There are examinations of two powerful American figures this week, beginning with John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls (SoHo2, Sky 210, Saturday, 8.30pm), an uncritical film about the senator and war hero who unleashed Sarah Palin on the world.
McCain was filmed not long before his death in August and director Peter Kunhardt (who produced The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee for HBO) puts this footage together with a history of his life, including his military service and his five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
The doco paints McCain as a hero and a maverick who voted against the current administration on matters of principle, but generally does not make any analysis of his political record.
The Clinton Affair (History, Sky 073, Tuesday, 8.30pm) revisits, in six episodes, the scandal that nearly led to President
Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Central to the doco are interviews with Monica
Lewinsky, whose relationship with Clinton created a furore in 1998, and Paula Jones, who was suing Clinton for sexual harassment.
For Lewinsky, it seems it has taken 20 years and the #MeToo movement to be heard, writing in Vanity Fair, “power throws a protective cape around the shoulders of the man, and he dictates the spin by denigrating the less powerful woman”.
John McCain: For Whomthe Bell Tolls, Saturday