“I don’t ask for permission. I think anytime you have to ask for permission your project is doomed.”
—-Alexandra Pelosi, political documentary film-maker (and daughter of you-know-who), speaking about her embrace of the unethical philosophy, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission,” or in her version, “It’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” Pelosi employed a bait-and switch ruse to made former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreavey the subject of her latest documentary.
Mother taught her well…
If Pelosi is correct, then she is in an inherently unethical profession, and shameless about it. If Pelosi is correct, then all documentary film-makers are indistinguishable from other manipulative deceivers like Sasha Baron Cohen, James O’Keefe, Michael Moore, and her. She is not correct, however. There are many celebrated, honest, straightforward documentary makers who get proper permission from subjects before they put them on camera, respecting their autonomy and privacy and engaging with them fairly. The fact that Pelosi sees no need for this tells us all we need to know about her documentaries. She believes that the ends justify the means, so she can’t be trusted. She will employ chicanery, deception, and lies in order to make a commercially viable film, which will be worth approximately as much, from a documentation standpoint, as her word: nothing.
The context of Pelosi’s smug endorsement of deception as her SOP was the description of how she filmed McGreavey in his new life since resigning as governor and announcing that he was gay. Pelosi persuaded McGreevey to let her follow him around, but not to make a documentary, which McGreevey’s partner, Mark O’Donnell, opposed. Pelosi told Politico, “I don’t think he thought I was making a movie. I think he thought I was just hanging around.” Then, after the documentary was completed, Pelosi says she told her unwitting and deceived star, “You have a choice. You can support the bigger picture of what the movie is trying to say, which is about the theme of redemption and second acts, or you can not sign a release and this film will go to waste.” McGreevey should have said, of course, “Go to hell. You lied to me. You won’t have my release, and if you show it to anyone, I’ll sue you right back to living in your mother’s house.” Pelosi, however, as master con artist must, chose her victim well. Though “he was not happy,” McGreevey signed the release. Continue reading