Critics Pounce On Seal Team Six
The controversial -- because of its timing -- docudrama SEAL Team Six, about the hunt for and killing of Osama bin Laden, aired Sunday night on the National Geographic Channel and was promptly labeled propaganda by most TV critics. The problem, wrote David Zurawik in the Baltimore Sun, is that there is no way of knowing which events in the Harvey Weinstein-produced film are true and which were contrived for dramatic effect. Changing the historical record -- and in some cases, possibly making it up altogether -- is bad enough. But when you play that narrative game on the presidential level on the eve of an election, you are messing not just with our shared sense of a national past, but also with the political system by which we fill our highest office, Zurawik wrote. Sohrab Ahmari wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the TV film's well-timed and barely disguised electoral message may just turn SEAL Team Six into the most controversial TV movie ever made." Ahmari pointed out that in real life, it was the SEALs who did most of the airdropping, bullet-dodging and sniping that resulted in bin Laden's demise. But the film's editorial framing casts Mr. Obama as the toughest and most courageous of them all. Likewise, Alessandra Stanley wrote in the New York Times that it's hard not to see it as an Obama booster. She concluded: Republicans will most likely view the film as anything but fair. But Mary McNamara in the Los Angeles Times maintained that Obama's screen time, which, frankly, does not seem excessive, is the least of this film's problems." It works, she wrote, neither as drama nor as documentary. On the other hand, Liz Rafterty at TVGuide.com commented that anyone who views the film as a political piece has blinders on. ... It's clear that the film's purpose is to provide entertainment, not to advance a political agenda.