Outrage Over Documentary on Bush Assassination
Sept. 1, 2006 — -- On eve of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Toronto Film Festival will debut a British movie depicting the fictional assassination of President George W. Bush.
Mixing real archive footage and computer generated imagery, "Death of a President" shows President Bush being gunned down by a Syrian sniper during a Chicago anti-war protest in October 2007.
When word of the provocative plot hit the blogosphere Thursday, it sparked outrage, particularly among conservatives.
"Sicko" is how radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh described director Gabriel Range.
Congressman Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the movie "absolutely disgraceful."
Neither man has seen the flick, but both fear life could imitate art.
"This is a dangerous world," Rep. King told one cable news channel. He warned that this mock-documentary "could incite real violence."
The White House and U.S. Secret Service would not comment on the movie, but former agents say it is definitely cause for concern.
"It puts ideas in people's heads," said Patrick Lennon, who shadowed five presidents during his 22 years with the Secret Service. "With theamount of nuts out there, who knows what they could conjure up after seeing a film like this."
Lennon says the Secret Service will likely request an advance copy of the movie to evaluate how dangerous it is.
"It could spur copy cat activity," says Joe LaSorsa, who spent 20 years protecting presidents for the Secret Service.
Range, the filmmaker, defended the movie in a press release.
"It's a striking premise which may be highly controversial. But it's a serious film, which I hope will open up the debate on where current U.S. foreign and domestic policies are taking us," he said.
"Depicting the assassination of a president is in poor taste," said former agent LaSorsa, "and never helpful" to the Secret Service.
LaSorsa hopes no one goes to see the film, but that is unlikely, given that it will play not just in Canada, but on British television as well.