The New York Times reveals today–in a classic buried lede–that Harvey Weinstein’s film about the killing of Osama bin Laden, set to air on the National Geographic Channel two days before the election, originally included a scene showing Gov. Mitt Romney “appearing to oppose the raid,” a complete fabrication of history.
The film, SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, grants President Barack Obama a “starring role,” and was edited–apparently at Weinstein’s suggestion–to embellish Obama’s involvement: “the film has been recut, using news and documentary footage to strengthen Mr. Obama’s role and provide a window into decision-making in the White House.” The director claims, in his defense, that the edits reduce Obama’s on-screen time.
The Romney scene was cut at the insistence of National Geographic Channel CEO Howard T. Owens, who told the Times: “We wouldn’t air this if it were propaganda.” He explains the choice of the film’s release date as merely the best chance to exploit its commercial potential.
Another controversial film about the bin Laden raid, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which was produced in coordination with the Obama administration and using classified information from intelligence agencies, had its release date postponed until after the election.
Romney has pushed back throughout the presidential campaign against made-up charges by the Obama campaign that he would not have ordered the raid–a claim that has been debunked and widely criticized, not only for the substance of the charge, but for the political foolishness of the Obama campaign in making it.
Now that task has been outsourced to Weinstein, a devoted donor to Obama and other Democrats, who spent $2.5 million to acquire the rights to the film and shaped it to suit his political purposes and preferences.