Filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza is suggesting that The Associated Press, a not-for-profit cooperative newswire service owned by 1,500 U.S. newspapers, apologize for a fact check story on his movie, "2016: Obama's America."
"Certainly it's possible to debate the issues raised in the film," D'Souza wrote in his article published by The Wrap on Monday. "If AP wanted to commission a review or op-ed article, that would be fine. But instead the news agency has published a crude and inaccurate attack masquerading as a news story.
"Evidently this fact-checking article required its own fact-checker. Perhaps AP can now regain some credibility in this matter by publishing an apology."
Like all AP stories, the article written by Beth Fouhy last week with the headline "Fact Check: 'Anti-Colonial' Obama Not Plausible," was available for publication by hundreds of news organizations. Many newspapers re-published the article in its entirety without any additional editing.
Shortly after its publication, Fouhy tweeted, "I've gotten more hate mail and tweets for my fact check on 2016: Obama's America than any story I've written."
In his article, D'Souza, who co-produced the movie based on two of his books, refutes several points in Fouhy's story.
"First, it claims that I 'never mention the explosion of debt that occurred under Obama's predecessor, Republican George Bush.' This is simply false," he wrote. "The film quotes former Comptroller David Walker saying that the national debt exploded under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
"The film shows a clear graphic depicting the actual debt increase under both presidents, so that the viewer can compare them. The simple truth is that Bush's largest annual deficits were below $500 billion and Obama's lowest annual deficit was above $1 trillion. So Bush was a big spender and Obama an even bigger spender. This is made crystal-clear in the film."
D'Souza argues against four other fact checks in the AP story, including the assertion in the article that a bust of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was already scheduled to be returned before Obama took office and was not a decision made by him.
"The AP article takes its cue from a White House blog that initially attempted to deny this and obfuscate the issue by claiming possession of a second bust. This second bust was supposedly under repair but has now mysteriously surfaced. But none of this changes the fact that one of Obama's first actions as president was to return the Oval Office bust of Churchill," D'Souza contended.
"Obama didn't just want to relocate it, he wanted it given back to Britain. That bust now sits in the home of the British ambassador. The film explains Obama's hostility to Churchill by noting that he was a champion of colonialism and ordered a crackdown on an anti-colonial rebellion in Kenya in which Obama's father and grandfather were both detained," he continued.
"So we know what Obama did, and we know why he might have wanted to do it. As for the original White House blog, the White House has admitted its inaccuracy and apologized."
D'Souza said he thought it was remarkable that the reporter did not contact him or anyone else from the film before the story was published.
"This was my first indication that something was deeply wrong with this article," he wrote.
The Associated Press is a 166-year-old organization that prides itself on being a reliable source for news across the globe, according to its history page in the "About" section of its website.
"Even in this digital age, AP remains the definitive source for reliable news across the globe. While the company has gone from distributing news via pony express to instantaneous digital transmission, its news values and mission remain the same," AP writes.
"The people of the AP are part of the fabric of freedom," says former board chairman Frank Batten, as stated on the website. "They are the honest messengers, mostly anonymous, far from the limelight, often at risk and always committed to getting out the news as thoroughly and as accurately as possible."
The movie was shown in more theaters across the U.S. this past weekend after theater owners reported successful box office numbers within the first few weeks of opening.
"2016" filmmakers recently questioned why some Christian media and even some Christian leaders are reluctant to give movie reviews or place ads of their documentary-style film. Although not financed by any political group, the movie critically questions Obama's worldview and paints a dire future under a second term should he be re-elected.
"Christians can be weirdly defensive and timid about standing up for what we believe. Maybe this is why we have let the culture slip away from us," D'Souza told The Christian Post on Thursday. "This film is one that would passionately interest many conservative Christians, so it is downright strange that some Christian editors and Christian leaders would deny their audiences a chance to hear about it."