Maureen Dowd agrees with Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus that the forthcoming Hillary Clinton films on NBC and CNN are bad things. Dowd agrees because
You need look no further than "The Queen" -- Helen Mirren's Oscar-winning turn as Queen Elizabeth -- to see how reputations can be burnished. After Princess Diana's death in 1997, the royals were seen as bloodless ice cubes, and there were questions about the viability of the monarchy. But when the sympathetic movie came out in 2006, the queen's popularity soared.Did it? Really? Here are poll results on the queen over the years, from Ipsos-MORI (click to enlarge):
Notice when approval of the queen soared from 71% to 82%: in 2002 -- four years before The Queen was released. (2002 was the year the queen's Golden Jubilee was celebrated.) Yes, her popularity went up in 2006, the year of The Queen's release -- but note that that poll was taken in April 2006. The Queen was released (in the U.S. and U.K.) in September 2006.
Way to check facts, MoDo.
Dowd also tells us that "Julianne Moore's Emmy-winning performance in 'Game Change' solidified Sarah Palin's reputation as an emotionally erratic dunce." Um, actually, that reputation was established sometime during the 2008 campaign, and was pretty much solidified long before the 2012 release of Game Change. If you go to Polling Report, you'll see the collected polling on Palin. Thirteen polls were conducted on her favorability in 2011 -- the year before Game Change was first aired. In every single one of those polls, Palin's unfavorability exceeded 50%, while her favorability was in the 30s or even the 20s. There were five polls in 2011 asking whether Palin should run for president, or was qualified to do so. In each of those polls, the no responses exceeded 60%. (In one of the polls, 74% said she shouldn't run for president -- and that poll was from Fox.)
Dowd thinks we're mesmerized by the media, and she has a point, but let's not forget that for more than twenty years we've been able to turn on our TVs and see the actual Hillary Clinton. We're really not going to be swayed by a TV movie about someone who is already, in effect, a TV star. (And please note that the queen -- who's been on TV a lot lately, what with the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee last year, and the baby this year -- is even more popular now than she was in 2006, according to Ipsos-MORI. I don't think we can ascribe that to a seven-year-old movie. Helen Mirren's a hell of an actress, but she's not that good.)
The best reason to oppose the Hillary films is the possibility that they'll set a precedent. Is Fox going to respond by airing a docudrama about Chris Christie's noble fight against classrooms run by union thugs, interspersed with poignant scenes of his Rocky Balboa-esque love for Mary Pat?