Last Sunday I blogged about the BBC’s decision not to show a documentary because it apparently failed to meet the “strict rules on objectivity”.
On Wednesday the BBC issued the following press release:
It’s one year since the inauguration of Barack Obama and BBC Two has the British premiere of a remarkable Storyville film, By The People: The Election of Barack Obama. Filmed by two young filmmakers who were given remarkable access to Obama’s election campaign, it has captured moments of extraordinary candour and intimacy. This film will be complemented by Simon Schama’s two-part film, Obama’s America, which considers the daunting challenges facing the president; and God Don’t Live Here Anymore?, in which theologian and writer Dr Robert Beckford journeys into heartland America to investigate the impact of Obama, both as a politician and a believer.
How objective can we expect that little lot to be?
From Hank Stuever’s review of “By The People” in the Washington Post:
HBO’s uplifting but stultifyingly naive, please-drink-a-little-more-Kool-Aid paean to the historical highlights of President Obama’s campaign and election…
At a recent VIP screening in Washington, the campaign’s advertising director joked that [filmmakers] Rice and Sams wound up in the way of all best shots of America’s Obama moments. The audience — made up mainly of political reporters who lived through the campaign, and some White House staff — laughed at that, mainly because, as almost everyone acknowledged, “By the People” is really just a very long commercial for Obama.
And here’s the Associated Press:
The documentary has a laudatory tone; after following Obama for two years both Rice and Sams said they voted for him. The film could leave Obama fans pining about potential yet unfulfilled and give opponents another example of the media fawning over the president.
On the day after Obama’s victory, the BBC’s Storyville editor Nick Fraser wrote the following on his blog at the Independent:
I have never seen anyone like Obama. Politicians do not have the wisdom or brass to address us in this way. So, in common with the rest of America and indeed the world I watched the events at Grant park, succumbing to the hope.
Little wonder a “stultifyingly naïve, please-drink-a-little-more-Kool-Aid paean to the historical highlights of President Obama’s campaign and election” appealed to him so much.
As for Schama and Beckford – the BBC covered the previous administration by commissioning aggressively anti-Bush films from the likes of Republican-hating activist Greg Palast. For analysis of the current administration it turns to a historian who is one of Obama’s biggest cheerleaders, and a theologian who has a poster of Malcolm X on his office wall at Birmingham University.