If you are a supporter of President ,you may not have heard about the new documentary 2016: Obama’s America, which opened in limited release last month. The film, which is based on the books The Roots of Obama’s Rage and Obama’s America by conservative writer Dinesh D’Souza, is being successfully marketed to audiences who are staunchly anti-Obama and suspect the president of radical anti-capitalist views based on tenuous connections between the president and his father, Barack Obama Sr.
The movie is preaching to the right wing choir and that crowd is willing to shell out the cash. The movie is doing well – so well in fact that some are comparing it to Michael Moore’s blockbuster Fahrenheit 9/11, the unabashedly liberal, anti-Bush documentary released before the 2004 elections. Last week it grossed $1.24 million in just 126 theaters, and producers are feeling so ambitious about its potential that it’s being expanded into 1,096 theaters this weekend. The $2.5 million film is expected to break into the top 10 — with Entertainment Weekly predicting a gross of $7.2 million or more. This would be unprecedented for a documentary.
The film alleges that President Obama has “a dream from his father that the sins of colonialism be set right and America be downsized.” D’Souza claims he’s “not trying to bash Obama in any crude way” and the slickly produced film is more like an infomercial to promote D’Souza’s earlier work than a documentary.
The thesis is that Obama harbors anti-colonialist views that he somehow inherited from his Kenyan father despite the fact that his dad played no role in raising him. As its been previously reported on theGrio, D’Souza’s attempts to cast the president as a radical based on sharing biology with a father he never really knew are a stretch, to say the least.
“D’Souza’s Ivy League pedigree affords him a certain deference, but his theories are no less far-fetched and couched in the prevailing ethos of Obama as “different” and anti-American, based on his lineage,” wrote Mychal Denzel Smith back in July.
Appearing in the documentary is President Obama’s brother George Obama, whom D’Souza essentially exploits in an uncomfortable interview, in which he attempts to portray the president as neglectful for leaving his brother to live in poverty in Kenya.
D’Souza has a thin veil of credibility that allows him to influence an audience that is already in staunch opposition to the president, but his intentions are clear. By connecting Obama to the right’s favorite villains — from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, to other, lesser-known men tangentially connected to the president, such as Edward Said, Frank Marshall Davis, and Roberto Unger, D’Souza perpetuates an elaborate conspiracy of guilt by association.
2016: Obama’s America will do well among those who believe all of the lies told about the president over the past four years on the right. It’s not yet clear that the film will impact the upcoming election in any real way. Fahrenheit didn’t, despite speculation at the time that it would create the public outcry necessary for George W. Bush to lose his re-election campaign. Still, a crowd that enjoys a propaganda film about a president they already dislike may leave the film more fired up to vote against him.
No matter what D’Souza says, there isn’t any evidence to support his theory that the president hates America or that by 2016 the country will be in the dark ages, and yet that fact won’t stop hard core Republicans from supporting the film. The effect of the film on those who support the president is likely to irritate Obama’s base, who already dismisses these attacks on the president as racially motivated and off the mark.
Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter at @zerlinamaxwell