HBO and Martin Scorsese are producing a documentary on Bill Clinton, with his full participation – which means it will have all the typical goo. But it's even cozier than that.
It’s not what you’d call an “independent” film – Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes reported it’s produced by Steve Bing, who “is a major financial contributor to the William J. Clinton Foundation and has donated to former senator and onetime presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is now secretary of state.” But wow, did Scorsese lay the praise on thick in the press release:
"A towering figure who remains a major voice in world issues, President Clinton continues to shape the political dialogue both here and around the world. Through intimate conversations, I hope to provide greater insight into this transcendent figure.”
It sounds like a film applying for Clinton’s face on Mount Rushmore. Then there was also some polish from the HBO brass.
“President Clinton is one of the most compelling figures of our time, whose worldview and perspective, combined with his uncommon intelligence, make him a singular voice on the world stage,” said HBO CEO Richard Plepler and programming president Michael Lombardo in a joint statement. "This documentary, under Marty’s gifted direction, creates a unique opportunity for the president to reflect on myriad issues that have consumed his attention and passion throughout both his presidency and postpresidency."
Guys, guys – perhaps discussing Clinton’s all-consuming “passion” is not the most favorable way to describe his presidency. (Cue Beavis and Butthead snickers.)
Back in June, HBO premiered “41,” a favorable look at the life of George H.W. Bush, the man Clinton defeated. It was produced by Jerry Weintraub, who deMoraes called “the former United Artists CEO and a Bush family friend.” But now Weintraub is helping produce a hair-raising documentary series on “climate change” for Showtime.
In 2011, HBO premiered a documentary on Ronald Reagan. Shannen Coffin at National Review wasn't impressed: "once focused on his years in office, the film offers little of substance to explain why Reagan is so revered. Instead, deficit spending, the AIDS epidemic, and Iran-Contra got much of the attention."