Monday, November 01, 2004

This was in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on October 27th in the Political Insider column:

More mystery out of the 8th District race: The unauthorized premiere of "Dylan's Run" at the Westmoreland campaign office

Steve Johnson called Wednesday from California. He's a movie-maker. In 2002, he was the producer of an indy film that tracked the political prospects of a young, photogenic African-American seeking a congressional seat — as a Republican. That was in 1998 and 2000, during Dylan Glenn's two tries against Sanford Bishop down in south Georgia.

Through, Johnson had just found out that — during the summer primary — Republican Lynn Westmoreland had grabbed frames from "Dylan's Run" and used them in a racially tinged attack ad.

Here's what's unusual: The documentary has never been seen publicly. Not in a movie house, not on cable TV, not through mail-order. Johnson said only 20 or so DVDs have been let out of his office, for film festival entries and such. "How [Westmoreland] got hold of one is beyond me," Johnson said.

Westmoreland doesn't strike us as the film-festival type. His campaign reports the DVD came to them through the mail — anonymously, we presume.

Johnson says he doesn't care how Westmoreland got a copy of the film. He's already summoned the lawyers. "The first thing we're going to do is figure out what we can do legally," he said.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I did a Google search on "Dylan's Run" the other day and found this column in the Atlanta paper. I had no idea this had happened. We're working on a response.

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Political Insider Column, Wednesday 8.04.04

Hide the children, and keep your finger on the remote. The finish to the 8thDistrict race is getting ugly.

God knows what's happening in the Republican run-off for the 8th District congressional seat. And it's safe to say He's not very happy.

The campaign of Dylan Glenn on Tuesday released a weekend poll of 400 voters that showed him leading Lynn Westmoreland 46 to 38 percent -- 35 to 25 percent among the most committed voters.

It's the reverse of a poll the Westmoreland campaign showed last week --which had Westmoreland over the 50 percent mark. Do remember that Glenn'scampaign peddled a poll before the July 20 that also had him ahead, but this one has Whit Ayres name on it, which is nothing to sneer at.

Another reason to take the Glenn poll seriously is the attack TV ad releasedTuesday by the Westmoreland campaign -- an ad harsh in both its content and racial imagery.

The ad refers to Glenn, an African-American, as a "political opportunist"who drained $100,000 from a charity he established. He then "abandoned the charity and skipped town," the ad states. In reality, he twice drew a$50,000 annual salary from the organization. And he left in 2001 for a WhiteHouse job with George W. Bush, Glenn's campaign argues. The charity was shutdown a year later.

But the most questionable portion of the 30-second spot are two separate images of Glenn, his head lolling on a stuffed chair, as the narrator recounts his losses in 1998 and 2000 congressional races in South Georgia.

Alice James, the Westmoreland campaign spokeswoman, said the images were drawn from an HBO documentary on Glenn, called "Dylan's Run." The two images were actual shots of Glenn reacting to his losses, she said.

Negative ads are usually a sign that a candidate lags in the polls. Not so in this case, James said. The Westmoreland ad is purely payback, for an attack ad that the Glenn campaign began running this week, implying that Westmoreland could be bought by lobbyists.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Dylan Glenn lost his latest attempt to win a congressional seat in Georgia to Lynn Westmoreland by 55% to 45% in a runoff on August 10th. Glenn lost big despite endorsements from virtually every major newspaper in the district, the backing of Jack Kemp, Newt Gingrich, Zell Miller, and a host of local politicians, including the third place finisher in the July 2oth primary.

Like his two earlier attempts for a House seat, which were captured in our documentary Dylan's Run, it's hard to believe that race did not play a role in the outcome.

So much for Jack Kemp's statement that Dylan was the GOP's Barak Obama.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Dylan Glenn, the subject of my feature length documentary DYLAN'S RUN, came in second in the Republican primary in the 8th district of Georgia (46% to 37% with 96% of precincts reporting). That means a runoff, scheduled for August 10th, between Dylan and Lynn Westmoreland, who came in first.  The winner is practically guaranteed to be the next congressman from the district, which is heavily Republican (almost 70% voted for Bush in 2000).

We're considering filming the runoff and updating the current version of DYLAN'S RUN, which covers his 1998 and 2000 campaigns in a different district in Georgia. What do you think his chances of winning the runoff are?    


Friday, June 18, 2004

A confluence of ugly technological events took the site and my email accounts offline this week. If you tried to reach me by email from 6/14 to 6/18, please resend.

Dylan Glenn, the main character in our feature length doc "Dylan's Run" is running for Congress again in Georgia. He's in a tight primary race scheduled for July 20th. Stay tuned. We may shoot more footage and include it in a new version of the film.

"Battle for the Klamath" is nearing the end of production. It's a great story with compelling characters trying to resolve a seemingly intractable dispute over water and salmon. We need additional funding to complete it. Contact us at with any funding ideas you might have.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

This is an interesting thing to watch. A strong first step toward the mythical "Hydrogen Revolution" or another cynical political event that fades into underfunded obscurity? For the latter, see last year's State of the Union.

I've been trying to raise money for a doc on renewable energy alternatives for over a year, and if that experience is any guide, people are interested in the subject, but not dying to see an in-depth examination of the various alternatives.

If you're interested in stories about the renewable energy world, check out Clean Edge.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The Interior Department inspector general found no evidence that Karl Rove or other White House operatives interfered in the Klamath Basin water conflict for political gain last year.

Rove's comments on the ongoing Klamath water battle came in a meeting, and without a tape recording of the comments or some other solid written evidence, it is extremely difficult to prove "political pressure." Indeed, the nut paragraph in the letter the IG sent to Senator John Kerry (who called for the investigation last year before he became the Democratic nominee) seems to be:

"However, we conclude that the (Interior) Department conducted itself in keeping with the administrative process, that the science and information utilized supported the department's decisions, and that no political pressure was perceived by any of the key participants," Devaney's letter said.

Perception is always in the eye of the beholder, and your perception better be damn sure if you're going to testify in an IG investigation against the most powerful political operative in the federal government about an important issue in a swing state in an election year.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Happy New Year.

In 2002, I worked on a documentary investigating the American meat industry for the PBS series Frontline. After talking to a lot of experts about Mad Cow and the threat of BSE, we concluded that the real story was about the threat from food borne illness like e coli and salmonella, which kill an estimated 5000 people a year in the United States, not the threat from BSE, which killed about 150 in Great Britain over the last ten years.

The consolidation of the American meat industry, and its determination to vigorously fight any regulation that might impact their low margin business, was, and is, the real story. The name, Mad Cow, and the endless footage of that one cow staggering around drunkenly, provide a neat, sensationalistic storyline, but the intense focus on this issue is off the mark. Check out the website and contact your local PBS station and ask them to rebroadcast "Modern Meat."