Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Yet more on propaganda films

Since we're on the subject, here's some more:

Uncovered: The War On Ira/q
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism

Both Directed by
Robert Greenwald

MoveOn.com was founded during the Monica crisis in order to get the country to do what it’s name said. Move on. It wanted Congress to censure then-President Bill Clinton for the crime of…well, you know….it almost went out of business, and had Al Gore managed to officially win Florida it would have.

But as we all know, that didn’t happen and MoveOn.com went ahead with a new purpose: Bringing back democracy to the United States and bringing down the semi-legitimate Bush administration.. So far so good.

We’re in an election year, and as a "571" exemption organization to the McCain-Feingold law, it’s main job is as a propaganda organization, producing commercials and documentaries. For two of them, they hired Robert Greenwald, who’s an old hand at this (he did a really good biopic on the life of Abbe Hoffman a few years back), to create some propaganda films.

With the success of Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 911" It’s been decided that instead of having them sent out on DVD and shown in private homes, these will come out in theaters as well and maybe make some of their money back as a plus.

The concept of "objectivity" in journalism is relatively new. Prior to the 1950s and TV’s evening news, the only real objectivity in journalism was in the sports scores. If the Yanks beat the Red Sox 7 to 2 how could any newspaper say otherwise? [Commentary is something else, a few years back, one Japanese TV network had two commentators for sports broadcasts, one rooting for each team]

Slightly over a century ago, the US got into what’s known as the Spanish-American War primarily in order to sell newspapers. You look anywhere in the world and you’ll find that only a few newspapers are truly objective and most of them are here in the ’States. Which brings us to Greenway’s first film: "Outfoxed."

The only real lie Rupert Murdoch told about Fox is that it would be fair and balanced. It’s not and never has been. It has an agenda, it’s conservative, and when it covers such things as hurricanes or the sex lives of pop divas, it’s rather good. However, that’s not what Greenway and the people of MoveOn.com are so angry at. What they’re angry at is that Fox hasn’t been put out of business by government action.

Greenway goes over the usual suspects, Sean Hannety, Bill O’Reilly, Laurie Dhu et al come across as well, the nasty ideologues they are. They’re commentators after all and they’re opinions aren’t ALWAYS wrong,

There’s little that’s revelatory. There’s the thing about the memo of the day directing the path of coverage and how Ronald Reagan’s birthday was deliberately overplayed. How the left isn’t allowed to go as over the top as the conservatives are. But so what? Everyone knows what Fox is. That’s why they’re as popular as they are.

Also, they’re on CABLE. That means they don’t have to deal with the FCC.
If you don’t like Fox change the channel to MSNBC, CNN or CBC Newsworld [which is available here in New York] We don’t need to "stop" them.

Greenway’s second opus for MoveOn is "Uncovered" which is a bunch of military experts going on how the Bush administration "lied" about the situation in Iraq in order to invade. Here nothing is revelatory either. We botched the occupation. Horrible but true. We were never going to get any support from France and Germany anyway or from any of the Islamic countries. We alienated pretty much everyone by insisting on striking back after 9/11. The world press was against us by Sept. 15th.

The film is propaganda. It’s not supposed to be fair and balanced. The people who’ve made this film want America to vote for Kerry in the fall. I will, but don’t try to say that these films have anything to do with objective truth….

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