The film “13 Hours” is not a documentary. It’s big-screen Hollywood drama, meant to entertain, not educate. Michael Bay hasn’t planted some political smoking gun reveal that is meant to shock America, and finally put an end to the “Witch of Washington” and her bid for president in 2016.
Note: “Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”, Glen and Ty were CIA GRS contractors, and former Navy SEALs (SEALs are sailors not soldiers). Also, the contractors were sure to be a mix of Army, USMC, USAF, and Navy. Soldier is a term the Army uses exclusively.
I finally reached my tipping point and decided to write about this when real news reporters, guys that make a living reporting the news, started calling me to ask my opinion about the movie, when I was reporting for SOFREP in Kiev, Ukraine last week. “What do you think it will reveal about events on the ground?” some asked with eagerness.
I was stunned. Most haven’t even read the book “13 Hours” or any of SOFREP’s reporting on Benghazi. But these same journalists sure couldn’t wait to get their press pass for an early screening of the movie and learn about history that way.
Have some Americans, and news journalists, really become so gullible as to think that we can substitute real history for the big screen and bright lights of Hollywood? It would appear that Walter Cronkite has been replaced by the big screen Hollywood director. This is a big fucking problem people. I didn’t study journalism in college, but I’d hope there’s some obscure class taught in the core curriculum that explains the difference between movies and real-life reporting.
The reality is that the big, successful news media outlets and hack reporters have turned dirty laundry news entertainment into their chosen profession. The Obama administration leveraged this to their advantage when they sold a cover story to Kathryn Bigelow and her team with the SEAL Team 6 UBL kill mission. The result? A nicely packaged movie, falsely told by officials, and interpreted as a history lesson in the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Jack and I wrote the first real account of what happened in “Benghazi: The Definitive Report” only months after the attacks in Libya. It would hit the New York Times bestseller list soon after, but we didn’t write it to brag about making some arbitrary list that the New York Times pulls together, we wrote this book because I lost a best friend in Libya, and people at the CIA and Department of State, motivated by truth, starting reaching out to us once they saw the truth being buried in their own back yard. We were motivated for the same reasons. To be honest, Jack and I were both uncomfortable with Harper Collins titling the book “definitive report,” but it’s stood up to time and become just that.
So what do I think about the movie?
I’m close to the Doherty family, and it’s sad to see the families of two main heroes of Benghazi, Glen Doherty and Ty Woods, largely left out in the cold in this production. However, I also respect that Michael Bay makes great movies and the gents that contributed their personal stories to the book “13 Hours” had every right to tell their own version of the story, and sell the movie rights. Cue my ambivalence.
It would appear that Michael Bay has made another great movie but Americans (and you journalists out there, you know who you are) would best remember that Bay is not a tenured collegiate history professor; he works for Hollywood, and the film “13 Hours” is only a fictional drama based on true events. Go see the movie but, don’t expect it to be historical fact.
(Featured image courtesy of telegraph.co.uk)