Seal Team Six: Documentary is a Flop, Not an October Surprise


One of the great political propaganda pieces of the season will be released on November 4 via the National Geographic Channel. Seal Team Six, the documentary film detailing the raid that ultimately led to the demise of Osama Bin Laden, will air in primetime with a recut from the version that aired at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Harvey Weinstein, a big time Hollywood producer and ardent supporter of President Obama, bought the rights to the film for $2.5 million.

Understandably, Weinstein is quick to say the film is not a propaganda piece for Barack Obama's reelection campaign. He and the film's director, John Stockwell, insist that the increase in footage featuring Obama's role in the raid is not intended to positively sway potential voters to vote for Obama.  At the insistence of National Geographic's President Howard T. Owens, a scene involving Romney "opposing" the raid was even removed as his insistence.  

There appears to be a concerted effort to make the film a fair representation of the events, but conservatives have every reason to doubt that. After all, much of the added material was produced by Meghan O'Hara, infamous for working with Michael Moore on such fair and reasonably documentaries as Sicko and Farenheit 9/11. The timing is questionable, and the subsequent availability on Netflix for streaming the day before the election suggests there is, at some level, an effort to provide critical information to sway voters.

Conservatives have room to gripe about the timing, but the real question is whether or not they reasonably should even worry about it. The unequivocal answer is no. First, conservatives are simply dishonest with themselves if they try to discount President Obama's role in the raid. As commander-in-chief, he deserves the credit due to his position and role for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. We can certainly criticize him and his foreign policy, but in this specific instance he deserves the credit as president. Bin Laden is dead on his watch, and the world is a better place because of it.

First, National Geographic is not exactly a media powerhouse on Sunday evenings. That week's Sunday night football game is Dallas and Atlanta, which should be a good game for viewership because of Atlanta's strong start and Dallas's status as "America's Team." Also, Sunday night's television lineup won't exactly drive new viewers to National Geographic, either.

Secondly, it is the larger point of Obama's foreign and domestic policies that mean conservatives cannot waste their energy worrying about the film's impact on the election. Consistently, polls are showing that Romney is trusted more than Obama on matters of the economy, and the second and third debates have not provided Obama any help after the drubbing he took in the first one.  

This race is coming down to one thing: who can turn the voters out better. Romney has the benefit of building or acquiring strong infrastructure networks in Wisconsin, Florida, Colorado, and other swing states that might make Ohio irrelevent to the electoral college count. Nevertheless, Ohio's early voting is showing positive gains for Romney.

Conservatives can complain all they want about "Seal Team Six," but they are wasting their time doing so. Contact voters, get them to the polls, persuade the undecideds why Romney is the better choice for president. That will decide this election.