So if you haven’t heard already, Hollywood has decided to turn the 2012 attack on our consulate in Benghazi into a feature film. In order to ensure this incredibly controversial and sensitive topic is covered with the utmost of care, they picked someone who is known for his subtlety and deep, intricate character work.
Nah, just kidding, they got Michael Bay to do it:
I gave my initial thoughts about this trailer in a post at my regular gig over at BuzzPo, but the most interesting thing about it is the timing of its release. It’s going to come out January 15th, 2016, which is just about a month before the Republican primary votes start. That means it’ll be just in time to bring the topic back to center stage in the midst of the Presidential campaign.
Now that could go a few ways. The first is that the movie is a complete dud and everyone ignores it entirely. Unfortunately, as much as most people hate Michael Bay for his wanton slaughter of people’s childhoods and approach to making movies in general, his stuff tends to do huge box office numbers anyway. This isn’t a summer blockbuster so that still may not happen, but if it does, it’s going to end up in the news, and inevitably somebody will use it as a springboard to try and get GOP candidates to say something stupid.
Assuming it is a big box office draw, then the question is, how does it portray these events? Because in that case, after the movie comes out the “facts” of Benghazi according to most Americans will be whatever the movie says they are. That’s why the whole “politics is downstream from culture” thing is so very, very important and a big part of the reason I spend so much time writing about entertainment-related topics here at HotAir. All the speeches and debates and Congressional hearings will mean nothing compared to what people “know” happened because they saw the movie.
Based on the trailer, it’s difficult to tell where this is going to come down. The bit about the “stand down” order certainly touches on one of the more hotly debated issues surrounding the whole affair, but the subtitle “The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” seems to indicate that most of the characters will be invented just for the movie and explained as having been left out of the official record of events. In that case it’ll probably be so fictionalized as to avoid all of the real, pressing questions that still remain about the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi.
However, the credits do list someone playing Glen Doherty, and it is supposedly based on the book ’13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi’, which purports to be “the true account of the events of September 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya.” The reviews of the book indicate it leaves out the politics and focuses on the play-by-play for the guys on the ground, but the movie doesn’t have to get explicit with politics to change people’s notion of what happened there. It’s all about how it portrays the various entities involved.
If it treats the administration like bad guys, then people will come out of the theater “knowing” the Obama administration is full of villains. Or it could be the CIA or the Libyans that end up taking the fall. If it makes Hillary Clinton’s State Department look like poor victims that did everything in their power to stop evil terrorists despite the Republicans having cut their funding, well then the GOP can basically forget about trying to attack her on this point because people will “know” she’s the innocent one in all of this. They’ll have to stick to one of her many other failings instead.
Fortunately Michael Bay tends to be very pro-military and pro-America, so at the very least we shouldn’t end up with conflicted, whiny heroes who antagonized the peace-loving people of Benghazi into attacking our consulate.
One thing is for certain though. Whether or not it ends up having an impact on the election, thanks to Michael Bay it’ll have more bombs thrown than Donald Trump’s entire Presidential campaign.
If you’d like to hear more from me, you can follow me on Twitter @crankytrex or check out my other writing at buzzpo.com.