Journeys With George on DVD
by Jim Bray
Okay, full disclosure. Im a fan of President George W. Bush, so this
review will obviously reflect that as well as my distaste and distrust
of the mainstream media of which the director of Journeys With George is part.
That would be Alexandra Pelosi, who at the time was a producer for NBC news
assigned to cover the Bush presidential campaign in 2000 and whose mother, Nancy,
is a California liberal whacko whos the Democrats leader in the
US House of Representatives.
So going in to Journeys With George, given the directors pedigree and
her position in a mainstream media that, on balance, slants so far
to the left it appears in danger of toppling over, I expected a real hatchet
job. Thats what these people do so well to those with whom they may disagree.
Except that it isnt the case here. Ms. Pelosi (Alex, not Nancy) and her
camcorder have brought us a portrait of the president then candidate
that pretty much matches my impressions of a man Ive never met
but who I feel Ive gotten to know over the past years, through watching
and listening to his words and actions, and not from having relied on what the
media tells me to think about him.
Whether its because Mr. Bushs character and wit won over Pelosi
or because she chose not to editorialize on tape, the result is a compelling
look at George W. Bush the man and the candidate. Its also a fascinating
look at the self-absorbed media who spent months accompanying Bush on his seemingly
endless road trip.
And Bush displays the patience of a saint at times much as he does to
this day when responding to the medias slanted, accusatory or just plain
Journeys With George plays out like a piece of cinema verite, which isnt
really surprising. Candidate Bush is a pro, but despite that you can see him
grow into the role as the campaign progresses and one of the things that
makes this movie work so well is that it lets you see the man and his people
in action, as themselves, without the media filter. Well, not completely without
it, of course, since Pelosi was doing the shooting and editing, but its
about as unfiltered as you can get. Kudos to Pelosi for, whether intentionally
or not, giving us a documentary thats fair and balanced (gee, do you think
she should change networks?).
There are some wonderful moments here as the jaded press gang spends long days,
weeks and months on buses, in planes, and at campaign events all across America.
But the moment that perhaps said the most to me both about the media and the
president came after Pelosis straw poll on who her media compatriots thought
would win the election.
Pelosis chums though Gore would win (which, of course, he almost did
by any means possible including attempted theft). No news here but when
Pelosis informal poll made the papers itself, Pelosi found herself shunned
by the so-called professionals of her profession people who are quick
to publish other polls regardless of their relevance and who arent averse
to embarrassing their subjects. But put the shoe on the other hand...
And who was it who came to her when she was feeling alone and isolated, and
helped pick up her spirits?
Cause thats the kind of guy he is.
Interestingly, this section about the straw poll also includes some commentary
that hinted that the Gore media contingent didnt really like the candidate
they were covering, while the Bush gang were kind of seduced by the gregarious
Texan. And they also hinted that these feelings colored their coverage.
Which, of course, is a load of BS to anyone who pays attention to media coverage.
Media coverage of US politics is traditionally so pro Democrat that the Democrat
party should really be paying the news outlets for their blatant coverage. Democratic
positions, statements and outright lies are accepted uncritically and passed
on to the public while Republican positions, statements and responses to liberal
lies are treated with incredulity or ridicule.
Most of the reason is the medias leftward tilt. It isnt that these
people are deliberately biased, its just that theyre a herd and
most of them are liberals who hang out together and with other like-minded people.
This gives them the feeling that they are mainstream and that anything to the
right of them is out of the mainstream.
Of course, the truth is nothing like this, which helps to explain why the mainstream
media are losing audience and influence with an increasingly frustrated public
- and it couldnt happen to a more deserving bunch.
The fact that youre reading this gives partial proof to my point.
Anyway, Im sure that Journeys With George wont change the minds
of any on the angry left whose blind hatred of the president has shut down what
parts of their minds they had open in the first place. Reasonable people will
probably find it a fascinating look at George W. Bush, unplugged, the media,
unplugged, and the day to day rigors and boredom of a long political campaign.
Well done, Ms. Pelosi!
As a DVD, Journeys With George is okay, though nothing special. Since it was
shot on conventional home video equipment and framed for viewing on regular
televisions it isnt presented in anamorphic widescreen, and its home video
roots mean the picture wont leap off the screen. These facts work to the
benefit of the feature, though, giving it a more real feel than if it were a
slick, Hollywood production.
Likewise, the audio is unremarkable, but okay.
There are no extras. It would have been interesting to have a running commentary
from Pelosi, recounting her adventures and amplifying them in the light of the
time elapsed since then, but such isnt the case.
Bottom line? If you want to find out a little more about George W. Bush, the
man, and the mainstream media, the pack, this is a great place to start.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think