Nat Geo Producer: John Wilkes Booth Poster Child For Tea Party
January 8, 2013 by Sam Rolley
Promoting an upcoming television movie based on Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Lincoln,” National Geographic Executive Producer Erik Jendresen said that he believes infamous assassin John Wilkes Booth “could be the poster child for the Tea Party.”
Jendresen stressed that Booth did not kill President Abraham Lincoln in an act of random madness, but for political reasons. Booth, a member of the anti-immigrant “Know-Nothing” political party, held political beliefs that were fairly common for the period. Jendresen said that the views are still popular with a number of Americans today, namely members of the Tea Party.
“This is not the act of somebody who can be easily dismissed as a psychopath so that it’s easy to understand: ‘Oh, well, he was crazy.’ No. It’s more disturbing to find out who Booth was,” Jendresen said, according to The Wrap. “This is a man who believed what still probably 20 percent of this country still believes. He could be a poster child for the Tea Party.”
Jendresen later continued, “I think that if you look at the sort of politics of the time, and a lot of the epithets that were being hurled at Lincoln, there was a feeling in the nation that’s not dissimilar from what we’ve experienced in the past four years in response to Barack Obama – the sense of an imperial presidency or soundbytes about somebody who’s going to proclaim himself king and take over.
“It’s stunning to me to read some of the newspaper articles and some of the interviews of the time, some of the contents of the letters and memoirs from the time and some of the things that were thought about Lincoln in the South are so similar to … the dialogue today.”
National Geographic drew criticism from many Republicans and Tea Party members when it aired the film “Seal Team Six,” which highlighted President Obama’s role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, two days before the Presidential election.