Documentary about the 40-day occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Burns, Oregon. Fuelled by the belief that control and management of public lands does not ...
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Documentary about the 40-day occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Burns, Oregon. Fuelled by the belief that control and management of public lands does not belong with the federal government, Ammon Bundy leads a group of armed militants in a stand-off with law enforcement from January 2 to February 11, 2016.
For a documentary that is overwhelmingly composed of footage and interviews with the occupiers, the "journalist" analysis interviews interspersed throughout and given extra time at the end, as well as the voice over conclusions, are remarkably biased against the occupiers' point of view. In fact, they are 100% antagonistic to the occupiers and their cause, including misrepresenting them at times.
Moreover, the dramatic statements at the end of the film pointedly directed at President Trump and his supporters are not only jarringly out of place, but serve as a very clear statement of the filmmakers' true intent with this piece. Which is a shame, because the incident itself is quite interesting, and the documentary crew got some really great access.
Given all that, it's impossible not to look back through the documentary and assume that the filmmakers chose the craziest and most inflammatory statements of the occupiers in order to paint them in the worst possible light, while excluding whatever footage they thought might reflect well on the occupiers.
While I don't personally agree with the occupiers' actions or believe they ever had any hope of achieving much, and place 100% of the blame for the one man who died on that man himself (not to mention endangering the lives of his family), it would have been nice to see some unbiased interviews and footage from people who didn't go into the project with an obvious agenda to demonize the occupiers.
This subject has been given particular relevance in light of the recent (2020) "occupations" of public, federal, and private property, often armed and also often violent, unlike this group. (For a prominent example see the Seattle CHOP.) This group managed to last several weeks with zero acts of violence in their occupied zone, zero crimes against persons, and the only destruction of property was principled protest against government policy (still a crime). Contrast that with any of the 2020 occupations and the differences could not be more striking, and yet the media coverage of the incidents was completely inverse, treating this incident like a terror cell and the 2020 occupiers as legitimate protest. Obviously it is not the actions they find objectionable, but the actors.
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