Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 21, 2012, 1:06 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin
from Oakland, CA
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Kolhatkar: Chris, I want to start with you to get your impressions first of this film. You had the chance to watch the documentary, and then, I’d love to get Dinesh to respond to you. What did you think overall of this film, “2016: Obama’s America?”
Hedges: Well, Dinesh is a better propagandist than he is psychoanalyst. It is vile in terms of its underlying racism, its pandering to stereotypes, its demonization of Obama—and I’m no fan of Obama. But the film is in essence a sort of elongated attempt that we saw during the Kerry campaign at swiftboating a politician by using half-truths, innuendos and lies to turn him into a monster. And Obama is a politician. He had some of the roots and connections that Dinesh points out. But he shed them as fast as he could, as he rose within the political machine in Chicago, jettisoning not only whatever principles, in my mind, he had. And I was a good friend of Edward Said, all the way back to Jim Friedman, the president of Dartmouth. When Dinesh was at the Dartmouth Review, he characterized him, or dressed him up as a Nazi—Jim was Jewish—and put him on the cover. He threw Jeremiah Wright away, I mean, that’s in the film, and that’s correct, and they did try and, the Democratic party, buy Wright’s silence. And the tragedy of Obama, and it is a tragedy, is that he, in the service of his ambition, was very quick to toss off any principled position that he had until, of course, he became a servant of the corporate state. Which is the real tragedy of Obama.
Kolhatkar: Dinesh D’Souza, how do you respond to this? What was your main goal in making this film?
D’Souza: The film is an attempt to tell a side of Obama’s story that has actually never been told. The remarkable thing is we have a president who was admittedly kind of an unknown guy in 2008. That was understandable. He came out of nowhere, an economic nosedive in part helped propel him into the office, but what is kind of remarkable is that four years later, there’s so much about him that is not known, that if he were anyone else, it would be known. And it’s not just that we don’t know his SAT scores or his law school scores, or we don’t have his thesis, we don’t know who his friends were at Columbia. All of that’s interesting. But I think more deeply, his underlying compass is not understood by people. And so the film is an effort to sort of raise the curtain on how Obama thinks. And if there are half-truths and lies in the film, they come from Obama. Because at critical points in the film, we play Obama’s own voice, saying what he believed, what he did. So Obama will say things like, “I stayed away from all the normal professors. I looked for the punk rock poets, the Chicanos, the Marxists, I wanted to hang out with those guys.” That’s a paraphrase, but that’s Obama’s own voice. And what’s most incriminating in the film comes from Obama. And this is why a guy like Chris Hedges is nervous, because the film is damning, not because what it says is false, but because what it says is true and eye-opening.
Rest of the transcript here: http://www.commondreams.org/further/2012/09/20-2