A year ago today I went head-to-head, live, with Matt Lauer on the Today Show during the coveted 7:30 a.m. slot. The purported occasion for this interview was the release that day of my documentary film on the 2008 election and its aftermath, “Media Malpractice… How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.”
Of course, the only real reason the esteemed Today Show agreed to lower itself to have on a relatively unknown conservative filmmaker who was introducing only his second feature film was that I was providing them with fresh interview video of the then seldom heard from Gov. Sarah Palin. Obviously, this is roughly the equivalent to offering crack to a street addict. During the course of multiple interviews I did that day, NBC proved the basis of my film more than I ever could have on my own…
What has transpired over the past year since that morning provides an enlightening case study on the state of our political media today. But before I share with you what I have learned, let me state some of the basic facts from the last 12 months.
I have appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows to promote the film and traveled to twenty different markets from Anchorage to Boston in order to screen it in front of almost universally enthusiastic crowds. I have been arrested at USC while trying to shine light on the absurdity of them giving Katie Couric a journalism award for her badly slanted Palin interview, and I have had my microphone cut off by MSNBC while discussing the Palin/Letterman flap that a second Palin interview I conducted helped spawn.
The film itself was a massive critical triumph but, barring a miracle, will only be a modest financial success.
But, like any conservative documentary filmmaker with a modicum of sense, my goal in creating the film was not primarily to make money. Instead, it was to correct the historical record with regard to the outrageous and dangerous coverage of the 2008 election and perhaps even influence the narrative of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin by at least planting the seed in our cultural consciousness that what most people have been told by the media about these two figures is simply not accurate.
To this end, while I am not nearly delusional enough to think that the film or my efforts are primarily responsible, there is no doubt that there has been a substantial (and for conservatives, rare) victory in this realm. The evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, is now overwhelming that the majority of Americans rightly now believe that the media coverage of Obama has been far too favorable and downright unfair to Palin.
As for Palin, while she was bizarrely attacked from all sides for having the gall to do an interview for the film which boldly and accurately corrected the record about a Presidential election, it is my belief that this story ended up helping her by far more than simply providing the sometimes vastly overrated value of telling the truth. Weirdly, since it was her first interview after returning to “normal life” in Alaska, the coverage of that episode set the precedent that any time Palin speaks it is considered a media event. This phenomenon became so ingrained in the media matrix that still today even sometimes rather innocuous postings on her Facebook page often make major news.