According to a new report from the New York Times, the reason some anti-Obama films and faux documentaries have seen wide success and financial backing while others haven’t is because each film was focus-tested by Republican messaging-man Frank Luntz.
They went to the unusual length of arranging a focus group to test anti-Obama films. Conducted by Frank Luntz, the well-known Republican research analyst, a 30-person focus group looked at three choices: Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America,” which theorizes that the president’s political beliefs were shaped by the radical “anticolonial” views of his Kenyan father; “The Hope and the Change,” a softer critique of the president that features interviews with disaffected former Obama supporters; and “Dreams From My Real Father,” which posits the implausible theory that the president’s real father is Mr. Davis, and that Mr. Davis indoctrinated him with Marxist views early on.
Republicans have struggled in this election with two powerful and competing impulses: to hammer a president they dislike intensely with a strong indictment of his record, but to be restrained enough to win over independent voters, who generally like Mr. Obama. Those who commissioned Mr. Luntz’s research, according to people with firsthand knowledge of their motives, wanted to determine whether any of these films would do the trick and be worth backing. Mr. Luntz declined to say who commissioned his research.
The Luntz focus group reportedly “loved” Dinesh D’Souza’s film 2016, which is why that particular piece of propaganda received enough funding to see wide distribution across the country.
The focus group also favored The Hope and The Change, which was produced by Citizens United. Yes, that Citizens United.
One film the focus group did not approve of was Dreams From My Real Father, the birther-esque film that claims President Obama’s real father was a communist ideologue. And absent Luntz’s approval, Dreams From My Real Father ended up being mailed free-of-charge to voters across the country rather than being shown at local theaters.
Why didn’t the Luntz focus group enjoy Dreams From My Real Father? According to the New York Times report, it was because the film allegedly “uncovered nude photos of Mr. Obama’s mother in a bondage magazine.”
I postulate that some of Romney’s primary financial backers, perhaps even the Koch Brothers, funded each of these films, but we may never know for sure.
In related news, Dinesh D’Souza, the creator of 2016, is now being sued by producers and investors who charge that he has withheld profits from the film.