Monday, October 11, 2004

CONTROL ROOM

Whoa. I just got out of the Nickelodeon and am feeling slightly stunned.

Control Room is a movie made in the spirit Fox News-hating journalism junkies everywhere. The movie rejuvenated my sense of journalistic idealism. It made me truly believe that unbiased news is possible in our complex global community. Cough. But in truth, the movie was a pep talk. Like two hours of Pilates, it gave me a sense of strength, empowerment to incite change in the world around me and an overwhelming sense exhaustion.

The current state of media affairs is a bit shotty and we all know it.
When we finally become journalists, we are going to have to hire a lot of very intelligent people in order to solve this problem of spin. We have a lot of work to do to obtain absolute neutrality in our reporting, and it may never happen.

The movie successfully captured snapshot upon snapshot of how cultures and societies (especially those at war) clash when talking about whats happening. In the first five minutes of the movie it is made clear by a producer at Al Jazeera that any military leader worth his AK-47's knows that at the heart of any regime is good propaganda. A few penetrating posters and unceasing media dominance is the fountain of youth for any regime. Duh.

The picture did make a few (albeit cleverly embedded) suggestions for change. Take notes.

I'm sure the movie really pushed some buttons and ruffled some feathers. A stuffy conservative like my father would lead an angry mob to melt the film in its canister. However, it's poignancy remains non-negotiable. A wise man once wrote that the best defense is a good offense and I think the production crew of the movie got the point across.

As an aspiring journalist, it makes me happy to think that someone still has the balls to make a movie like Control Room and broadcast it to American audiences. Unlike Fahrenheit 9/11 it will not stir up dissent against what is happening today in the Middle East. Instead, the opinions of the people interviewed on the film are straightforward and new ideas are brought forward. An example of which is the link between the current events in Palestine and the current events in Iraq. The press officer in the movie made the astute observation that to the American public the two happenings are in no way related and may as well be on opposite ends of the world. I thought that was interesting.

My mind is racing. Seeing movies like this is really wonderful in the sense that I really feel boosted in spirit and I.Q. I'm dating an anthropology major and so much of my brain is now wrapped up in identifying ethnocentrism as it occurs. A movie like Control Room lends an hour and half to pinpoint the concept of "spin" and how sneaky it can be.

GO SEE IT!



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