Defenders of HBO's "Game Change" have fought back against those who criticize the politically charged film as a two-hour attack on Sarah Palin. They claim that unless a person has watched it in its entirety, they cannot judge its content or the people involved with the project.
Well, I've seen the entire movie, so don't mind me while I go ahead and judge this piece of high-dollar propaganda.
"Game Change" is pretty easy to deconstruct. At its core, it's a left-wing project designed to make one of their most hated political enemies toxic. They used people with an axe to grind to legitimize the story they want viewers to believe and help push their agenda. They also have no problem lying.
Honestly, it was difficult to narrow down this list because there were so many fabrications and distortions throughout the film, but here are the top ten lies produced by HBO.
Lie #10: HBO released a defensive statement to the press along with screeners of the film saying the project "is a balanced portrayal of the McCain/Palin campaign." Having seen the movie in its entirety, I can say that that statement is beyond absurd. There was nothing "balanced" about the story they told. As someone who has studied Palin's career for years, I can say that I didn't even recognize the person sold as "Governor Palin," here played by Julianne Moore.
Beyond the grotesque character assassination, there is a heavy partisan imbalance at work. "Game Change" portrays most Republicans in a bad light -- everyone minus Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson), Nicolle Wallace (Sarah Paulson), Mark Wallace (Ron Livingston), and Chris Edwards (Larry Sullivan). One character refers to former Vice President Dick Cheney as "Darth Vader," while the McCain/Palin rallies depict unhinged men yelling "terrorist" and "he's a Muslim" at the mention of Obama's name. Then, there was the the quote they placed toward the end of the movie which had Sen. John McCain (Ed Harris) warning Palin not to get "co-opted by Limbaugh and the other extremists." None of these instances were balanced and were clearly told from a left-wing point of view.
Lie #9: Virtually every characteristic attributed to Palin in "Game Change" is false. They portray her as egotistical, ungracious, demanding, stupid, forgetful and, cruelest of all, mentally unstable. They do show her as a loving mother, even though they have her go into "catatonic stupors" when separated from her children. Even when they're trying to be nice they're mean. I don't know Palin personally, but I know people who do. I have never heard any stories that fit the descriptions listed above; in fact, I've heard just the opposite.
An egotistical person wouldn't put her state's well-being before her own political career. An ungracious person wouldn't spend her time making long phone calls to supporters, giving them shout-outs at rallies, or spending countless time shaking their hands on rope-lines. It also appears as though Alec Baldwin didn't get the lefty memo. In October of 2008, after meeting her on the set on SNL, Baldwin describes Palin as "polite" and "gracious." Oops!
"Game Change" also depicts Palin as highly forgetful. Around the 70 minute mark, Mark Wallace tells Steve Schmidt that Palin couldn't remember "any" of the information he used to prep her for the debate. As it turns out, another Democrat didn't get the memo. In 2008, former editor in chief of Ms. magazine, Elaine Lafferty wrote:
I'd heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts.
Lafferty also said Palin was "smart" and "more than a quick study." She, however, was not interviewed by "Game Change" screenwriter Danny Strong for the film. Seriously, if you think Palin is stupid, just read her emails. Dumb, mentally unstable people prone to falling into "catatonic stupors" don't generally work their way up to governor. She did, and she did it all on her own. From top to bottom, the "Palin" character is absolute fiction. She is nothing more than a left-wing day dream of who they wish Palin was.
Lie #8: "Game Change" depicts Palin as unwilling to go on stage with Jeb Bradley because he is pro-choice. At the 92 minute mark of the film, Palin tells a staffer:
There's no way I'm going on stage with anyone who's pro-choice.
When HBO sends out statements telling people that they "ensure" the "historical accuracy" of the research they conduct, they're lying. If this woman refused to go on stage with anyone because they're pro-choice, why did she attend rallies with Joe Lieberman in Pennsylvania
during the campaign? Why did she also allow the L.A. President of NOW to introduce
her at yet another rally during the campaign in question? Palin doesn't ostracize people for having a different opinion than she does. Frankly, that's more in line with behavior I have come to expect from the left.
