SInce it’s opening in theaters, I’ve been downplaying the success of the anti-Obama doc “2016: Obama’s America,” based on conservative author Dines D’Souza’s conservative book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.” Now that the film is proving to be a strong box-office contender, and that’s now an indisputable fact with ticket sales exceeding $5 million over the weekend, and growing, let’s look at this piece of right-wing propaganda another way: Just because it’s making money doesn’t really mean anything this election season.
While the media is quick to make a connection between box office numbers and ideological sway, historically, this has never proven to be the case. Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” tapped into anti-Bush fervor around the country, and grossed more money than any documentary ever, but Dubya still won the Presidency. Not far behind, “An Inconvenient Truth” became another one of the highest-grossing documentaries of all time, and yet, have Americans done anything substantive to combat climate change?
Media events are one thing; politics are another. It’s certainly not good for Obama that hundreds of thousands of people are getting behind this partisan nonfiction takedown, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that hundreds of thousands of people don’t like Obama in the United States. Millions don’t. Millions also watch Fox News. And listen to Rush Limbaugh. And love “The Passion of the Christ.” But those people weren’t ever going to vote for Obama, and that’s no surprise, either.
The media has to do its job, covering the film’s strong ticket sales, but maybe they should take a second to debunk the film’s many specious claims. For one takedown of the film, I urge you to take a look at this post, “2016: A Fantasy from the Right Wing Dream Machine?” in which the author reveals the inherent racism as well as the imperialist values of the film’s author and director. And here’s another, equally must-read report from a more established outlet, the Columbia Journalism Review.