September 11, 2005

Weapons of Mass Deception

I just saw a great documentary on IFC that I just had to tell all of you about. It's a film by Danny Schechter called WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception, and it explores the media's role in shaping public perceptions of the Iraq war and questions whether the media has acted professionally or responsibly since 9/11/01. While the film often leaves you wondering about the data behind some of the filmmaker's own declarative statements, clips of the news coverage and interviews with government media strategists, foreign journalists, American reporters (I don't consider most contemporary US reporters to be "journalists") and media executives offer a lot of insight into how the media might have played a role in solidifying public support for the war, marginalizing minority views and unwittingly(?) aiding in the mass deception of the American public.

How could this happen? Why would the media do such a thing? Basically, Schechter's film confirms the belief I developed while studying the media at Cal: American media now treats information as a product to be produced quickly and efficiently, marketed, sexed-up, and to outsell the competitors' products. Whether this means reporting White House or DNC press releases verbatim to not be outdone by your competitor, or pussyfooting around the issues to avoid condemnation by the patriotism police or having your life-line of government-granted access revoked, information as product inherently moves the focus away from analyzing information and toward simply immediately presenting whatever you're given that will "sell well" and not risk cutting off your information supply. Some may agree with that and some may not, but either way, I think this WMD movie is really, really worth watching. I'm not sure if/when IFC is showing it again, but you can get the DVD or the book that inspired the film.

Aaron showed me this awesome piece of lawn art today; it makes me want to go out and buy a house just so I can display, in yet another way, my disdain for Mr. Bush's irresponsible use of public funds and American power...

0) $paginate_current_page = 0; $paginate_sections = array( 0 ); $paginate_top_section = $paginate_sections[$paginate_current_page-1]+1; $paginate_bottom_section = $paginate_sections[$paginate_current_page]; } else { $paginate_top_section = 1; $paginate_bottom_section = 0; } $paginate_self = '&' . $_SERVER['QUERY_STRING'] . '&'; $paginate_self = preg_replace("/&page=[^&]*&/", "&", $paginate_self); $paginate_self = substr($paginate_self, 1, strlen($paginate_self) - 1); if($paginate_self == '&') $paginate_self = ''; else $paginate_self = htmlentities($paginate_self); $paginate_self = basename($_SERVER['PHP_SELF']) . "?${paginate_self}page"; ?> Posted by Kristina at September 11, 2005 08:55 PM

I saw this movie! It was great, especially in the way it showed the media regurgitating the White House version of the truth. We got duped into a war in Iraq and so many people are suffering for it. It seems that every age has it's tragedy and it takes a society decades to be able to look back and recognize it's mistakes. Except the U.S. doesn't seem to learn from past mistakes. We're forever falling short of our ideals, without the honest self-assessment and resolve to change.

Posted by: Cody at September 17, 2005 10:22 PM

Posted by: tori at February 23, 2006 02:54 PM