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Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Apr 14, 2019

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)


Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism uses the inflammatory tactics of the Fox News Channel to demonstrate the conservative bias that's handed down by Fox's owner, media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The documentary gathers interviews from media watchdogs and former Fox employees (including a former anchor, Jon Du Pre, who describes his flailing efforts to create a celebration for Reagan's birthday when the one he was sent to cover never materialized), but their overwhelming condemnation of Fox's skewed news practices isn't half as effective as footage taken directly from Fox itself--an appalling montage of pundit Bill O'Reilly telling guests to shut up.

While the Fox News cable network has promoted itself as a "fair and balanced" news outlet -- so much so that they've even trademarked the phrase -- not everyone believes that they're living up to their slogan, and this activist documentary by filmmaker Robert Greenwald takes a close look at the political perspective of Fox's coverage. Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism examines the right-wing slant of Fox News' reporting, as represented in stories the network chooses to cover and their shoehorning of editorial opinion into stories, revealed in interviews with former Fox employees and several noted journalists (including Walter Cronkite) who discuss the pro-conservative, anti-Democratic views of the channel's management and how they're manifested in their programming. The film also puts talk show host Bill O'Reilly under the microscope and offers potent examples of his frequently abrasive interviewing style. Production of Outfoxed was supported in part by the leftist political action network Moveon.org.

The Panama Deception (1992)


Years before the US went after Saddam Hussein, the White House had Manuel Noriega, another former ally, in its sights.

In their Oscar-winning documentary, director Barbara Trent and writer/editor David Kasper (Cover Up: Behind the Iran Contra Affair) contrast media coverage of the 1989 invasion with expert testimony.

The filmmakers backtrack to America's turn-of-the-century takeover of the Panama Canal--and volatile aftermath--before flashing forward to the reform-minded Carter era. When the CIA-supported Noriega comes to power, reform gives way to repression, and Reagan calls for the dictator's ouster.

His successor, Bush, brings in the troops. It would be one thing if they only targeted military facilities, but witnesses claim soldiers also fired on civilians and residential property (a Pentagon spokesman denies the accusation).

Depending on the source, casualties ranged from 250 to 4,000. Narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery, Panama Deception was shot on video--and looks it--but content is king.

The War Room (1993)


A look inside the 1992 presidential race, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hedgus' documentary The War Room explores the backstage side of national politics by examining the day-to-day operations of Bill Clinton's campaign staff. The behind-the-scenes leader of the group is James Carville, the demonstrative, charismatic campaign manager who relies on a plain-speaking manner and emotional appeals to motivate his subordinates. He is complemented by the quieter, smoother personality and photogenic looks of young press spokesman George Stephanopoulous. The filmmakers follow these two contrasting personalities from the January New Hampshire primary to Clinton's eventual victory, as they attempt to cling to an overall strategic plan while dealing with unforeseen problems and negative press, as their candidate is saddled with accusations of adultery and draft-dodging. Subplots include the rivalries between Democratic campaign staffs -- which can become amusingly petty, as when they accuse each other of tearing down campaign posters -- and the romantic relationship between Carville and Mary Matalin, chief strategist for George Bush's campaign. Co-director D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop, Don't Look Back, Primary) is renowned as an innovator in the use of cinema-verite, used here to show both the mundane complications and the emotional highlights of the modern political process.

The Men Who Killed Kennedy (1988)


This artfully constructed series offers chilling evidence that American democracy has become a convenient lie; that a conspiratorial coup d'├ętat removed a sitting president and then hid that fact from the American people.

This sounds like the stuff of wild-eyed paranoia, but these filmmakers did their homework well--interviews include levelheaded witnesses, suspicious government agents, and Dallas cops present in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.

Some of the "proof" (especially in Episode 2, "The Forces of Darkness") seems a bit far-fetched, but the sheer number of unexplained facts is riveting.

An autopsy attendant describes a procedure botched by meddling Secret Service agents. A deaf-mute eyewitness shares his recollection of uniformed men hiding a rifle and leaving the site of the assassination unchallenged.

The playlist contains all 9 episodes filmed from 1998 to 2003: The Coup D'Etat" (1988), The Forces Of Darkness (1988), The Cover-Up (1991), The Patsy (1991), The Witnesses (1991), The Truth Shall Make You Free (1995), The Smoking Guns (2003), The Love Affair (2003), The Guilty Men (2003).


Anarchism in America (1983)


A colorful and provocative survey of anarchism in America, the film attempts to dispel popular misconceptions and trace the historical development of the movement.

The film explores the movement both as a native American philosophy stemming from 19th century American traditions of individualism, and as a foreign ideology brought to America by immigrants.

The film features rare archival footage and interviews with significant personalities in anarchist history including Murray Boochkin and Karl Hess, and also live performance footage of the Dead Kennedys.


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