Recount Movie Review of Bias and Events

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Although Recount, Argo, and Lincoln are all Hollywood movies based on historical events or individuals, Recount specifically demonstrates the positive impact of portraying real events rather than fiction. While it may have flaws in its writing, sacrificing some aspects of the complete truth is sometimes necessary to appeal to a wider audience. This challenge is also faced by movies like Argo, which I have watched, as they must embellish characters and omit crucial facts.

Movies frequently distort the truth to engage a broad audience, as it has been consistently proven that films lacking entertainment value tend to generate lower revenue compared to those that do. Audiences have a strong desire for compelling protagonists and antagonists to rally against. Filmmakers merely respond to viewers’ demands, and should not be held responsible for creating movies that sacrifice accuracy. While the evident bias in Argo, which portrays Iranians negatively and only presents the American perspective, could be extensively discussed, this essay will abstain from doing so.

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I utilize Argo as a journalistic tool to offer a different perspective on American movies. It would be unfair to claim that Recount was biased without providing the context for the current state of “real-life” movies. Essentially, it should come as no surprise that Recount presented the events of the 2000 election in the manner it did. It would not be entirely untrue to say that Recount covered most of the major issues that arose during that election. These included the Butterfly ballot, hanging and dimpled chads, Katherine Harris, and Vice Presidential candidate Lieberman (whom I will discuss further later on). Additionally, the movie touched upon the involvement of US and Florida courts making rulings based on political preference, individuals being denied at voting booths, premature reporting of results by the media, and the controversy surrounding hand recounts. These issues as a whole demonstrate the inability of the American government to conduct a fair and transparent election. The misalignment of the butterfly ballot, which was developed by a Democrat, is considered a significant factor in many older or less educated voters unintentionally voting for Pat Buchanan due to confusion.

The ballot had Gore on one side and Buchanan on the other, with lines separating each box. It is reported that many voters misread the ballot and mistakenly followed the lines between candidates instead of the arrow pointing to the intended candidate. In my opinion, this is one of the most biased and unfair reporting cases in the movie. The reason is that Bush also has a line pointing towards the Buchanan hole. Unlike the movie’s portrayal, I believe that a person would be more inclined to follow the line below the candidate rather than the one above.

The movie disregards this aspect of the narrative and misleads viewers into thinking that all people who mistakenly voted for Buchanan were actually planning to vote for the Democrat. Furthermore, the film addresses the topic of dimpled and hanging chads. A chad refers to the piece of paper that is meant to be detached when a voter punches a hole. The movie persuades the audience that dimpled chads ought to be included in the vote count, while those opposing the inclusion of dimpled chads were portrayed as Republican extremists or conceited individuals.

In my view, dimpled chads are uncountable due to their immense unreliability. This is primarily because individuals tend to feel anxious when faced with significant choices, resulting in potential errors. I am convinced that there were individuals whose votes were compromised due to their inability to fully pierce through the chad. Moreover, I believe that a considerable number of people unintentionally began punching a chad but halted themselves just in time.

I would compare this situation to a student taking a multiple-choice test and initially circling an answer but later erasing it, leaving faint marks from their previous choice. Should teachers consider the original intent of the student’s answer? Definitely not. In my opinion, hanging chads are different. They should be counted because they indicate that the person made an effort to punch through, even if the chad didn’t fully detach for various reasons. If a voter mistakenly voted, they should have asked for a new ballot, and I believe almost every voter would have noticed the hole they punched. The movie portrays Katherine Harris and the Republican party in a negative light. Harris, who served as the Secretary of State for Florida, had the ultimate authority in determining which votes were counted. Realistically, Harris made some questionable decisions, but the movie portrays her as a devil who knowingly handed the election to the Republicans. In my interpretation, Harris was blinded by her political beliefs, resulting in biased and rather foolish decisions. Overall, Harris was not intelligent, and I would compare her to Sarah Palin.

Harris was criticized for her actions, including votes not being counted due to her interpretation of the law. This was depicted in the movie, with Lieberman’s comments portrayed as contributing to the election controversy by supporting overseas vote counting. Meanwhile, the main character, Ron Klein, becomes very upset about these comments.

The directors attempt to demonstrate that Lieberman was responsible for the Democrats’ downfall, however, the statement is highly hypocritical. In an unprecedented turn of events in the film, the Democrats express discontent with the counting of votes, and Lieberman’s stance on the issue is undeniably fair. I personally found Lieberman’s perspective on counting overseas votes to be favorable. It appears contradictory for the Democrats to advocate for selective vote counting if their intention is to showcase their fairness and justice in this election.

