Thought-provoking documentary on war propaganda: how governments manipulate the facts and how most media let them get away with it. WWI, Vietnam War, post-2001 Afghanistan, post-2003 Iraq, Palestine: a historical account of PR, embedded journalism, lies and cover-ups, but also of courageous journalists who disclose the truth.Written by
Embarrassed to have never heard of John Pilger before today, but I thought this was great, and am gladly going to seek out all his other documentaries that I can get my hands on.
You do have to get past the presentation, because while it's feature length (and content-wise much more informative than many movie length documentaries), it's not really presented in a particularly cinematic way. I didn't mind this once I adjusted to the style, because the arguments and interviews and statistics were more than compelling enough. I only mention it as one of the only potential negatives with the overall documentary (oh and a little unfair putting The Deer Hunter and The Green Berets in the same boat. The former probably can't be viewed as propaganda exactly, but the point about it honing in on the American perspective and framing them as the victims was eye-opening and honestly a good point).
I love how straightforward Pilger is, I love his interview style, and I love the fact that he does interview people on both sides. Overall he strikes me as an incredibly intelligent guy who can nonetheless break down complex issues and explain them in ways that are straightforward and easy to digest, even if you're not particularly knowledgeable about what he's covering.
It covers conflicts from years long past, but its central message about the media's potential to manipulate the presentation of war is still relevant, and unfortunately is likely to remain so indefinitely.
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