National Geographic Defends Choice to Air ‘Seal Team Six’ Two Days Before Election

National Geographic's cable television channel is defending its decision to air a new live-action movie entitled "Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden," which focuses on the May 2011 operation that led to the death of the world's most wanted terrorist right before the November election. And if you miss the first showing, you'll be able to catch it on Netflix starting on Monday, still with plenty of time to vote the following day.

"This is a story people have been waiting to witness for themselves, and we feel the combined force of the National Geographic Channel and Netflix will ensure that everyone has the chance at a glimpse inside the heroic efforts of that courageous team of SEALs," according to a press release from the network.

If the timing of this potential "coincidence" makes you suspicious that the film is being used in an attempt to boost the re-election chances of the Democratic incumbent in the White House, you're not alone.

And if you add in the fact that Howard Weinstein, whose company is distributing the film, hosted a fund-raiser for Obama at his house in Connecticut in August, you might have questions that deserve answers.

Gregg Re, associate editor of The Daily Caller Website, asked the network's president, Howard Owens, if the decision when to air the video was motivated in any way by political considerations.

The executive responded that the choice was "not political. We are opportunistic, from a programing perspective," since the channel's fall slate of programming will debut after "Seal Team Six" has aired.

Even though it is making its debut on television and not in theaters, "it feels like a feature," Owens said, calling it "incredibly well-made" and citing a two-minute trailer that incorporates video of Obama and other officials alongside fictional sequences set at the CIA headquarters and in Pakistan.

"This amazing film is destined to have a major impact on our viewers, who will see our channel's scope widen as we host the world premiere of our first scripted project," he continued.

Owens added that the feature "will provide viewers with the first detailed, character-driven record of the War on Terror's most crucial event, and our era's defining moment."

Thursday's press release from the channel described the film's plot:

When the rumored whereabouts of Osama bin Laden are revealed, the CIA readies a team of seasoned U.S. Navy SEALs for the mission of a lifetime. Despite inconclusive evidence that bin Laden is inside the compound, and ignoring the possible ramifications of an unannounced attack on Pakistani soil, the Pentagon orders the attack. The SEAL team bands together to complete their mission of justice.

Owens noted that the events portrayed in the film were vetted by a team of experts, including a recently retired Navy SEAL, a top CIA operative and one of the most renowned bin Laden historians. He added:

While some aspects of the characterizations have been dramatized for creative reasons, the core story is an accurate portrayal of an event that ended the longest manhunt in American history.

"We all know the ultimate outcome of the President's decision to green-light the mission," said director John Stockwell. "But what was fascinating to me were all the potentially disastrous outcomes of the decision to give the go-ahead to the raid that the movie highlights. It hopefully gets inside the challenges of making a decision that could have derailed a presidency."

All that sounds good, but as NewsBusters previously reported, the channel is known for airing programming that seems tailored for the liberal mindset.

For example, during March of 2010, National Geographic warned that Global Warming would lead to increased violence, possibly even genocide.

And just before Christmas of 2011, the channel harped on "intolerant attitudes" in the King James Version of the Bible.

Nevertheless, on Thursday David Lyle, chief executive officer for National Geographic Channels, stated that the network "prides itself on giving our viewers exclusive access to truly ground-breaking moments from the past, present and future."

Lyle noted that "Seal Team Six" is "a perfect match for what people expect from our network -- content that is socially relevant, factually based and entertaining as hell."

Given the channel's perpetually dismal ratings, it's unlikely that anything from National Geographic will have any impact on the upcoming presidential election -- especially something with "dramatized" elements combined with footage of "real" people and events. I guess it's up to us viewers to figure out which is which and vote accordingly.

Let's hope that the feature at least honors the heroism of the SEALs, all of whom died in combat in Afghanistan during early August.Let's hope that the feature at least honors the heroism of the SEALs, all of whom died in combat in Afghanistan during early August.

Randy Hall
Randy Hall