The Obamas Make Their Hollywood Debut 📺

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

What's the deal?

Back in 2018, it was announced that former President Obama had signed a deal with Netflix to produce TV shows and films over several years. Obama affirmed at the time that he did not plan to use the platform to wage a public campaign against President Trump or conservative voices. The financial arrangements of the deal remain undisclosed, but there is speculation that the deal is valued at or above the Obamas’ $65 million from other publishing deals.

Unveiling the documentary

The Obamas' documentary, American Factory, follows a Chinese company that resurrects a former General Motors plant to establish an auto-glass-manufacturing operation. It debuted on the streaming service on Wednesday, and it is the first of seven reported projects to come out of the deal. The Obamas said that they felt that the film stood for the values they wanted their production company to represent – helping “people understand something they didn’t understand before.”


LEANING RIGHT:

Fox News: Obamas’ debut Netflix documentary slammed as 'lefty propaganda,' an attack on Trump

National Review: Netflix Debuts Its Obama Manifesto

The right generally views the Obamas’ move as an “attack on the current president” and “lefty propaganda.” They assert that if the right had produced a similar type of film, it would have likely been met with condemnation and calls to be banned from the left. Very little attention is given to the content of the film.

LEANING LEFT:

BGR: Barack and Michelle Obama’s first Netflix project is getting rave reviews

WaPo: The Obamas aren’t done with politics just yet, if their new Netflix film is any indication

The left sees no “overt” political messaging from the Obamas’ association with the Netflix film. They highlight the “rave reviews” and the high current Rotten Tomatoes score of 98%. These outlets mention none of the negative reactions from the right. Some more moderate outlets see the move as a political statement by the Obamas. 


Where's the common ground?

Apart from far left-leaning outlets, both sides generally acknowledge that the Obamas’ foray into digital Hollywood has some political calculation behind it. However, the two sides drastically differ on how they interpret the potential impacts of the Obamas’ new international media platform. 

The Obamas adding "producers" after "POTUS" and "FLOTUS" to their resumes:

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