, and the disabled, which isn’t 50% it’s more like 15%…Look up facts before you repeat what you hear from 1 source. Look into their rhetoric, on both sides.

  9. Mark says:

    Hey JG, going to over 1006 theatres by Friday. Top grossing, were in trouble so your history lesson is irrelevant and won’t do any good. Even the mainstream can’t cover this up. He needs to respond to the movie instead of ignoring.

  10. Jacob Khakshouri says:

    Saw the movie…..It maybe sensationalized, but that is what movies do……even documentaries…..they must get the point across in 90 minutes….so they create a mountain out of a hill.
    That aside, the roots and beliefs of the President’s social policies do reflect the movie’s essence and message that it attempts to provide to the audience.
    Having lived in Europe for 15 years in the 60s and 70s, I witnessed the flirtation and the complete failure of all the polititical, social and economic policies and philosophies that Obama believes in. In fact that is why I moved to the U.S. in 1982. Since then, Europe is attempting to turn towards a more U.S. form of governing while Obama is adament to try and make a system that has been tried and failed by different governments for over a century.
    I was surprised that the movie did not give any time for Obama’s religious backgrounds and beliefs. I think that would have shed more light on the man and his ideals.

  11. Baby Ice Dog says:

    This movie looks boring and the whole premise is stupid. The sad truth is…it doesn’t matter who the President is anymore. Presidents come and go and have no real power. The people that surround them in the Federal Reserve, Pentagon, Military Industrial Complex, Cabinet, CIA, FBI, CFR etc. have the real power. This doesn’t event account for the elites like the Rothchild’s and Rockefeller’s who basically own the world. You think these people are going to give some community organizer like Obama or some businessman like Romney control of the world and all there money and power…NOT.

  12. Pingback: ’2016: Obama’s America’ is…

  13. Dovie says:

    I submitted this to the trib about 2 weeks ago & I guess they aren’t going to publish it. I agree with Doug, which is unusual. Incidentally, I never watched Michael Moore or the anti-Bush movie either.

    I recently found out, from a friend who frequents such websites as “Obama Makes Me Puke”, that a movie is in the works entitled 2016: Obama’s America. Ads say it is from Gerald Molen, a co-producer of Schindler’s List. Surely that adds credibility. I wonder if the author of the book supports the new project. The director, Stephen Spielberg?

    Googling Gerald Molen, I found he is also the Mormon producer of Johnny Lingo. Rather than do a pro-Romney piece, or even a contrast-Romney-and-Obama piece, he is doing a prophetic-impending-disaster-by-2016-with-the-promise-to-reveal-Obama’s-secret-past piece.

    I must say, the Mormon Media Machine has exactly the same amount of class as the rest of Hollywood and it knows its audience.

  14. laytonian says:

    So Obama somehow absorbed the “anti-colonial” views of his father, a man HE MET ONLY TWICE in his lifetime?

    HERE is the truth about Obama Jr and Sr:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150319/Adorable-childhood-photos-Barack-Obama-pot-smoking-school-days.html

    As far as Dinesh D’Souza — he may be “calm” in the film, but anyone who saw his performance on a recent episode of “Real Time” (Bill Maher) saw someone who seemed high on cocaine and wouldn’t allow anyone else to talk.

    Have fun, righties. Reinforce all you want; you’re not changing minds.

    I also thank Doug Gibson for his fair review (which surprised me in its tone).

    • Jen says:

      Read Obama’s book and you’ll learn that his dad was a huge influence in his life. Doesn’t matter how little time they spent together.

      Keep on blindly hating “righties”, like it’s only conservatives that dislike Obama.

  15. readytovote says:

    did any body know about this. why the documentry didn’t talk about his secret life. his exwife, love boy child and no child support. the child will never know who the father is.

    go to this link and find out

    and vote this creature out of office

    now we know why he care about women

    http://weeklyworldnews.com/politics/29418/obamas-love-child/

    • Jen says:

      That’s a joke news site. I do hope you realize that.

