Entertainment Weekly’s print edition has more or less ignored the summer’s sleeper hit “2016: Obama’s America.”
The magazine didn’t even assign a reviewer to critique the film as it does with virtually every new release.
Owen Gleiberman, one of the film’s main movie critics and a professed liberal, has finally seen “2016.” And, taking a page out of MSNBC’s dog whistle playbook, Gleiberman has dubbed the film racist.
The basic thesis of 2016: Obama’s America makes almost no sense, to the point that a lot of viewers may be tempted to laugh it off. Yet here’s how politics now works: The argument doesn’t have to make sense, because D’Souza’s underlying message is that Obama is a stranger, a man you “don’t know,” a refugee from another land, another culture. Deep down, he’s an angry Third World upstart just like his father. By now, most of us understand that the “birther” theory — the preposterously unfactual notion that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States — is really a code for race. And what’s insidious about 2016: Obama’s Americais that the whole movie, in a sense, is code for the birther theory. It never says: Obama wasn’t born here. But it signifies that he might as well not have been.
Gleiberman then starts liberally smearing the GOP with the same race card. Or race code, to use the parlance of liberals who attack their ideological opponents with absurd claims they cannot prove but cling to all the same.
Of course, Republicans talking about race in code is not new. It’s the whole premise of the Southern strategy (which stretches back four decades), and it was the clear message of the 1988 Willie Horton ad campaign (which kicked off the modern era of political-advertising-as-associational-smear). It’s exactly the sort of mud that was thrown at Obama, over and over again, during the 2008 campaign.