Here! cabler is voting for ‘President’

Channel to preem pol doc

WASHINGTON — The gay-and-lesbian-themed premium channel Here! will announce today the world television premiere of “The Hunting of the President,” the 2004 documentary alleging a vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.

Paul Colichman — the doc’s distributor as well as CEO and founder of Here! — told Daily Variety he decided to air “Hunting” on his own channel because he had almost no other choice.

“It’s my responsibility to get my producers as much money and exposure as possible,” he said. “So I shopped it around to all the usual network suspects, but they didn’t want anything to do with it. Their point of view was that it’s too hot to handle.”

Colichman declined to name any networks he solicited.

Based on the book of the same title by Gene Lyons and Joe Conason, doc chronicles what it claims was a decadelong effort of the radical right to bring Clinton down. But Colichman believes “Hunting” is less critical of politics and politicians than of the media.

Media ‘look bad’

“The villains are not Republicans,” he said. “The people who really look bad in this are the media. This is about how the media allowed themselves to be manipulated, and how they use innuendo and gossip to shape the agendas of their TV and radio stations.”

Some reporters who covered Whitewater and related sexual scandals admit in the film to having been played.

Colichman said they worked for some of the networks he approached.

“On the surface, something like this is not a direct hit for a gay-and-lesbian channel,” Colichman added. “But the concept of misinformation is relevant to gays and lesbians because portrayals of gays and lesbians in the media are by and large shaped by an agenda.”

In a statement given exclusively to Here!, Clinton said: “I don’t wake up in the morning hating (former special prosecutor) Ken Starr. I wake up in the morning feeling sorry for people who believe they’re in possession of the whole truth — and that that justifies their trampling of other people.”

“Hunting” will air July 25.