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Chris Hedges Tells Dinesh D’Souza That His Obama Film Is 'Void of Facts, Reality, Intellectual Depth'

In a debate with D’Souza, Hedges argues the film "shows how impoverished our intellectual life has become in a kind of national level."

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None of that’s in the film. The craven sort of obsequiousness on the part of the Obama administration to Wall Street. The expansion of our imperial wars. Our proxy wars in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen. I think these are pretty good criticisms of Obama. And in fact, a lie of omission is still a lie. And we can’t, you know, the fact that a young kid in college gravitates towards a Marxist professor is hardly fodder, I think, for discrediting someone, when you look closely at how obsequious the president has been to serving the military-industrial complex and Wall Street. I care about what he does. I don’t care about, I mean I actually think gravitating toward Marxist professors or reading Edward Said is a good thing. And I wish that Obama had kept that kind of commitment to the other, to the outsider, to those kinds of voices on the margin. But in fact, he has not.

SK: And let’s get Dinesh’s response, right after we hear this short clip from his film. In this excerpt, Dinesh, you explain why you were trying to use this framework to explain President Obama’s actions in an interview.

[Clip of D’Souza from film]: “He’s a Muslim, he’s not an American, he’s a socialist.” I don’t think [those accusations have] really worked. So I’m putting a new card on the table. And look, I’m a college president. I’m not trying to bash Obama in a crude way. I’m trying to give an explanatory framework. And I think the anti-colonial framework explains his domestic policy, explains his foreign policy, and explains a lot of little stuff he’s doing that no other theory can explain.

SK: Dinesh D’Souza, first of all, your responses to Chris Hedges. But in this clip, also, you basically are saying that the standard right-wing rhetoric to discredit Obama saying he’s a Muslim, he’s a socialist don’t really work. But your framework essentially implies he might as well be a Muslim, he might as well be a socialist.

DD: Not at all. In fact, part of what the film does is offer an alternative and a better explanation that can help to make the birthers and the conspiracy theorists go away. Why do we have birthers in this country? We have birthers in this country not because they have any evidence that Obama was born in Kenya. But what the birthers are sensing is that there’s something odd and foreign about Obama. They sense that. And what I’m saying is, you know what guys, the reason you sense that is not because Obama was born outside the United States. He wasn’t. But, he does derive his dreams, which is to say his values, his aspirations, from his father. Who says so? Not Dinesh, Obama. He wrote a 450-page book on that subject.

SK: But why would he write a book about it if he was trying to hide it?

DD: He’s not trying to hide it.

SK: But you said that your film is showing a side of Obama that people didn’t know before. But if all of this is stuff Obama’s written about in his book, they know about it.

DD: Well, here’s the point. I follow the official Obama story. There are conspiracy theorists who will say, Bill Ayers wrote his book. I don’t go along with that. Or Jeremiah Wright was his real dad. I don’t go along with that. I take Obama’s story at face value. Now, having said that, there are a number of guys that Obama hung out with that he conceals. He doesn’t mention, for example, Edward Said in his book. Even though Edward Said was not only his professor, but they remained close until Said’s death in 2003. Obama remained in close ties with Roberto Unger. Biographers have noted this. And in fact, Unger skipped town during the 2008 election, so that no connection between him and Obama would come out in the public. Only later did he talk about it, to David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker.

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