When I first heard that yet another television mini-series about the Kennedys was being produced, my first reaction was low key -- they have done so many of them.
Then I heard that it was being executive produced by Joel Surnow, a right wing activist who's so close to Rush Limbaugh that they've gone on vacation together in the Dominican Republic. This is a guy who refers to Bill Clinton as a "yuppie, baby boomer narcissist" and who supported Rick Santorum for Senate. What is he doing producing a series about one of the greatest progressive political families in American history? What's his agenda?, I wondered.
Soon after, I started hearing the chatter from my friends in the film and TV world. I heard from friends in the industry that I absolutely had to read the script for the latest Kennedy mini-series.
Then I got a copy of the script.
It turns out that "The Kennedys," an upcoming mini-series on The History Channel, is nothing more than a right wing political hit job. Its aim is to turn all the wonderful and important accomplishments of the Kennedy family into a cheap story of sexual titillation, opportunism and failure, of backstabbing and political intrigue. Historically misleading, demeaning and disgusting, this piece of far right propaganda goes beyond the bounds of decency, let alone historical accuracy. I was shocked and infuriated at this character assassination and sexual exploitation of the highest order, driven by a right wing agenda. I couldn't believe what I was reading.
On second thought, maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised. After all, this is par for the course for the right wing. The recent 'Citizens United' Supreme Court decision, travesty that it was, was merely the capstone of a generations-long effort by conservatives to rewrite history and litter it with suggestions and outright fabrications of sleaze, crimes and conspiracies by progressive icons, from Hillary Clinton to John F. Kennedy. That's how hacks like Jonah Goldberg and David Horowitz draw their paychecks.
Right-wing zealots, of course, hail the Citizens United decision as a victory for "free (corporate) speech." But yet, when the mythology of their own pantheon of heroes is challenged, these same right-wing activists drop the "free speech" mantle like a hot potato and sing a different tune, such as when they successfully pressured CBS to drop its plans to air a mini-series on the Reagans a few years ago.
It's time to defend our own pantheon and stand up for responsible historiography. Sign our petition to the History Channel telling them that this upcoming mini-series is right-wing character assassination, not "history":
I come from the world of commercial film and television production, having directed and produced over 55 movies, mini-series and TV shows. I can't remember anything I've seen in that world that was so full of overt character assassination, that was so hackish and malevolent.
And yet, this series is being produced for The History Channel.
It doesn't seem possible. But sadly, it is.
I cannot understand how or why the History Channel, with its ostensible commitment to historical scholarship, would even consider airing this propaganda. Why would a channel that stakes its reputation on its commitment to responsible historical scholarship turn over its programming to a partisan, right wing attack dog like Surnow, with a clear intent to launch an attack on the reputation of the Kennedys to coincide with the 50th anniversary of JFK's inauguration?
Join me and let them know that the History Channel should not be financing and supporting propaganda and smears of the lowest order.