Barack Obama’s ‘starring role’ in Bin Laden film angers right
GOP outraged as film, airing two days before US election, is re-edited to include more Obama footage
NEWS that President Obama will have a starring role in an Osama bin Laden raid documentary, airing two days before the US election on 6 November, has angered Republicans.
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden is a 90-minute film backed by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, a long-time Democratic contributor and Obama supporter.
It tells the story of the hunt by intelligence operatives and Navy SEAL commandos for the al-Qaeda founder, who was killed on 2 May 2011 in Pakistan on Obama’s orders.
Weinstein bought the distribution rights to the Bin Laden film for about $2.5 million at the Cannes festival in May. It will be shown on 4 November on the National Geographic TV Channel, accessible to 85 million American homes, and will be available the next day on Netflix.
Conservatives first became angry when it was revealed earlier this month that it would be shown so close to the election. Now the New York Times has revealed that the film has been re-edited, using news and documentary footage to strengthen Obama's role and provide a window into decision-making in the White House.
The President appears in the opening scenes and is filmed walking alone, presumably deliberating on what to do about bin Laden. In the final scenes he declares: "Justice has been done".
Obama and his camp are said to have offered no input into the making or timing of the film - but Republicans are suspicious.
With statistics showing that at the last presidential election ten per cent of voters decided their vote in the final week of campaigning, the film has been described as a political stunt. (In the 2004 election, nine per cent made up their minds in the final three days.)
"It's a propaganda film from start to finish," said one conservative, quoted in The Guardian. Another asked: "I wonder if Obama is going to have a starring role and jump out of the helicopter.”
Writing for conservative online website FrontPage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield describes the film as an "Obama informercial".
He points out that the new Obama material was gathered by Meghan O'Hara, a producer who worked closely with the documentary maker Michael Moore on politically charged projects like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko.
This movie is not about the people who "actually did take down Bin Laden and risked their lives doing it", claims Greenfield, it's about the man who "sat on his ass while they risked their lives".
The film-makers have insisted the cuts were not a political decision, but were simply to give the film a "stronger sense of realism".