HBO's Growing Credibility Problem

HBO's Growing Credibility Problem

We’ve already caught HBO in a whopper in a statement the network released yesterday. In trying to explain their way out of a partisan film put into production when Governor Sarah Palin was still a likely contender for the GOP nomination, and scheduled for release on March 10, just days after Super Tuesday when she might have clinched the nomination, HBO let this one fly:

In the tradition of past HBO Films’ release schedules, ‘Game Change’ is set to debut in the spring.”

That is a flat-out lie.

For starters, spring doesn’t start until March 20, a full ten days after”Game Change” premieres. Secondly, as you can see here, a spot check revealed that HBO premiers their films all throughout the year and that “Recount,” a 2008 HBO film produced by many of the same people behind “Game Change,” was released on May 25, a full eight weeks after Super Tuesday.

But that’s not all…

Late yesterday, on a conference call, we also learned that several aides to Governor Palin requested the opportunity to see “Game Change” in advance. HBO refused. And yet, Palin-antagonist Steve Schmidt, the man who only recently admitted he was Mr. Deep Background for the book and film, the man who has been on a vendetta to blame Palin for his gross mishandling of the 2008 election — has been allowed to see the film:

Contacted by CNN, Schmidt said that he has screened the movie and defended its accuracy.

“The movie accurately and truthfully captures the experience of the campaign,” Schmidt said.

So what you have here is HBO intentionally stacking the deck.

Those who are rabidly anti-Palin, like Schmidt and any number of film reviewers, are allowed to see the film in advance. Those loyal to Palin, and more importantly, those who were with her constantly during the ’08 campaign, are not allowed the same access.

Palin advisor Jason Recher, who was with the governor almost constantly throughout the campaign, said

…flight manifests from the campaign show that Schmidt only traveled with Palin four times during the campaign, while the authors of “Game Change,” Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, were never on the campaign plane.”

Recher also told me that “Game Change” screenwriter Danny Strong promised him a copy of the script or the film if at any time he was concerned the film was inaccurate. According to an email dated February 3rd, Strong reneged on that promise.

Strong is now denying he made that promise, but at this point, I would find anything said by anyone involved in “Game Change” impossible to believe.

“Game Change” is over 450 pages long. Only about 10% of the book is about Sarah Palin, and not a single source in the Palin portion went on the record.

Yesterday in a conference call, seven Palin aides did go on the record to dispute both the book and what they’ve seen and heard about the HBO film. Given the choice between those willing to go on the record and those who chose to hide in the shadows, everyone involved in the “Game Change” from book to film chose the latter. Gee, I wonder why.

Who you going to believe? A network that lies about its own release schedule? The gang of partisan left-wingers producing the film? Two left-wing journalists who weren’t even there? An embittered McCain campaign strategist so toxic he can’t get another campaign job?

Or are you going to believe seven people willing to go on the record, and your own eyes?