Conservative filmmaker Stephen Bannon thinks his film can win hearts and minds -- and maybe even, one day, votes -- for the former Alaska governor
MINNEAPOLIS -- He says his publicists didn't think he should meet with me. "Why?" I ask. "They said you wrote something bad about Palin or something." I tell him about the list I compiled of all her media feuds, with people like Dave Letterman and some former McCain staffers. Currently there are 86 names. My interviewee, filmmaker Stephen Bannon, shrugs, dismissing it, then goes about asking me questions about myself. This is a charming trait of his.
The night before I had viewed his latest film, The Undefeated. The original title was Take a Stand: The Stewardship of Sarah Palin.
"What did you think of my film?" Bannon asks. I smile. This was his opening question and he's now asked it three times. I relent.
"I thought there were a lot of GOP dog whistles in it," I say.
He says he has never heard that phrase before. Never? Really? He asks me what I mean.
The two-hour film is peppered with keywords. It's like SEO (search engine optimization) for movies: the words "ethics," "principles," "threat to the establishment," "CEO," and "kitchen table" are repeated several times during the film. So when you walk out of the theater suddenly you think, "Sarah Palin's ethics and principles are what make her a threat to the establishment." And everything wonderful and wholesome on this planet is summed up in the phrase "kitchen table" -- a table Palin chairs as its executive.