Monday, September 10, 2012


Talk about a contrast! Last week I went to see the movie “2016: Obama’s America” on the same day the Democratic National Convention began. Both the movie and the convention centered on President Obama, but the evaluation of the same man was greatly different, to say the least.

“2016” is a documentary, or an infomercial, produced by Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative political commentator and author who (since 2010) is president of The King’s College in New York City. Born in Mumbai, India, D’Souza (b. 1961) came to the U.S. as an exchange student and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1983. In the 1980s he was for a time a policy advisor for President Reagan.

D’Souza is the author of numerous books, his most recent being Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream (2012). That book is said to reveal “how President Obama's recent actions prove his anti-colonialist roots and predicts how much worse America will be if President Obama wins a second term.” D’Souza’s movie is based on his book.
“2016” is already the highest grossing conservative documentary of all time, and has just surpassed “An Inconvenient Truth” and is now in sixth place on the list of all documentaries. Widespread publicity helped to boost attendance.
For example, Sean Hannity strongly and repeatedly recommends it. (That was one main reason I was disinclined to go see it.) Hannity begins each segment of his radio broadcasts with a statement of his intention to make Obama a one-term President. He evidently thinks “2016” will help achieve that goal.
On the last day of the Democratic National Convention that climaxed with President Obama’s acceptance speech, I happened to see that day’s issue of USAToday. I was amazed to find a full page ad for “2016” in section A.
Last month I received an e-mail from a retired Baptist minister whom I have known since we moved to Liberty in 2005. He wrote that he and his wife “just got home from seeing the movie: ‘2016: Obama’s America.’ It makes no difference what your political views are the move is a MUST to see.”
One of my Thinking Friends also recommended the movie. When I told him I was disinclined to see it, he wrote back, “D’Souza has a similar background [to] Obama and this makes it even more effective. I felt he was fair to Obama and seemed to stay with facts and not cheap shots like both sides have been doing.”
Even though I was prejudiced against the movie, because of my friends’ recommendations and urging I decided to go see it at the local theater here in Liberty. When I left the theater, though, I was more convinced than ever that it was a piece of well-produced propaganda. There were some factual errors, but mostly my complaint is that the movie is filled with grossly misleading half-truths, deceptive insinuations, and highly speculative assertions.
If people are opposed to the President and his ideas or policies, so be it. People have a right to their own opinions. But I urge people to base their support for or rejection of political leaders on accurate knowledge of the facts, rational analysis of the issues, and clear-headed appraisal of those leaders’ political positions.
[For a good review and factual analysis, see “‘2016: Obama’s America’ Fact-Check” here.] 


  1. Well said! Thanks, Leroy. And thanks for the link.

  2. Hmmm, I must be living in the dark, or just avoiding the news. I never remember hearing about it, of course, I am not that into movies. I watch them after the hooplah and watch them at home where I am not tensed up from all the loud dolby surround sound that it way too loud for me with problem ears. Yikes, I just hate all the hate that is spewed against someone in order that their side wins the election. Just sad and glad to know about this. Too bad that many will be convinced by the movie as they cannot think on their own!

  3. The following is part of an e-mail received from a retired Baptist minister and former missionary colleague in Japan.

    "Your article on 2016 was very interesting. I agree with your retired preacher friend that 'everybody should see the movie 2016.' I'm glad you went to see it. I'm glad I saw it but it scared the daylights out of me.

    "The source is one who is highly qualified and very reliable. He did a real good job. The last scene of the US with the words, THE UNITED STATES OF ISLAM was scary. Also Obama's mentors and political background."

    1. The poster for the movie has the words "You don't know him," and D'Souza tries to help his viewers discover the "real" Obama by investigating his relationship with his Kenyan father and conjecturing what the President thinks based on that relationship.

      Then D'Souza places guilt by association, linking Obama to several of his teachers as well as to his long term pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

      D'Souza does not mention, though, that Obama was the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 or that he was a U.S. Senator from January 2005 to November 2008. (As there are only 50 Senators, U.S. citizens should have, or certainly could have, known something about Obama during those years prior to his election as President.)

      But if we want to know what the President thinks, why try to analyze his relationship to his father, who died in 1982 (30 years ago!)? And if Obama's dangerous ideas are based on dreams from his father, why did he publish a book with that title in 1995 and allow its re-publication in 2004?

      And if Obama was trying to keep people from knowing him and his ideas, why did he write "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream"? (In the fall of 2006 it became number one on both the New York Times and bestsellers lists.)

      And if we want to know what the President intends, why talk about people like Bill Ayers and his anti-Vietnam War activities in the 1960s rather than his later career as he became a respected Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago?

      And if we want to know what the President envisions, why not talk to his wife of 23 years, whom D'Souza does not mention? Or does he think she is part of the conspiracy, too?

      And how do those who praise the movie think the President has been able to hoodwink people like former President Clinton, who may have had some moral lapses but who is certainly nobody's dummy? (Did you hear his speech at the DNC last week?)

      So, on what basis could one conclude that D'Souza is "reliable"? Or that he "did a real good job"? I certainly cannot in any way regard him as a reliable analyst of the President's thinking or intentions.

      But I guess he did do a good job of raising doubts about the President and creating fear about what he would do if re-elected.

      As I stand by what I wrote in the blog posting above: the doubts D'Souza raises and the fears he creates are based on "grossly misleading half-truths, deceptive insinuations, and highly speculative assertions."

  4. A member of Rainbow Mennonite Church who lives in Kansas shared this comment about "2016":

    "What is interesting to me is the opinions of my neighbors. They come from small town Kansas and love this movie. It feels like nothing more than racism. They are so sure that Obama will unleash a civil war attack after his reelection."

  5. So, the place to go for accuracy and fact-checking is Beth Fouhy at Huffington Post??? Really????

    1. Beth Fouhy is a writer for the Associated Press. The Huffington Post is just one of many places her story appeared.

      It is not surprising that D'Souza made an issue of her review. The more he can keep the movie in the news, the more people will hear about it and perhaps go to see it. Publicity always increases viewers.

      And the is not exactly a neutral news source either.

      Did you read my comments above, which are criticisms independent of those in the AP article?

    2. Well, this is all now so last week. Mitt Romney has announced that Obama is on another "Apology Tour." And here we thought America was just getting ready to bury more victims of terrorist attacks. Perish the thought that an embassy in a dangerous part of the world would try to calm local crowds and prevent bloodshed.

      I saw a comment before the 2010 election saying Republicans wanted victory, and Democrats wanted divorce. The exact emotion identified with the Democrats was "contempt." Contempt is a very tempting judgment. I admire Obama for continuing to try to lift us beyond it. Yet, it is getting very difficult to see how to continue. There is such a loss of trust and respect between Republicans and Democrats that is hard to see how to repair the union. We cannot even agree on facts, let alone solutions. May God save us all.