William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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OH PLEASE – AT 10:30 A.M. ET:  Ah, the announcement of still one more art masterpiece by the discerning souls of Hollywood.  This time we are to be honored by a documentary about Bill Clinton.  Of course it will reflect honesty, balance, thoughtfulness, an unbiased look by the seekers of truth.

Well, not exactly.  From NewsBusters:

HBO and Martin Scorsese are producing a documentary on Bill Clinton, with his full participation – which means it will have all the typical goo. But it's even cozier than that.

It’s not what you’d call an “independent” film – Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes reported it’s produced by Steve Bing, who “is a major financial contributor to the William J. Clinton Foundation and has donated to former senator and onetime presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is now secretary of state.” But wow, did Scorsese lay the praise on thick in the press release:

"A towering figure who remains a major voice in world issues, President Clinton continues to shape the political dialogue both here and around the world. Through intimate conversations, I hope to provide greater insight into this transcendent figure.”

It sounds like a film applying for Clinton’s face on Mount Rushmore. Then there was also some polish from the HBO brass.

“President Clinton is one of the most compelling figures of our time, whose worldview and perspective, combined with his uncommon intelligence, make him a singular voice on the world stage,” said HBO CEO Richard Plepler and programming president Michael Lombardo in a joint statement. "This documentary, under Marty’s gifted direction, creates a unique opportunity for the president to reflect on myriad issues that have consumed his attention and passion throughout both his presidency and postpresidency."

Guys, guys – perhaps discussing Clinton’s all-consuming “passion” is not the most favorable way to describe his presidency. (Cue Beavis and Butthead snickers.)

COMMENT:  HBO ain't what it's cracked up to be.  It used to have a fine film division, which did vital films on solid subjects.  Now it's mostly propaganda.  It seems to me that some of the less-heralded cable channels are doing more important and more interesting work.

Some of these outlets exist on past reputations.  Consider the History Channel.  How much history do you actually see there?  "Ice Road Truckers"?  I think "Pawn Stars" is an entertaining show, but it isn't exactly the Battle of Britain. 

Read a good book.

December 19, 2012