Lie #7: The movie suggests Palin wanted to flee Alaska. At the 89 minute mark, Palin whispers into Schmidt's ear:
I so don't want to go back to Alaska.
Never mind Moore's horrendous acting; the statement is ridiculous. If Palin "so" wanted to get out of Alaska, why does she still live there? And how exactly do you explain "Sarah Palin's Alaska"?
At the beginning of the film, McCain's staff is depicted as searching for a Vice Presidential candidate. The movie clearly tried to suggest that McCain's team picked Palin because she was a woman. To back up this assertion, around the 10 minute mark in the film, McCain is seen saying, "so find me a woman." The real Schmidt admits this never happened. The Chicago Tribune
reports Schmidt said he never heard McCain speak those words. "It was a minor point of dramatization to make a point," Schmidt said. Actually, the entire movie was a major point of dramatization to make a point--a point only an Obama SuperPAC would love.
Lie #5: The sin of omission regarding the film's depiction of the "Troopergate" (aka "Tasergate") investigation certainly qualifies as an egregious lie. The movie briefly mentions it early on, but during a scene at around the 93 minute mark, Schmidt says:
You cannot say that you were cleared of all wrong doing ... the report stated that you abused your power. That is the opposite of being cleared of all wrong doing.
Really, HBO? And which "report" was that? The report they cite was headed up by Democrats in the Alaska Legislature and known
Obama allies during the campaign. It was a political witch hunt, not an honest investigation. In fact, President Barack Obama rewarded State Senator Kim Elton, a longtime friend of Pete Rouse
and Chairman of the Legislative Council who released the report, with a fancy job at the Interior Department
in his administration after the election. It was a shining example of the blatant pay-for-play antics of the Obama administration during the early days.
Something else that HBO purposely leaves out of their movie is that Palin was cleared of all wrongdoing in an independent investigation just before the election in 2008. From the AP:
A report has cleared Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of her public safety commissioner.
Released Monday, the report says there is no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with the firing. The report was prepared by Timothy Petumenos, an independent counsel for the Alaska Personnel Board.
HBO leaves viewers with the impression that Palin had been found guilty of an ethical lapse, when in reality she had been cleared by the very board legally charged with investigating the matter.
After watching the film, I spoke with Thomas Van Flein, Palin's attorney throughout both "Troopergate" investigations. Van Flein undoubtedly knows more about this topic than any other person in the country. He told me that HBO never contacted him.
He also reminded me about a statement released by Hollis French, an Alaska Democrat who was also involved in the Branchflower report. French had said openly that due to their actions, the McCain campaign now had "to deal with an October surprise."
Van Flein also stated:
The true independent board that reviewed this matter and exonerated Governor Palin in the Petumenos report, condemned the Branchflower report as biased, partisan, incomplete, and incompetent.
The Anchorage Daily News reported
at the time:
Petumenos wrote the Legislature's special counsel, former state prosecutor Steve Branchflower, used the wrong state law as the basis for his conclusions and also misconstrued the evidence.
To quote Bill Dyer, the Branchflower report, the one sold by HBO as proof Palin was guilty of any wrongdoing, was "an obvious political hatchet job."
Democrats who were active with Obama's campaign hijacked the process, ignored the law and released a report that fit their agenda. Luckily, an independent board corrected the record. That doesn't stop HBO from misleading their viewers.
At approximately the 16 minute mark in the film, while interviewing the faux-Palin, Schmidt says:
Senator McCain supports stem cell research, you do not.
While the movie is correct in pointing out that Palin differed with John McCain on the issue (McCain supported federal funding of embryonic stem cell research), they make no distinction between embryonic and adult stem cell research. There is a big difference, and Palin supports adult stem cell research, as she pointed out in her interview
with Charlie Gibson:
We’re getting closer and closer to finding a tremendous amount of other options, like, as I mentioned, the adult stem cell research.
