President Obama Introduces 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the movie classic "To Kill A Mockingbird," the USA Network on Saturday featured a special, limited-commercial presentation of the film.

President Obama was given the privilege of introducing it (video follows with transcript and commentary):

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: 50 years ago, a film came along that instantly captivated the nation. Based on the timeless novel by Harper Lee, “To Kill A Mockingbird” brought to life an unforgettable tale of courage and conviction, of doing what was right no matter what the cost, and it gave us one of the great heroes of American cinema – Atticus Finch played so memorably by the late Gregory Peck.

Half a century later, the power of this extraordinary film endures. It still speaks to us. It still tells us something about who we are as a people, and the common values that we all share. So I hope you enjoy the film, and if you haven’t already, I hope you get a chance to read the book. It’s an American classic, and it’s one of my family’s favorites. Now, “To Kill A Mockingbird.”


Let's be clear: there's absolutely nothing I disagree with concerning the content of the President's introduction.

"To Kill A Mockingbird" is my favorite film. Gregory Peck should win an Oscar every year for his remarkable performance, as should Horton Foote for writing a screenplay adaptation that is actually far better than the book. That's a very rare feat.

Beyond this, despite the concern of many conservatives, there was absolutely nothing provocative in this introduction. Thankfully, there was no mention of how the film somehow relates to the Trayvon Martin shooting.

But did the USA Network have to give the President more free face time in front of the public during an election year?

We saw the President before the Super Bowl. Just last week he appeared during the NCAA college basketball Final Four, and got a lot of airtime prior giving his bracket selection.

With the Olympics coming up this summer, it seems a metaphysical certitude we'll be seeing a lot of Mr. Obama during those Games. Likely the World Series just before the elections as well.

If Obama were a Republican, one envisions liberals shouting from the rooftops about such free face time, especially before a classic film revered by the Left for its treatment of racial prejudice.

With tongue in cheek, I daresay that for the 46 percent of the nation that doesn't approve of the job he's doing, having Obama introduce this film was "sort of like shooting a mockingbird."

But that's just one man's opinion.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.