The presentation is highly partisan, portraying those on the left as the non-partisans who are willing to compromise and look at all sides of the issue, while the republicans are all extreme ideologues that refuse to budge. For example, when the narrator was talking about divisive partisanship, three different republican congress people were shown in the background, when the narrator switched to the ideals of partisanship three different democratic congress people where shown, ironically the one they focused on the longest has the most partisan left-wing voting record in congress.
Another example is when using sound bites, Democratic congress people were shown talking about compromise and trying to work while virtually all of the sound bites of Republicans saying they won't budge. The arrant partisanship of the film in the first 15 minutes was so palpable that it began to distract from the very real problem they wanted to address.
But it only get's worse the film claims (falsely) that partisanship came from "Republican" Barry Goldwater and then it manifested itself even greater by "Republican" (you could really just fill in any name you wish). Basically partisanship according to the film only came about and is only here because of "Republicans", of course the voting records says the EXACT opposite. For example:
The four congress's under Bush voted this way
90% of Democratic votes went strictly by party line
88% of Republican votes went strictly by party line
Democrat's were more likely to vote party line under Bush than Republicans.
The firest two congress under Obama voted this way
94% of Democratic votes went strictly by party line
86% of Republican votes went strictly by party line
The Democrats became MORE partisan under Obama while the Republicans became LESS Partisan.
But you would NEVER know the FACTS from this film.
The These are some of the MAJOR FALSEHOODS promoted by the film -
* America had a surplus in 2001 - NOT according to the CBO and the Treasury department. (craigsteiner.us/articles/16)
* President Bush launched a war on Iraq - Only congress can authorize us to go to war.
* Credit Default Swaps were called "underhanded loan" - CDS's were derivatives which had ALL of the loans in most of the world packaged into. The so-called predatory loans were actually less than .001% of all loans, AND that's the high estimate.
* Claims that predatory loans caused the housing market to collapse - purely laughable, they were such a minor part of the loans that I haven't heard a single source make this claim because it is so glaringly wrong.
* Claims that America banking almost collapsed from funding predatory loans - Again absolutely laughable, Bank of America has more cash on hand than the total amount of all predatory loans. Instead the financial collapse had to do with a collapse in the derivative trading markets.
* Claims that Barrack Obama's stimulus package cost 787 billion dollars - WHOOPS missed the number by 1 trillion. Even Liberal Ezra Klein begrudgingly admitted that the stimulus package cost over 1.7 Trillion dollars.
* Claims the housing market collapse started in mid 2004 - "Housing prices peaked in early 2006, started to decline in 2006 and 2007, and reached new lows in 2012" Wikipedia
* Claims that most money is borrowed from China - FALSE "China owns about 8 percent of publicly held U.S. debt." (usgovinfo.about.com/od/moneymatters/ss/How-Much-US-Debt-Does-China-Own)
* A commentator on the program claimed that Sean Hannity was not being truthful when he said that the 112th congress (the one that the republicans regained the House and the Democrats retained the senate) was split between the two parties. Ummmmmmmmmmm sorry Mr. commentator but that's EXACTLY what happened and that isn't even a partisan point or opinion, it's just a FACT.
* Confuses tea party with conservatism - the tea party is more libertarian than conservative.
* Claims citizens united gave corporations the same rights as people - that's false citizens united, which is terrible, was about free speech.
* After trying to scare the viewers about Citizen United it forgot to mention that corporate spending on campaigns was less than 1% of total spending. It also forgot to mention that political foundation spend upwards of 3 trillion a year with no rules and that unions are the second biggest spenders on political campaigns. In Fact if you lump all corporations together they are #34 on the list that totals just 45 different groups that spend money on campaigns. But you would never know this after watching this DVD, instead you would think they were #1.
* The film completely misrepresents the debt ceiling debacle claiming that Obama was trying to compromise. Bob Woodward who was there and reporting on it from behind close doors says the exact opposite. The President actually created confusion, pissed off both right and left, held secret meetings and announced plans that went against the deals that had been made by both sides. Basically the president undermined the congress and as many insiders have noted came off as an inexperienced but arrogant meddler.
* They claimed that S&P downgrade was because of a dysfunctional congress - while that was mentioned as a small contributing factor the file completely ignored the main reason that S&P said, and that was because of the burgeoning debt and weather we could pay it back or not.
Good points it tried to make but failed
Echo chamber groups - It never explored that fact that studies show those on the left tend to stay much more inside their echo chambers and are much less likely to get any opinion outside of their far left sites than those on the far right, but that doesn't go with their presentation of the left as being the sensible, non-partisan ones.
It talked about the news media but never once mentioned peer-reviewed scientific studies that show that the vast majority of it leans to the left and these scientists estimate that it gives the left a 4-8% point advantage and just how hard it is to find truly right-wing news sources.
It said that people get confused over commentary programs and real news shows but it never showed the polls done by TIME (and other sources) that people on the left pick Comedian Jon Stewart as their favorite "journalist" while people on the right picked "Anderson Cooper". I agree that people are confused but in a UCLA poll 4% of conservatives claimed that Sean Hannity and Bill O'Rielly were news journalists while 66% of liberals identified Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews as journalists. So there is confusion but it appears to mostly be on the left.
Money controls politics - That's true, but rather than show the millions of dollars of special interest money it focus on the left's monster under the bed citizens united. As we know corproate giving pales in comparison to PAC's, foundations, unions, etc etc.
It spends almost 1 hour putting down the right while propping up the left, it seriously misleads, distorts and denies reality but in the end the suggestions it gives are pretty good. It get's five stars for the last 10 minutes of suggestions and loses 3 stars for the first hour.