Last time we checked on far-right provocateur Dinesh D’Souza, he was pleading guilty to campaign finance fraud (CNN, 5/20/14) in a scheme to funnel money to a Republican political candidate. Before that, he was peddling a dubious conspiracy movie about Barack Obama during the 2012 presidential campaign, which portrayed Obama as pursuing a radical “anti-colonial” political agenda inspired by his father.
This isn’t exactly an abrupt shift for D’Souza, who blamed the American left for causing the 9/11 attacks–an argument he evidently made in his book, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.
In other words, D’Souza has done plenty that would make him someone not to be taken seriously. But not enough, apparently, for ABC News.
On the July 6 episode of the Sunday show This Week, anchor Martha Raddatz introduced a segment by saying he was “the man called the Michael Moore of the right.” Correspondent Jeff Zeleny explained that D’Souza’s new film America is “a strident defense against the country’s critics in historical issues like slavery and land taken from Native Americans and against charges today of the excesses of capitalism and America’s role in the world.” He goes on to call it “new fireworks for the old partisan divide.”
And the show built on that premise by hosting a “debate” between D’Souza and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson. After laying out the premise of the film, D’Souza shifted to Hillary Clinton, making the argument that the potential Democratic presidential candidate with a long policy record was in fact a radical carrying out the work of community activist Saul Alinsky.
ABC anchor Martha Raddatz closed the segment with this: “It’s a very interesting movie. Everybody should go see it and continue a debate like this.” What debate is that, exactly? Is it the one that says the left caused 9/11? Or the one that suggests Barack Obama is a secret radical?
The Sunday shows do far too little to expand political debates beyond dull Beltway partisanship. And no doubt there are plenty of filmmakers who would value network airtime to promote their work. So why would ABC extend this rare exposure to a crank conspiracy theorist? It’s proof that in the corporate media, there is always plenty of space made available to the far right.