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TV Column
Posted at 06:37 PM ET, 01/04/2013

NatGeo’s ‘Killing Lincoln’ producer says John Wilkes Booth ‘could be the poster child for the Tea Party’

John Wilkes Booth “could be the poster child for the Tea Party,” NatGeo’s “Killing Lincoln” exec producer Erik Jendresen told shocked TV critics attending Winter TV Press Tour 2013.


Actors Billy Campbell, Jesse Johnson, Geraldine Hughes, Graham Beckel, and Writer/Producer Erik Jendresen speak onstage. (Frederick M. Brown - GETTY IMAGES)
Booth was not mad and his views were, in fact, pretty common when he assassinated Lincoln, Jendresen said Friday.

“This is not the act of somebody who can easily be dismissed as a psychopath, so that it’s easy to understand — ‘Oh well, he was crazy.’ This is a man who believed what still probably 20 percent of this country still believes.”

“Killing Lincoln,” a two-hour special, is an adaptation of the book of the same name written by Fox News Channel Bill O’Reilly. NatGeo channel is a co-venture of NatGeo and another division of FNC-parent NewsCorp. called Fox Cable Networks.

Understandably, TV critics wondered what O’Reilly thought about the exec producers’s comment. Sadly, O’Reilly was not in attendance. So they asked Jendresen .

“I can’t speak for Mr. O’Reilly,” he said, accurately.

“If you look at the politics of the time, and the epithets that were being hurled at Lincoln, there is a feeling in the nation that is not dissimilar” to the past four years of Barack Obama’s presidency – the idea today of this imperial presidency . . . [of] somebody who is essentially going to declare himself king and take over,” he continued.

“It’s stunning to me to read some of the newspaper articles 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 dialect of today.”


Writer/Producer Erik Jendresen. (Frederick M. Brown - GETTY IMAGES)

By  |  06:37 PM ET, 01/04/2013

 
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