In May, we speculated that staunch Democrat and Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was planning an October Surprise with the release of his special ops thriller SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, a dramatization of the mission to kill al Qaeda's leader. Turns out, we were one month off: Weinstein is releasing his film two days before the election.
In so many ways, the move by Weinstein, who has raised more than $500,000 for president Obama's re-election, fits perfectly in the conservative script of liberal Hollywood as handmaiden to the Democratic Party. The Abbottabad raid is President Obama's signature foreign policy achievement and Hollywood is presenting it to voters just days before going to the polls. (Naturally, today's news featured prominently on right-leaning portal The Drudge Report.) But the release of SEAL Team Six (formerly Code Name Geronimo) is a little more complicated than some initially realized and a strong case exists that the film's timing is purely financial. Here's the case for both.
Hold the conspiracies, this is a business decision first and foremost.
Weinstein may be an avowed liberal activist, but he's not the only one pulling the strings here. In a surprise move, the film will premier on TV instead of theaters, and the conduit for the Nov. 4 premier is The National Geographic Channel owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, a company few would associate with Democratic Party boosterism. As the channel's president Howard Owens explained to The New York Times, the film's release was not pegged to the election, but to "take advantage of our fall schedule," which premiers shortly after SEAL Team Six. "Other than being commercially opportunistic, we weren’t considering the election,” he said. The Times adds that "Buying the TV rights to the film also makes a statement about the channel’s foray into scripted programming." (The channel is debuting a film about the killing of Abraham Lincoln later next year as well).