Lizz Winnstead : Everything You Would Expect From a Daily Show Co-Creator
Guest Post by Andrew Marcus
Producer-Director Hating Breitbart
Lizz Winnstead’s Tweechable moment: What we can learn from the Daily Show Creator’s recent twitter disaster.
As the director of Hating Breitbart, which was released nationwide in theaters and digitally on May 17th, I spend a lot of time on Twitter trying to get the word out. It’s not about the money – I have no illusions about the commercial appeal of political documentaries, but the message of the film is extraordinarily important. It is particularly germane now that the IRS is targeting political dissenters and organizations and the DOJ is spying on the press. Usually when a film is released, there is an entire publicity machine that goes into action to ensure that as many people know about the film as possible, but not so much with Hating Breitbart.
It’s not that I don’t have a good marketing team – I do. In fact, I have an amazing marketing team – I even have two publicists who regularly book their clients on Good Morning America, Piers Morgan Tonight, The Today Show, and other big shows that reach millions of viewers. Funny thing is, they can’t seem to book me on any of the big shows, despite the fact that my film is being released from coast to coast.
In fact, it’s been extremely difficult to get mainstream media outlets to help us spread the word, and the ones that are talking about it are doing everything they can to discredit the picture – this isn’t exactly surprising, given that Hating Breitbart is, ultimately, a devastating indictment of mainstream media malfeasance. That’s why I spend so much time on Twitter – so I can compensate, in some small way, for the overwhelming institutional resistance to our film.
So you can imagine my utter lack of surprise when Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show, showed up on my Twitter page to trash talk the film – shocker. In case you follow these things, this is the same Lizz Winstead who 48 hours later would infamously tweet “This tornado is in Oklahoma so clearly it has been ordered to only target conservatives.” – she’s a real humanitarian, Ms. Winstead, and funny, too. In any event, and for the sake of full context, before Ms. Winstead began gleefully tweeting about dead children in a Red State, I had sent out a tweet encouraging people to review the film on iTunes and Amazon to counterbalance the effort to snuff the film out. Ms. Winstead, in response, chimed in:
I won’t bore you with the back and forth – Twitter is far more compelling in real time than in retrospect. Ms. Winstead eventually concluded with, “Or maybe, just maybe people just don’t want to see a film that pays tribute to Breitbart.”
That would be a fair enough point, except that there’s a twist to this story, like all good stories. As it turns out, our publicists reached out to The Daily Show on three separate occasions. We were told, essentially, ‘Thank you for your interest in our show, but hell no.’ Ms. Winstead and her friends might argue, I suppose, that was because our production quality sucked and our content wasn’t compelling – so why would they want to degrade their show with our mediocre crapumentary?
Except that, as it turns out, in March of 2010 The Daily Show broadcast – for profit – footage that I had shot during the production of…yes, you guessed it: Hating Breitbart. In fact, Andrew Breitbart, the person that Lizz Winstead believes nobody wants to see, appears twice (without credit) and is featured prominently in the footage they broadcast. And so, it would seem, that our content is just fine for borrowing, but not good enough for promoting.
So that, Ms. Winstead, to address your question, is how you suppress a film. You deny it exposure, and then you mock it for not having exposure. Classy. Almost as classy as mocking the dead children of probable Conservatives.
Ms. Winstead may not believe that people “want to see a film that pays tribute to Breitbart,” but her tweets about Oklahoma precisely demonstrate why Andrew Breitbart’s message was and is so important – because Breitbart passionately rallied against a media culture that has perpetually caricatured Conservatives as racist, sexist, homophobic, intolerant, bigoted monsters. It is only within an environment where Conservatives are so radically dehumanized that a supposed Liberal like Lizz Winstead could even think for a moment that it’s acceptable to glibly tweet about such horrific destruction and suffering. The media culture that has provided fertile ground for such callousness is what Andrew Breitbart dedicated his life to changing. Within the span of 48 hours, Lizz Winstead went from mocking our film to proving its thesis.