A constant theme pushed throughout "Game Change" is the notion that the McCain campaign didn't vet Palin. If you pay any attention to left-wing bloggers in Alaska, you know that this has been a talking point for years. The movie tries to pin the blame of this alleged non-vetting on the man who was responsible for the process, Arthur “A.B.” Culvahouse. The film also suggests Culvahouse didn't ask Palin any policy questions during his interview. This is provably false. The Chicago Tribune
interviewed Culvahouse in 2009. He directly contradicts the way the movie portrayed the vetting process and how Governor Palin was selected:
There were three rules,'' Culvahouse said of himself and McCain. "He was the decider. There was no one between him and me.... There was no one who was going to say, 'This one is on the list, this one is off the list'... Third... he could not pick anyone that I had not vetted.''
Culvahouse, a former counsel to then-Sen. Howard Baker in the 1970s, had delivered Baker's paperwork when he was being considered for Gerald Ford's vice president - there were 19 questions asked.
"The questionnaire I sent out for John McCain had 74.''
They asked her if she is prepared to use nuclear weapons in the defense of the American homeland, he said, and they asked her if, say Osama bin Laden should be spotted, but taking him out would result in many other casualties, would she take the shot?
"She knocked those three questions out of the park,'' he said.
Those were obviously policy questions, and Palin was obviously vetted.
The movie portrays Palin as an absolute foreign and domestic policy dunce. The things they try to get their audience to believe are not only insulting to Palin but to the intelligence of the people watching. At around the 102 minute mark, while talking about the similarities in Obama and Palin's charisma, Schmidt says to Rick Davis:
The primary difference being, Sarah Palin can't name a Supreme Court decision, whereas Obama was a Constitutional Law Professor.
A. Obama was not
a "Constitutional Law Professor." B. A.B. Culvahouse has also stated on record
that the Katie Couric interview left viewers with the "wrong impression" about Palin's knowledge of the Supreme Court. He said:
She clearly did ... My law firm represents Exxon in the Valdez matters,'' he noted. "Until she became governor, Gov. Palin was a plaintiff in that case...
Regarding foreign policy, the movie depicts the Director of Foreign Policy and National Security for the McCain campaign, Randy Scheunemann, as teaching Palin as if she were a child learning about geography for the first time. The movie implies that using maps while discussing foreign policy and national security with a political leader was necessary because she was so dumb. However, during a press conference last week, Scheunemann
I always use maps as a briefer and did so even with McCain.
Around the 46 minute mark, the filmmakers portray Palin as unfamiliar with basic knowledge pertaining to World War I and World War II. During that same press conference, Scheunemann said:
The idea that at any point that Gov. Palin expressed any uncertainty as to who were the various sides in World War I or World War II, or any other war, is absolutely untrue. She was incredibly intelligent. She asked very informed questions. She was very interested and she wanted to understand John McCain’s view of foreign policy because she wanted to be the best possible vice presidential nominee.
Scheunemann went on to explain that his discussion with Gov. Palin about these historic topics was in the context of the historical roots of John McCain's foreign policy world views, not a history lesson.
At the 106 minute mark of the film, Schmidt is talking to McCain after the election loss. He appears as though he wants to apologize to McCain but instead apologizes for "suggesting her." The movie attempts to drive the message home that the primary reason McCain lost was because Palin was on the ticket. That simply isn't the case.
After the selection of Palin for the VP slot, McCain took the lead
in national polls. It wasn't until the economic collapse that the trend started to move the other way. The trend stayed in Obama's favor due to the manner in which the McCain campaign handled that crisis. The decisions the campaign made did not inspire confidence in the American people, and they were not decisions made by Palin.
After months of research on this movie, this lie was certainly very telling to me. Never before has Schmidt's motive for talking to the book's authors and the makers of this movie been more clear. He is trying to absolve himself of responsibility for the bad decisions he (and the Wallaces) made and the campaign they ran. They told their convenient version of events to left-leaning activists in the entertainment industry who loved the lies so much they made a movie out of them. The result is "Game Change."