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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems: think about this – “The Bible” casts an actor who looks stunningly like Obama as the Devil and then blames people for complaining. HBO uses a prop head of George W. Bush whose face the audience can’t even see, apologizes abjectly and cuts the scene.

There’s a funny thing about the way TV feels about respect for the President: when it’s George W. Bush, it’s important, when it’s Obama, it’s not.
Consider the contrast between the History Channel’s “The Bible” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” To start, here’s the story on Obama as the spitting image of Satan:

NEW YORK (AP) — The producers of the cable TV miniseries on the Bible say Internet chatter that their Satan character resembles President Barack Obama is “utter nonsense.” Mark Burnett and Roma Burnett said Monday the Moroccan actor who played Satan in the History channel series, Mehdi Ouzaani, has played Satanic characters in other Biblical programs long before Obama was elected president. The connection got widespread attention after talk show host Glenn Beck last week tweeted: “Does Satan look EXACTLY like Obama? Yes!”

You can take a look for yourself HERE and see just how close you think is the resemblance, but the producers deny any ulterior motive and accuse critics of trying to “discredit” the bible:

History said in a statement that the network has “the highest respect” for Obama, and that “it’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection.” “Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our president, who is a fellow Christian,” said Downey, the “Touched By an Angel” actress who is married to Burnett. “False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible.”

Well, maybe they are just kind of naïve and it simply didn’t occur to them that their audience might make such a connection.
Well, um, no. Here’s what Businessweek says:

…the miniseries appears to have been conceived primarily for religious audiences–or at least those knowledgeable of scripture. It’s also packaged with enough bloodlust to capture channel surfers. In that regard, the series resembles Mel Gibson’s 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ, a movie bloggers called The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre–and which raked in more than $600 million at the box office.
Burnett hasn’t just re-created Gibson’s righteous bloodshed, he’s also adopted The Passion’s marketing methods. The producers linked up with faith-based groups, distributed study guides, and previewed the series at churches. They courted big-name evangelical figures. Discussing The Bible with his congregation in March, Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren declared, “God is about to do something really great.”

Now the possibility that all these devout people saw previews without happening to notice the resemblance kind of makes zero look like a big number. But, maybe that’s just the way TV always deals with situations like this.
Well, um, no. Here’s what happened over at HBO last year.

HBO apologizes for fake George W. Bush head on ‘Game of Thrones’
The creators of HBO’s” Game of Thrones” found themselves in a bit of hot water on Wednesday when word spun around the Internet that former President George W. Bush’s likeness made a very unflattering cameo in the first season of the epic fantasy series. More specifically: a prop severed head bearing the former president’s likeness appeared mounted on a stick. Though the head was given a wig of long hair, spattered in mud and turned mostly away from the camera, the distinctive upper lip was a giveaway….
On Wednesday, HBO and Benioff and Weiss issued statements of apology…”We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can’t afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush…We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.”
HBO added, “We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production.”

Wow, what would HBO have done if one of their producers had actually made a mini-series based on the Bible that depicted George W. Bush as Lucifer himself? One somehow doubts that they would say it was “utter nonsense” and blamed their critics for trying to “discredit the beauty of the story.”

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