The filmmakers follow Oliver North's unsuccessful 1994 bid for a Virginia Senate seat, focusing on North's campaign strategist, Mark Goodin, and a Washington Post reporter. Mudslinging ... See full summary »
What would it be like to run against one of the most powerful political families in America? Enter the backrooms of American politics as a doctor named Kevin Vigilante takes on the Kennedys... See full summary »
John Kennedy Jr.,
A behind-the-scenes documentary about the Clinton for President campaign, focusing on the adventures of spin doctors James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. Bill Clinton himself is almost never seen. Written by
Tim Horrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[in a phone conversation with the director of the Illinois Perot Office]
Read it to me. Well what is names and addresses? I could send you a fax of names, addresses, and phone numbers of who you had an affair with, it wouldn't make it true. Yeah, I just... believe me. Believe me that it's been looked at by every major national news organization. Everything. And it is completely bullshit. If you went on the radio and said that Bill Clinton is the father of an illegitimate black child, you would ...
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The War Room does a good job of extolling the skills of James Carville and George Stephanopolous. Clearly, their work had much to do with Clinton's victory. A little known fact about the film is that the actual campaign manager, David Wilhelm, refused to participate in it. He didn't like the idea of a camera crew roaming the headquarters and recording conversations that he felt should have been private. Clinton overruled him, of course. As a result, the documentary skews history a bit. The nuts and bolts of running a campaign are ignored while the craft of spin doctoring is glorified. In a visual medium, that's not altogether surprising, and it may even have been unavoidable. But the misrepresentation -- or rather, the selective representation -- has had the unintended consequence of contributing to public cynicism about political campaigns, which now appear to be all about the spin, the framing -- the very things that make voters feel like they're being manipulated. Perhaps a stronger emphasis on the heavy lifting of door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, meetings with interest groups, outreach to local officials, event set-up, and the like, would have given a more complete picture. Then again, those aren't exactly telegenic activities, and documentary filmmakers may have been hard-pressed to incorporate them even if Wilhelm had cooperated. But the troublesome implications remain, and are worth considering.
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