by Ryan Meehan
Anthony L. Fisher is a producer at Reason TV. A NYC-based filmmaker and graduate of Emerson College, his short films have been featured on the Sundance Channel, Comedy Central, Salon, Funny or Die, Shorts TV, and at numerous film festivals around the world. Prior to joining Reason TV, he was awarded film fellowships from the Institute for Humane Studies and the Moving Pictures Institute, while also spending a decade working in film and TV production. He was also kind enough to be our guest today in an extended version of 5 questions.
RM: How do you think that Obama is doing overall as our president? Do you think that maybe expectations were set too high for him when he originally entered office?
ALF: I have been tremendously disappointed with President Obama. Some people might have set expectations too high, but all I hoped was that he would be true to his word regarding executive branch transparency, civil liberties, the drug war, and staying out of “dumb wars.” Instead, we got the most secretive administration ever, one that has gone after whistleblowers and the press with unprecedented zeal; unaccountable spying on Americans; more federal raids on legal medical marijuana dispensaries than ever; an Afghanistan quagmire, Benghazi, and the brink of war with Syria.
RM: Why do you think that the online era of video technology is becoming so crucial to politics? In an aspect of life that doesn’t particularly involve a whole lot of truth, why do you think that more politicians aren’t aware that everything that they say and do could end up online?
ALF: Politicians generally follow, not lead, so it’s not surprising that they’re behind the times regarding technological and social advancements. The fact that Sen. John McCain was caught playing video poker on his IPhone during Congressional hearings about going to war with Syria justifies the invention of the camera phone. The photo of a bored Senator, who desperately wanted to be president, should be prominently displayed in every civics class in this country.
RM: I saw this piece you did on Chris Christie back during the first week of September. http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/09/05/chris-christie-vs-parents-of-sick-2-year Do you think that a lot of the anti-marijuana people are the way they are due to the stigma of it being a “drug” in the first place? And how much of the overall vehicle that is the “war on drugs” is due to the view of marijuana as a gateway drug?
ALF: There is no question that the stigmatization of marijuana stems from its classification as a Schedule 1 narcotic. To put that into context, the federal government sees it as having no therapeutic value and a high probability of abuse. That is simply incorrect, and there is no shortage of data to prove it.
The whole “gateway drug” argument is also based on bad science and decades-old racist fearmongering. But if we want to talk about gateway drugs, perhaps a national conversation is in order about how many high school kids are on methamphetamine a.k.a. Adderall.
RM: What is the one thing you want people to retain most from your work? Has that changed since you started working for Reason.tv?
ALF: I want viewers who are sympathetic to Reason’s libertarian viewpoint to challenge their own beliefs by hearing intelligent counterarguments, which is why I always try to allow for a thorough airing of opinions on complicated issues.
I also like throwing the standard Democrat/Republican “whose side are you on?” conventional wisdom for a loop. “The Great Gibson Guitar Raid” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5IYGroW1nA) is a good example of this.
RM: Do you have any plans to be on “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld” again in the near future? What was the best thing about your whole experience of being on that show?
ALF: I love doing “Red Eye” and they seem to think I’m alright. I particularly enjoy when the discussion inevitably evolves into a free-for-all, and seeing the best in snark reveal itself among the panelists. Sarcasm is a wonderful thing.
RM: Please tell me a specific answer to this question that I am waiting so badly to hear: Are we finally through hearing about Anthony Weiner?
ALF: Weiner will never raise another dime for a political campaign, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he got a show on MSNBC. Perhaps he’ll start out by filling in for Alec Baldwin.
RM: What’s next for Anthony Fisher and Reason.tv in the remainder of 2013 and into 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
ALF: I’m working on a long-term documentary project about police shootings (that is shootings BY police), and I will always be covering my favored beats: the drug war, free speech, and the New York City nanny state. The post-Bloomberg era should be as interesting and infuriating as its predecessor.
I also directed my first feature film this year, the comedy-drama “Sidewalk Traffic,” starring Johnny Hopkins, Erin Darke, Samm Levine, Heather Matarazzo, Kurt Loder, Dave Hill, and Tom Shillue. Look for it to make run at the film festivals in early 2014.
Anthony’s Profile at Reason.tv: http://reason.com/people/anthony-l-fisher/all
Anthony on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anthonylawrencefisher
Anthony on Twitter: https://twitter.com/anthonylfisher
My website: http://anthonylfisher.com
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