'Game Change' -- Anatomy of a Smear of Sarah Palin

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COMMENTARY | Thanks to some remarkable reporting from Big Hollywood, it has become increasingly clear the upcoming HBO movie "Game Change" is less a political melodrama than an all-out attempt to destroy the person and reputation of Sarah Palin.

The movie is based on a poorly researched book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, and it was criticized at the time of its publication by Howard Kurtz, then a media reporter for the Washington Post, and the New York Times for its overreliance on unsourced "deep background" interviews that were difficult to verify.

Two of those sources have been revealed, according to the Los Angeles Times, as Steve Schmidt and Nichole Wallace, John McCain campaign operatives widely regarded as being responsible for McCain's defeat in 2008. The suspicion is Schmidt and Wallace are attempting to shift the blame for the debacle on Palin. The movie excises the Palin story from the book and then adds to it.

For instance, the movie makes the claim Palin did not know the Queen of England does not have governing power, which resides in the prime minister. But Big Hollywood reports an interview Palin had at the time on the Sean Hannity show in which she expresses her great admiration for Margaret Thatcher, who was the prime minister of Great Britain.

The movie also depicts Palin having a nervous breakdown during the campaign. But as Palin's trip director Jason Recher notes, there was no breakdown. It didn't happen. HBO just made it up.

Why would HBO launch such a full-throated smear on a woman who holds no public office and is not currently running for one, as the Washington Examiner's Byron York notes?

Part of the answer lays in who is involved in the production, starting with producer Tom Hanks, an Obama supporter who is usually more meticulous in getting his history right, as was noted in the "John Adams" and "Band of Brothers" miniseries he produced. Julianne Moore, who plays Palin, has expressed outright hatred for the woman she is alleged to portray.

When "Game Change" was greenlit months ago, there was every expectation Palin would run for president. The movie is opening just before Super Tuesday, in time to hit Palin between the eyes.

But by not running, Palin is not offering a target, instead using political power in another way. It is a maneuver worthy of a Sun Tzu.

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