Flashback: Media Praised Theatrical Assassination Of Bush

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Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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The media reactions to those appalled by the theatrical assassination of President Donald Trump mirror reactions by the media toward those offended by a 2006 independent film that imagined the assassination of President George W. Bush.

Directed by Gabriel Range and produced by a British media outlet, “Death of a President” received critical acclaim and earned itself a Toronto Film Festival award that year.

The Washington Times noted the praise the film received and the scorn toward upset supporters of Bush, including one from Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday.

“Is it politically provocative agitprop or merely a cynical, exploitative stunt?” wrote  Hornaday. “Probably the latter, but one that has been performed with unusual dexterity. Structured like an installment of ‘Frontline,’ ‘DOAP’ often has the taut urgency of that PBS series, with witnesses providing a detailed tick-tock of events as they unfolded. Indeed, ‘DOAP’ is so convincing that, like most he-said, he-said documentaries, it eventually suffers from a fatal, talking-head inertness.”

The critic at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote at the time that anyone who complained about the film were just partisan Republicans who would not see it anyway.

Vancheri added, “’DOAP’ is a better example of innovative filmmaking than pure political thriller, but it may keep you guessing. And it has enough hot-button topics (terrorism, anti-Arab sentiment, the war in Iraq, public protests, civil liberties) to keep you arguing until election night … 2008.”

The current “theatrical’ assassination of a sitting president received similar reactions from art and theater critics who ho-hummed the disgusted reaction to the film’s content.


The Guardian’s review of the New York Central Park rendition of Julius Caesar, with a Trump look alike as the title character, responded to the corporate sponsor pull out of the play saying:

“Sponsorship, a British director once told me, is implicit censorship. As if to prove the point Delta Airlines and Bank of America have pulled out of funding a New York Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of Julius Caesar on the grounds that the Roman dictator is played as a blond-haired bully with an American tie-pin and a Slavic wife. A spokesperson for one of the sponsors said the portrayal of Caesar was clearly designed ‘to provoke and offend’, which some of us thought was one of theatre’s basic functions.”

The New York Times, a sponsor of the Shakespeare play in the park, complained about the “right-wing” and how it would be upset about the “theatrical Trump storm approaching gale force.”

“Naturally, some right-wing commenters are revving up their outrage over what they assume is an incitement to violence against the president,” Times critic Jesse Green wrote.


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