Not even the Washington Post fact-checker can stomach this epic (FAIL).
Thus sayeth Glenn Kessler of the WaPo:
Narrator Tom Hanks: “He knew from experience the cost of waiting [on health care reform].”
President Obama : “When my mom got cancer, she wasn’t a wealthy woman and it pretty much drained all her resources”
Michelle Obama: “She developed ovarian cancer, never really had good, consistent insurance. That’s a tough thing to deal with, watching your mother die of something that could have been prevented. I don’t think he wants to see anyone go through that.”
Hanks: “And he remembered the millions of families like of his who feel the pressure of rising costs and the fear of being denied or dropped from coverage.”
–series of statements with images of Obama and his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in the Obama campaign film “The Road We’ve Traveled”
“The Road We’ve Traveled” is a very slick and impressively produced campaign film—sheer catnip for Obama fans. There are a number of facts and figures that could be challenged, but for now we are going to focus on this sequence. The series of words and images is an excellent example of how such films can create a misleading impression, while skirting as close as possible to the edge of falsehood.
The sequence, in fact, evokes a famous story that candidate Obama told during the 2008 campaign—that his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, fought with her insurer over whether her cancer was a pre-existing condition that disqualified her from coverage.
But the story was later called into question by Dunham’s biographer. The fact that Obama’s initial claim is not directly repeated suggests the filmmakers knew there was a problem with the campaign story, but they clearly wanted to keep some version of it in the film.
And the conclusion? Three Pinocchios:
We use a “reasonable man” standard here, and we think there are few viewers of this film who would watch this sequence and conclude that Durham was involved in anything but a fight over health-insurance coverage.
The disability-insurance dispute certainly may have motivated the president, but he has never explicitly stated that. In any case, the filmmakers must have known they had a problem with this story or else they would have recounted it as Obama had done in the 2008 campaign, using phrases such as “pre-existing conditions,” “health insurance,” and “treatment.”
Instead, they arranged the quotes and images to leave a misleading impression of what really happened.
Don’t worry, it isn’t likely coming to a theater near you…