On Fox News Watch last Saturday, Cal Thomas made it painfully obvious to those of who have, that he didn’t research HBO’s ‘Game Change‘ very well before discussing it on the show. He said that he watched the movie, and he obviously tuned in to MSNBC to get their take, but it’s clear that he really didn’t comprehend what that movie was all about, or the motives behind those who made it.
Jon Scott: As the left is touting this supposed “war on women,” what about the war on Sarah Palin? The ‘Game Change’ movie got big numbers. She was not exactly portrayed in a flattering light, and the other half of the book essentially gets left out.
Cal Thomas: Well, I saw the movie and I’m probably going to surprise some people. I thought it was very sell done. I thought she came off as a sympathetic figure. She was put into a situation, she was not prepared for. She was not able to be a quick study on a lot of the issues. Forced out in front of interviewers like Katie Couric, and she wasn’t ready for the job. I was very sympathetic. She went on that, she got picked less than a year after having a baby. And all of these pressures on her, I thought it was extremely well done.
Alan Colmes: Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt both said it was realistic.
Cal Thomas: Yeah.
The main problem is that Thomas accepted HBO’s version of events. In fact, he repeats Mark Halperin, the author of the book that the movie was based, by saying it was “sympathetic” to Governor Palin. No, it was not.
The entire movie is based on distortions and lies. The writers at Big Hollywood (including myself) have documented these lies, and made a case against the claims of the filmmakers using facts, eye-witness accounts, and press reports from the 2008 election. To repeat, Thomas said:
“I thought she came off as a sympathetic figure. She was put into a situation, she was not prepared for. She was not able to be a quick study on a lot of the issues. Forced out in front of interviewers like Katie Couric, and she wasn’t ready for the job.”
Unfortunately for Fox News Watch viewers, he just repeated a fabricated version of events. From the “Top 10 Lies of HBO’s ‘Game Change’” piece I wrote for Big Hollywood (emphasis):
“Game Change” also depicts Palin as highly forgetful. Around the 70 minute mark, Mark Wallace tells Steve Schmidt that Palin couldn’t remember “any” of the information he used to prep her for the debate. As it turns out, another Democrat didn’t get the memo. In 2008, former editor in chief of Ms. magazine, Elaine Lafferty wrote:
I’d heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts.
Lafferty also said Palin was “smart” and “more than a quick study.” She, however, was not interviewed by “Game Change” screenwriter Danny Strong for the film.
A.B. Culvahouse has also stated on record that the Katie Couric interview left viewers with the “wrong impression” about Palin’s knowledge of the Supreme Court. He said:
She clearly did … My law firm represents Exxon in the Valdez matters,” he noted. “Until she became governor, Gov. Palin was a plaintiff in that case…
Regarding foreign policy, the movie depicts the Director of Foreign Policy and National Security for the McCain campaign, Randy Scheunemann, as teaching Palin as if she were a child learning about geography for the first time. The movie implies that using maps while discussing foreign policy and national security with a political leader was necessary because she was so dumb. However, during a press conference last week, Scheunemann said:
I always use maps as a briefer and did so even with McCain.
Around the 46 minute mark, the filmmakers portray Palin as unfamiliar with basic knowledge pertaining to World War I and World War II. During that same press conference, Scheunemann said:
The idea that at any point that Gov. Palin expressed any uncertainty as to who were the various sides in World War I or World War II, or any other war, is absolutely untrue. She was incredibly intelligent. She asked very informed questions. She was very interested and she wanted to understand John McCain’s view of foreign policy because she wanted to be the best possible vice presidential nominee.
Scheunemann went on to explain that his discussion with Gov. Palin about these historic topics was in the context of the historical roots of John McCain’s foreign policy world views, not a history lesson.
Thomas then went on to say:
“She went on that, she got picked less than a year after having a baby. And all of these pressures on her, I thought it was extremely well done.”
Am I to take this to mean that Thomas bought into the notion that Governor Palin really did have a mental breakdown? He associates her pregnancy and the “pressures on her” saying it made him sympathetic towards her. Clearly, Mr. Thomas didn’t know that this part of the movie has been proven false, given the time-stamp in the movie.
From the “‘Game Change’: Palin Breakdown Meme Crushed by Facts” piece I wrote for Big Hollywood:
At the 68 minute mark in the movie, the filmmakers show Palin (Julianne Moore) at a table with campaign staff going over material to prep for her debate against Joe Biden. The movie depicts Palin as being detached and unresponsive. She mutters to herself about missing her baby.
They want you to believe that she had a complete mental meltdown. Just like most of the movie, this simply isn’t true. As a matter of fact, it’s impossible. Keep in mind that at the beginning of that scene, the filmmakers stamp the bottom left-hand corner of the screen with the location and date they claim the events took place. It says “Philadelphia September 27.”
According to the makers of “Game Change,” Palin spent Sept. 27, 2008 losing her mind while prepping for the upcoming debate with campaign staff, and then in a “catatonic stupor” in her hotel room later that evening. But according to Peter Hamby, the real Palin was actually taking questions in a Philadelphia restaurant:
Sarah Palin partook in an established political ritual on Saturday night when she headed to Tony Luke’s in south Philadelphia to order a pair of cheesesteaks with whiz and onions.
But as the kitchen sizzled and orders were barked out, Palin found herself talking politics, calling McCain’s debate performance “awesome” and taking questions from a voter about the hunt for terrorists in Pakistan.
Also, the night before the phony mental breakdown, the real Palin attended a Presidential debate watching party at an Irish Pub:
Fresh off an afternoon jog along the Schuylkill River, Sarah Palin stopped by a debate watching party at The Irish Pub on Walnut Street in downtown Philadelphia. It was an invite-only event that pulled in about 450 McCain supporters who had been drinking and eating for several hours before the candidate arrived (around 7:20PM EST). It was Palin’s first campaign stop in Philadelphia this cycle.
How do the makers of “Game Change” explain the fact that Palin was (according to their sources) losing her mental grasp, yet at the same time, attending campaign events and talking to the press? People who are truly mentally ill and “constantly falling into catatonic stupors” cannot turn off their symptoms to take questions from CNN…
The worst part of Mr. Thomas’ analysis however, is that he agrees with Alan Colmes when he claims that the movie is credible because Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt said so. Could it be that Cal Thomas doesn’t know that Steve Schmidt was the main source used by both the book’s authors and the filmmakers, to gain their dirt on Governor Palin? Is it possible that Mr. Thomas overlooked the glowing portrayal of Schmidt in the movie, and completely white-washes his role in the failure of the McCain campaign? Did Cal Thomas not see the leaked memos from last week, proving that there was an effort by Steve Schmidt’s cronies to save his reputation (even before the campaign was over,) by talking to members of the press “off the record,” including one of the writers for the book?
For some reason, Cal Thomas bought into HBO’s propaganda, and even the spin they delivered after they came under scrutiny. He neglected the fact that many of Governor Palin’s current and former staff (as well as others around her at this time) have repeatedly said the movie is false. Thomas didn’t take into consideration the motives behind the left-wing book authors, the left-wing filmmakers (in an election year, no less), or the two main axe-grinding sources of information that each used to produce their product.
I don’t believe that Cal Thomas was being intentionally malicious while discussing this movie. I do however, believe that he is ill-informed and would certainly benefit from a better research staff. Or perhaps, getting his own hands dirty and researching it for himself. Is it too much to ask that Fox News Watch, watch the news (no matter where it is) instead of repeating lines of propaganda by people with known agendas?