Gore Allies Dispute HBO Election Film

May 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Officials who worked with then-presidential candidate Al Gore dispute how an HBO film characterizes the 2000 election, the New York Times reports. Ex-Secretary of State Warren Christopher said “Recount,” which dramatizes the disputed Florida results, was “pure fiction” while Gore campaign chairman William M. Daley said the movie misrepresents the decision-making process within the campaign, the newspaper says.
–Danny King


  1. The film is fabrication–malicious fabrication at that.
    Danny Strong, known best for his stirring apearances in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was so anxious to have his first script picked up that he decided to make it up as he went along. He decided that the “facts” of the 2000 recount had to be made to look sexy to HBO. So he threw himself into cobbling together a storyline that had Bush winning the recount because the Dems–and, in particular, Warren Christopher –were wimps. This is the same Warren Christopher, by the way, who went to the streets during the DC riots of the 1960’s to keep the president posted on developments; who got seventy some US hostages out of Iran; and who served on a ship in the Pacific during WW II. In the NYT story published yesterday, Strong admits to waiting to contact Christopher until the the day the scenes involving his character were shot. He also admits not giving Christopher a copy of the script, even though he did so for Jim Baker and Ron Klain,who were also allowed to give notes and to veto lines and scenes. Danny wants us to believe he had the time to find and commission Christopher’s tailor to make a suit for Christopher’s character, but was too busy to talk to the guy whose measurements he was using. So much for accuracy and/or plain fairness. Strong should write a docudrama about what “really” happened on the Buffy set and leave the documenting of history to people like Ken Burns, who care more about getting things right than marketable.
    Carl said this on May 15, 2008 at 5:55 pm
    Good points. My description of Strong as “principled” was more for the purposes of ironic rhetoric than literal application. And the whole debacle with Christopher’s tailor does seem pretty damning, though it’s not outside the realm of possibility that it was an innocent screw-up.
    Anyway, having written a screenplay or two myself, I can say it’s an extremely subjective and instinct-based process. This creates a problem, because most people who get into screenwriting are not the sorts to have backgrounds or training in research, nor are most of them particularly deep thinkers when it comes to morality, philosophy or human nature. So when they make the leap from narrative fiction to dramatizing real events, they often lack the self-awareness necessary to spot how their own instincts and biases are shaping the script. So silly memes like “the Democrats’ problem is that they won’t adopt the Republicans’ street fight politics” tend to leak in unannounced.
    I don’t think that filmmakers, for the most part, bring the same rigor to making movies about history that historians and academics bring to writing about it. (Billy Ray may be an exception.) And maybe they never could reach that level, but it certainly seems like they should try to move in that direction.
    Jeff said this on May 15, 2008 at 6:27 pm

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