Eccentric actor Joaquin Phoenix won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as the criminally-insane bad guy, Joker. But former President Barack Obama took home the Oscar for his production company’s documentary American Factory.
The truth behind that story is that Obama played a real-life villain who drove thousands of people in the Ohio automotive plant out of work and into economic devastation. Perhaps Obama should be handed a second award for the way his Higher Ground production company deftly sidesteps the fact that he played the Invisible Man who orchestrated the downfall of hard-working Americans.
“How does a nearly two-hour film telling the story of these workers fail even to mention the direct role the co-owner of the film’s production company played in creating their hardships? Did the filmmakers think no one would remember,” Ohio Rep. Mike Turner responded.
American Factory conveniently picks up after the General Motors plant closes, and Chinese investors seek to take advantage of the vacant facility. One might believe this is a case where the Obama Administration was making last-ditch efforts to buoy the industry. After all, Obama handed the auto industry a bailout, but that too has more than one side to it.
In fact, it was the work of Rep. Mike Turner, former mayor of nearby Dayton, Ohio, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, among others, who helped broker a deal with Chinese investors to reopen the facility and recreate jobs. That fact, like so many others, doesn’t make it into the Obama propaganda piece that was picked up by Netflix. Ranked among the most critical facts American Factory avoids is that Obama’s automaker deal favored unions that did not include the GM plant’s workers. It actually created an impediment for them to move laterally and avoid being displaced.
“A quick refresher. The Obama administration’s auto bailout highly favored the UAW and its members. The GM plant in Moraine was unionized by the IUE-CWA. So — despite being one of the top GM facilities for quality, efficiency, and production in the country — it was shuttered, and its employees were put at the back of the line when requesting transfers to other GM plants. Any non-UAW employees looking to transfer were forced to start as new hires, wiping clean any wages, tenure, and benefits built up during careers at other GM plants,” Rep. Turner wrote in the Wall Street Journal, condemning the film’s false narrative.
“American Factory documents the UAW’s efforts to unionize the reopened auto glass factory without any mention of the same union’s direct role in the GM plant’s closure,” Turner added. “The Dayton community was left out in the cold — thousands of jobs lost, families devastated, longtime GM workers out on the street looking for work.”
Rather than put the treacherous forces behind the job displacement front and center, American Factory shields the ex-president and looks at the cultural and wage disputes between the American workers and Chinese investors. That false narrative plays directly into Obama’s excuses for his failed economy.
As many may recall, he went as far as to claim U.S. manufacturing jobs were never coming back, and President Donald Trump would need a “magic wand” to make them appear. This work of fiction is crooked to its core for crafting a lie that some bizarre culture war and not terrible economic policy were responsible for the plant shuttering in the first place.
If a documentary is to receive perhaps the film industry’s highest honor, one would expect a certain thoroughness that pulls back the veil about the driving reasons for the central controversy, which is the plant’s closure and displaced workers. Call it “artistic license” or “political deception,” but Netflix has successfully conspired with the Obamas to pull a fast one that positions a corrupt narrative as accurate. But as everyday Americans have learned post-Obama, manufacturing jobs are not the result of magic. They are created out of pro-business policy and tax incentives.
“In the Obama economy, investment was tough to come by. With a punitive and outdated tax code, international investment was nearly impossible to attract. State and local officials — especially Moraine Mayor Elaine Allison — worked relentlessly and were able to convince a Chinese manufacturer to invest in and rebuild this once-great factory,” Rep. Turner continued in his Wall Street Journal piece. “The hypocrisy of this Obama-backed film is astounding. Mr. Obama fails to acknowledge his direct role in creating the hardships the Moraine workers weathered. He had nothing whatsoever to do with the plant’s reopening…”
It’s interesting to note that Obama did not show up to accept the Oscar with the film team. Instead, he continues to play the Invisible Man whose misdeeds harmed hard-working people.