Film Review: Dinesh D'Souza's 'Death of a Nation' - 2018-07-31
In "Death of a Nation," the latest smirky documentary screed from the fake-historical-news factory of Dinesh D'Souza, there's an astonishing section in which the filmmaker displays the legal statutes of Nazi Germany, all to demonstrate his thesis: that American liberalism was, and is, the Third Reich's ideological sibling. (Yes, he's really saying that. And no, you can't make this s—t up.)
"Check out the official Nazi platform!" says D'Souza, whose recitation of the official Nazi platform is just about the only set of facts "Death of a Nation" gets right. Here are a few of the regulations he quotes: "Money lenders and profiteers punished by death…State control of media and the press…Seizure of land without compensation…State control of religious expression." Then D'Souza, in his sing-song hey kids, let me tell you a story about history! way, makes the following statement: "This reads like something jointly written by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders!" And all you can think is: It does? In "Death of a Nation," Dinesh D'Souza is no longer preaching to the choir; he's preaching to the mentally unsound. That's how detached from reality his "philosophy," his armchair rage, and his passionate and consuming desire to be a radical-right shill have become.
It's tempting to call "Death of a Nation" an outrage, but, of course, that's just what D'Souza wants. Scandalous untruth isn't simply his métier — it's his PR machine. The more that mainstream journalists go into high dudgeon over his lies and his mud-slinging, the more that he can feed the bonfire of the culture war. It's the formula that was put in place 30 years ago by right-wing talk radio, and that Fox News honed to a crude edge of firebrand theatrics: If your agenda is to stoke resentment and create cartoon enemies, then you don't need to be accurate. Just reduce every conflict to the status of a mythological action movie (Freedom fighters vs. socialists! Kick-ass leaders vs. wimp diplomats! "Real" Americans vs. immigrants!), and you've turned politics into a perpetual celebrity death match. The facts don't matter; only the showbiz addiction of the fight matters. That and the chance to let viewers get their rage-fueled rocks off.