EXCLUSIVE: How HBO Attempted to Con Sarah Palin Into Validating Its 'Game Change' Hit Job
"The 'Game Change' trailer doesn't reflect anything I recall." -- Jason Recher, Advisor to the McCain Campaign who was with Governor Palin during nearly every waking moment of the '08 election.
When and how did we know that the upcoming HBO film "Game Change" would be a total and complete hit job produced only with destroying Sarah Palin in mind? Well, we knew that the moment the film was announced back in March of 2011. For starters, the material upon which the film is based, the book "Game Change," written by left-wing political journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, is itself a hit-job, and a poorly sourced one at that.
Among others, no less than the New York Times and Howard Kurtz have questioned the book's sourcing … and sexism. We also know that HBO chose only a small portion of "Game Change" to adapt, the portion that focuses on Governor Palin. Therefore, and quite intentionally, HBO chose to leave out anything that might damage Barack Obama's reelection chances.
If that fails to convince you, watch the trailer. It speaks for itself.
In reference to the trailer (despite promises from the film's screenwriter, no one on Team Palin has yet seen the completed film), I spoke with Jason Recher, an advisor to the McCain campaign and trip director for Governor Palin, the man who spent nearly every waking moment with Palin throughout the entire campaign. Recher told me in no uncertain terms that Palin's "breakdown," which is the dramatic center of the trailer, simply did not happen. He also added that the trailer as a whole "doesn't reflect anything I recall."
The trailer also wants us to believe that a self-made woman who became the governor of Alaska, who delivered this speech, who more than held her own in a debate with Vice President Joe Biden, and not only survived an unprecedented email fisk but came out of it (and how many politicians could say this?) with an enhanced reputation, is some sort of moron.
And just look at the line of dialogue where Palin (as performed by rabid Palin-hater Julianne Moore) is supposed to have said that she "so" wants to get out of Alaska. Really? And I'm supposed to believe that because for the last three years Palin's had every opportunity to get out of Alaska and hasn't?
If a 90-second trailer drops these kinds of falsehood (and more), what kind of falsehoods are we to expect from a two-hour film?
From my lay of the land, "Game Change" is also Steve Schmidt and Nichole Wallace's (the real architects behind McCain's failed presidential campaign) last gasp attempt at piling their historic failure onto Palin, who, in reality, was the only chance McCain had at beating Barack Obama. It's no secret that Nichole -- I'm Best Friendzies With Katie Couric -- Wallace was the person who leaked whatmany claim are outright lies meant to undermine Palin. And now that Schmidt has come out of the closet as "Mr. Deep Background" behind the book and the film, the worst kept secret in politics has finally been acknowledged.
But if you’re still not convinced HBO's "Game Change" is nothing more than a pro-Obama HBO "SuperPAC" ad -- an in-kind contribution worth millions to "Obama 2012" -- look at the people behind the film.
Both screenwriter Danny Strong and director Jay Roach maxed out their personal contribution limit to Barack Obama in '08. Since 2008, the film's producer, Tom Hanks, has contributed over $117,000 -- all to Democrats. But nothing betrays their partisan intentions more than the film's timing.
When the film was first announced by HBO in March of last year, it was widely believed then that Governor Palin would take a run at unseating President Obama in 2012. And what better way to aid Obama's reelection effort than with a multi-million ad campaign (disguised as a docu-drama) targeting the person who could very well be his chief rival.
But even more insidious is the film's release date of March 10. Think about it, if you’re a gang of left-wing operatives with HBO at your disposal, what better release date is there than just a few days after Super Tuesday -- the very day Palin might have secured the nomination. Obviously, the idea was to shock and awe any momentum she might have had, not only with the power and wealth of HBO, but a vindictive news media that would've used the film to beat Palin senseless with all the way to November.
Now that I've laid the necessary context, I'm going to tell you the story of just what a devious and dishonest outlet HBO proved itself to be when it came to their dealings with Governor Palin and her camp. And unlike "Game Change," my sources are on the record.
While "Game Change" was still in production, screenwriter Danny Strong reached Jason Recher (the campaign's senior advisor who was with Palin throughout the campaign). Strong told Recher the he was eager to speak with pro-Palin folks in order to find out if the book "Game Change" got anything wrong.
Recher told me, "I spoke to him briefly, told him [that the campaign] was one of the most positive experiences of my life, and that the 40 pages of 'Game Change' did not reflect my memory of that time."
After that, Recher never again heard back from Strong and later learned, "I was written out of the movie, despite being a key player on an hourly basis for the duration of the campaign."
So much for Strong wanting to talk to people who thought "Game Change" got it wrong!
Before they hung up, though, Strong did make a promise to Recher that he would later break. "Strong did say," Recher recalled, "that if I was ever curious about the progress, or felt uncomfortable with the direction, he would share the script with me."
Fast-forward to the following year, to about a month ago when HBO released the trailer. Recher reached out to Strong assuming he would make good on his offer. "When I saw what a false narrative the trailer projected," Recher said, "I reached out and told him I was very uncomfortable and respectfully requested to see the movie or review the script."
Strong told him that wouldn’t be a problem, but later sent an email, dated February 3, that said he had spoken to HBO and that they all now agree to not send out copies of the script because they want the film to speak for itself.
In his email, Strong made no mention of the screener Recher requested and did not apologize for breaking his word.
And now we know that this whole "let the film speak for itself" email excuse was nothing more than a hustle. Despite repeated requests, no one on Team Palin has received a script or a screener from HBO, but the hostile, left-wing entertainment media sure has.
According to Tim Crawford, Treasurer of SarahPAC, HBO did offer to come out to Governor Palin's home in Wasilla, Alaska, for a private screening, but that offer was wisely turned down. Obviously, HBO was looking for an easy piece of publicity that they could spin into Team Palin somehow endorsing their hit-piece.
Besides, would you want these people in your home?
As much as HBO might want you to think different, Palin and her people are not dumb. Crawford told me that others, including the Governor, received interview requests from Strong but that they all were well aware that the very foundation Strong was using to write his film was based on a hit-job. It wasn't as though Strong and HBO chose to make a movie about Sarah Palin from her auto-biography, "Going Rogue." Furthermore, the film's director is Jay Roach, and it was Roach and Strong who had teamed up once already to rewrite history to the left's advantage with "Recount," a one-sided HBO film that took viewers behind the scenes of the 2000 Florida recount.
In my opinion, Strong and HBO were attempting to play a sucker's game with all-involved. What he and HBO were obviously hoping for was any kind of cooperation that would allow them to claim that the Governor and/or her people had validated their own cinematic crucifixion.
It's quite obvious today that HBO doesn't want anyone sympathetic to Governor Palin to see the film before it airs March 10. They don't want to give her or her team time to rebut the falsehoods that are already on display in the book and that have already been uncovered in the trailer and in news reports.
This shows a stunning lack of faith on HBO's part.
Obviously, all involved are worried the film won't stand up to scrutiny.