FL Republican wants to force state’s students to watch Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘America’
Florida state Senator Alan Hays (R) announced Friday that he is working on a bill to make it mandatory that all public school students in the state be shown Dinesh D’Souza’s latest anti-Obama film, America: Imagine a World Without Her.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hays will introduce the bill in November, requiring all 1,700 Florida middle and high schools to hold viewings of the film Salon.com called “laughable” and “humiliating propaganda.”
The film is a sequel to D’Souza’s 2012 film 2016: Obama’s America, which was wildly successful among conservative viewers. This year’s film, however, isn’t faring as well, perhaps because it lacks the dramatic backdrop of a national presidential election.
Think Progress quoted Hays as saying, “I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, ‘Wow, our students need to see this.’ And it’s my plan to show it to my colleagues in the legislature, too, before they’re asked to vote on the bill.”
Hays did say that his draft of the bill will allow students whose parents object to the film’s message to opt out of the viewings.
D’Souza’s latest anti-Obama jeremiad is a conservative revisionist history that seeks to directly counter the version of U.S. history laid out in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.
“The argumentation itself is bad, laughably bad. Native Americans were bad treaty-keepers who were already killing each other, the brutes,” wrote Salon’s Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, “a claim D’Souza curiously follows up with the assertion that they all died of disease anyway — just naturally, just like that, out of nowhere.”
Indiewire blogger Gabe Toro called America “artless propaganda, uninformed, sensationalistic and devoted to buzz phrases (“the shaming of America”), simplicity (“have the United States been a force for good or ill in the world?”) and grandstanding (“We won’t let them shame us, we won’t let them intimidate us”—who is them and who is us?)” and mused that it might be “the worst political documentary of all time.”
Some of the film’s supporters believe that its lack of box office success is due to a conspiracy on the part of the search engine Google. In an interview with conservative talk radio host Rick Amato, D’Souza said that liberal Google executives had rigged the search engine against his film.
Google, he alleged, sabotaged America: Imagine a World Without Her by sending people who searched for it to the website for 2016: Obama’s America. Republican Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (CA) pledged earlier this month to find the culprits responsible for the search engine snafu.
“I’m not threatening to shut them down, but shining a spotlight on a corporation that is acting in an abusive way can have as great an impact as legislation or regulation,” Rohrabacher said. “If Google isn’t informing the public about movies they disagree with, then that needs to be exposed.”
Rohrbacher did not say whether he will examine the possibility that the confusion resulted from D’Souza’s decision to name both films “America.”
In May, D’Souza pled guilty to campaign finance violations in federal court. The former Reagan staffer, NRO contributor and evangelical Christian college president used a network of “straw donors” to exceed campaign donation limits in support of New York senatorial candidate Wendy Long. Long was defeated by incumbent Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.