Media bias film analyzes coverage of 2008 presidential election
A new documentary analyzing the coverage of the 2008 presidential election is coming to town Thursday, June 4, at the Studio Cinema on Trapelo Road in Belmont.
“Media Malpractice: How Obama got elected and Palin was targeted,” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. It will include an introduction by author, broadcaster and filmmaker John Ziegler and a discussion after the film.
In the film, Ziegler weaves together clips and information from various news outlets to make his point: That the mainstream press delivered more favorable coverage for one candidate, Barack Obama, while targeting another candidate, Republican vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin. Ziegler believes this influence “permeated the public consciousness” and delivered the election to the Obama-Biden ticket.
“Like a lot of people, I was astonished and outraged with the media coverage of the presidential race, from the start of the primary season,” he said Tuesday.
Ziegler was so sure that Barack Obama would win the presidency, he purchased the Web site domain www.howobamagotelected.com in June 2008 and started to think about producing a documentary.
“I was positive it was going to happen, even before Sarah Palin became a part of the equation,” he said, calling the media “biased on steroids, dangerous and unprecedented … Somebody had to correct the historical record.”
Ziegler spent about $200,000 of his own money to produce the documentary. The two major components of the film were collecting the news clips from the major networks and interviewing Palin in Alaska.
Even though $200,000 is not a lot of money by today’s Hollywood production standards, he said it was for an independent documentary film project. While he hasn’t raised money privately to finance the film like others, he hopes to make the money back from DVD sales and showings.
“Everywhere we have screened it, people have been incredible impressed and very moved … it invokes laughter and promotes thought,” he said.
Whether the film will convince liberals or moderates that the mainstream press is biased is another story. But Ziegler says there have been some interesting conversations so far.
“[Some liberals] have confessed that what they heard about Sarah Palin was not accurate,” he said. “When I meet people at screenings, they don’t have a big sign on their head saying they are liberals, but there are some people who say they are [and they] didn’t know it was nearly as bad as it is.”
The Belmont showing of “Media Malpractice” will be the only one in New England. The film has screened at about 15 locations around the country, including at the National Press Club and the Newport Beach Film Festival.
Ziegler said he picked Studio Cinema because it was one of the more accommodating theaters in the region.
“We’ve found as we do these screenings, much better to be where you’re wanted then to try and force your way into a place that might be closer to the population,” he said, calling Belmont “a nice town … I’m happy that we’re going to be there.”
This is the second documentary for Ziegler, who also produced “Blocking the Path to 9-11,” a film that analyzed the political firestorm over the airing of a made-for-TV docudrama mini-series about the lead up to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Ziegler said he will soon be returning to broadcasting after the Belmont showing.
The June 4 event is co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition and BostonsPatriots.com. The film discussion will be moderated by radio talk show host Michael Graham of WTKK-FM in Boston.
For more information, visit www.studiocinema.com.