A good friend of mine and fellow activist sent me an email. It was about the documentary that came out late last year titled "The Brainwashing of My Dad." I had heard about it, meant to watch it but never did. But his call to action was more intense than usual. He even quoted from the Daily Kos review by iowagirl.
This is not only a must-see documentary, it is an engaging, tender personal story, told by a daughter, Jen Senko, who lost her dad to the right-wing media. It is a fascinating yet sad and all too common tale about the observable personality changes that took hold over her father after he accidentally happened upon right-wing radio and became addicted to it. Once a happy, non-judgmental, easy-going guy, he became an angry, embittered person that no one in his family recognized after he started spending more and more time listening to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.
The movie weaves together the daughter’s personal narrative with the history of the growth of right wing media in the United States. Going back to Nixon and beyond, the film did a thorough job of tracing the forces within the Republican party that used the Supreme Court and political manipulation to establish their own media in order to influence elections in their favor, as a reaction to the liberalism of the 60’s.
I subscribe to Amazon Prime which in addition to getting all my stuff shipped for free, includes free streaming. I checked on a whim to see if the documentary was one of their offerings. And yes, 'The Brainwashing of My Dad' was there and also available on DVD. I carved out the hour and twenty-nine minutes and watched it last night.
Suffice it to say it was an hour and a half well spent. While it is true many of us are familiar with many of the issues and realities discussed in the documentary, it added another dimension. I was happy that it mentioned something I've been blogging about for some time, the orchestration of the Right Wing take over using the Powell Manifesto as the roadmap.
The documentary shows the indoctrination scheme that made white men believe the others are oppressing them or was causing them to fall behind. Of course, we all know it smoke and mirrors as it is the plutocracy, the few with power that has the boot on the necks of most. It also illustrated the split in some families are split because the environment can expose some more to the infection (a job where one listens to more talk radio or Fox News). The share repetition and presentation can give a false sense of validity.
What found of importance is the ending of the documentary. It gives hope. I won't be giving away too much here because the meat of the film is how we got here and how we can get out. Jen Senko's dad came around, not by hitting him up directly with the facts and telling how wrong he was, but by letting him realize, with some prodding and some cleverness, on his own.
There is much to learn from this documentary no matter what you think you already know. I am a seasoned activist and learned some techniques I will be adding to my repertoire.
Also published on Medium.