The movie distorts the issue by portraying Republicans as only wanting their votes counted, while the Democrats are focused on getting their votes counted. This one-sided portrayal damages my respect for the director’s ability to present both perspectives. Similarly, the movie highlights the flaws in the American justice system, which is heavily influenced by political preference.

The movie depicts how people’s political preferences impact the system, but none of the characters actively strive to solve this problem. The underlying idea is that individuals hesitate to initiate change when they hold power. Conversely, if they are disadvantaged, they will join protests and demonstrations until their demands are fulfilled. Moreover, when the justice system inconsistently supports or undermines them on a specific issue in different places, people tend to refrain from suggesting solutions. Regrettably, this film falls into the trap of illustrating this cycle without providing any resolutions.

The Democrats’ portrayal by the Director as fair and unbiased is undermined due to their inability to present people providing solutions instead of only complaining when it contradicts their interests. In the 2000 election, approximately 20,000 individuals were denied voting booth access because their names closely resembled or matched those of convicted felons. Many of these individuals were law-abiding citizens who merely wished to exercise their right to vote. The film objectively presents this issue without excessive distortion.

The director of this issue only shows the Democratic opinion, leaving the Republican stance to be decided by the audience. It is implied that the Republicans would be against allowing these people to vote, but in reality, they held the same view as the Democrats that these individuals should have been allowed to vote. Although this highlights issues with American elections, it is a weak effort by the director to portray the Democrats as constantly facing opposition.

The media caused a problem by prematurely reporting the results of the Florida election. Initially, they predicted that Gore would win in Florida, then changed their prediction to a Bush victory, and finally became unsure of what was happening. All of this occurred before voting polls closed in various states, especially in Florida. Unfortunately, the movie did not sufficiently address this issue, and it would have been advantageous to obtain more information about it. This situation arises because when a winner is predicted in a state before its residents finish voting, it discourages people from casting their votes. Ultimately, the important question becomes: Who is discouraged from voting due to this problem?

CNN’s declaration of Al Gore as the winner had a negative impact on his supporters, discouraging them from voting and giving hope to Bush supporters who believed the election was still ongoing. Conversely, when CNN declared Bush as the winner, it motivated Gore supporters to participate in the voting process. The exact number of individuals who refrained from voting due to the uncertainty surrounding the election outcome is unknown and will not be included here. Interestingly, I believe that Gore might have actually benefited from Bush being announced as the victor in Florida since it created an extended period during which it seemed like Bush had won (although CNN quickly rectified their prediction for Gore in Florida).

Canada has laws in place to prevent media from reporting election results before voting in the western part of the country is completed, and I believe implementing similar laws in future US elections could be very advantageous. Another concern raised is the hindrance of hand recounts, which seemed to be continuously halted by a certain government entity or court on a regular basis (as depicted in the movie). While I am still educating myself on the procedures surrounding hand recounts, my stance on the director’s ability to impartially report the facts cannot be disputed in this particular case.

The main point is that Democrats support hand recounts, while Republicans do not. This connects to several other issues addressed earlier, including Harris, biased courts, and chads. The movie portrays Democrats as the heroes in this situation, which is accurate, but it fails to provide context and specific data. I would not be complaining if the movie had presented evidence showing that hand recounts cannot be manipulated and are completely accurate.

The possible reason for the director’s omission of such numbers could be that they do not support the director’s goal of portraying the Democrats as heroic underdogs. While Recount manages to convey the fundamental elements of the election adequately, it fails miserably in presenting a fair report. It follows the typical Hollywood movie formula, as expected, but that does not mean Recount should adhere to that convention. The 2000 election has concluded, and there are valuable lessons to be extracted. The script for Recount is complete, and there are numerous areas for improvement.

As a journalist, I would welcome another film about the 2000 election that offers a more precise and neutral depiction of the events. It is crucial to acknowledge my own political inclinations while discussing the movie’s bias in an article. While I believe I approached this essay objectively, perceptions can be subjective and uncertain, making it unclear if I have truly achieved an unbiased piece.

Although I critique the biased reporting by directors in this essay, it is important to acknowledge that my perspective may align with the Republican party. This perception arises from individuals compensating for their own shortcomings. As a human being, I also possess biases. However, if given the option, I would not support the Republican party through my vote. Similarly, I would not choose Gore as a candidate within the Democratic party (although in hindsight, I might have considered him in 2000). Instead, my political stance can be categorized as centrist leaning slightly right on economic matters and slightly left on social issues.

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Recount Movie Review of Bias and Events. (2016, Dec 17). Retrieved from

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