Screening Room: ‘The Brainwashing of My Dad’


It’s the kind of thing too many people are familiar with. Once middle-of-the-road parents suddenly, after immersing themselves in Fox News and talk radio, turn into angry ditto-heads, sending email forwards filled with birther conspiracy theories and ALL CAPS freakout. That’s what happened to filmmaker Jen Senko, who chronicled the experience in a new documentary.

The Brainwashing of My Dad opens this week in limited release. My review is at Film Journal International:

Presenting itself as a Chomsky-esque takedown of a well-oiled propaganda machine, Jen Senko’s The Brainwashing of My Dad defines itself as “a story about a media phenomenon that changed a father and divided a nation.” The phenomenon Senko’s referring to is the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that Hillary Clinton identified back in 1998, after years of unhinged assaults on her and Bill by a well-funded network of conservative magazines, columnists, TV personalities and talk-radio hosts. It’s a conspiracy that Senko knows quite well, having watched her father turn from a “nonpolitical Kennedy Democrat,” the kind who would give a homeless black man money while calling him “Sir,” into the sort of splenetic crank who rants about “feminazis” and how the liberals are destroying America…

Here’s the trailer:

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