      • Kevin says:

        That is literally a joke website.. like they photoshopped obama into a scene from “the notebook” even the home page has a story that toy story 4 will be rated-r… smh… stupid people will believe anything!

  16. LenB says:

    You have to be kidding me. You believe this? terrible photoshop on the pic btw… I am so ashamed to be a Republican these days

  17. kuku says:

    2016 obama’s america or arab’s america?

    osama’s death was a blow to arabs. if obama reelected he will help to boost wind and solar. that will be another blow to arabs. that means all the arabs in the world have to start going back to the school and start working like anybody else in this world. that also means they won’t have time to do the terrorism.

  18. Ares says:

    What I find interesting is the lack of any comments debunking any of the facts in the movie.
    We have seen attacks on the LDS Producer and Dinesh D’Souza, but nothing dealing with the facts presented.
    Why? Because the facts presented come out of the mouth of Obama. They aren’t 3rd party stories, or guesses based on his religion, etc., They are HIS actions and HIS words.
    Kind of makes it difficult to debunk, so instead, lets ATTACK everyone associated, call them crazy, and hope no one notices the LACK OF REAL CONTENT.

    • The Truth says:

      Thank you, Ares. You’ve pointed out exactly what the left does. They make personal attacks instead of sticking to the issues. Like D’Souza has said, we can’t get inside Obama’s mind, but we can study his behavior and the policies he’s implemented and connect the dots. D’Souza was on Piers Morgan last week. Both Morgan and his guest kept calling D’Souza’s claims “nonsense” but they couldn’t come up with anything to refute his theory. Why not? Because it’s all fact. He’s not making anything up. He’s saying here’s what Obama has done and here’s what he’ll most likely continue to do in a second term and it’s up to you what you want America to look like in 2016. I’ve seen several of his interviews and he always says that he doesn’t believe Obama to be a secret Muslim, or an evil guy, he just believes he wants to level the playing field globally and make up for the wrongs of the colonialists because of the way he was raised and educated.

      Also, to Doug Gibson, how can you compare this film to one of Michael Moore’s. Unlike libs, I’ll actually watch documentaries from both sides and try to look at things objectively. But to say the appearance and content of this film is anything like a Michael Moore film is just ridiculous. Moore’s films are full of inaccuracies and edits that pander to his audience. Watch ‘Michael Moore Hates America’ sometime.

      • Aaron says:

        It’s funny you say that it’s nothing like a Michael Moore video because it’s exactly what it is, with a better film director than Michael Moore. D’Souza even points out that he hopes Michael Moore learns from his film about “pulling facts together in a better fashion”. It’s all conservative propaganda, just like what’s going on in the liberal camp…you would know if you paid attention to both sides like you claim you do. And if you really did, you would absolutely hate BOTH sides, just not 1. They’re both full of BS and both contribute to the people paying more to the government, or their beneficiaries — which you did by buying a ticket to this film.

  19. bahmi says:

    Most people tend to forget one thing. Who is Obama? Why the obfuscations? Why the fictitious Columbia academic experience? Who paid for his education, his so-called education? What is this man covering up and why? I find it laughable for folks to express their love for a guy who thinks HIS anger at America supersedes all others? His phony wifey, the twit who lost her law license? He gave up his license? Why? Likely he is a phony and his so-called law education is sadly lacking, but “he is such a rapturous, captivating speaker”. Of horse puckey, that is.
    Obama is a ten cent Marxist. I hope you folks that love him enjoy paying a guy for destroying the nation. And, by the way. Get lost.

  20. Concerned American says:

    After watching this movie, I immediately tried to find any substantial evidence to disprove the film’s claims. There are plenty of articles that call the documentary “absurd” and “fallacious” but nothing that actually uses any type of evidence to show how or why they’re false. Instead of bashing the opposing party blaming Bush for everything, why doesn’t someone employ some real information to support the argument that this film is indeed fallacious? D’souza explains why he makes these claims against Obama. So, why can’t any liberals do the same?

  21. David KKK Hudson says:

    Not bad for a black man…not bad at all

  22. David "The LEGEND" Caffery says:

    Racist Ba**Tard KKK HUDSON

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