WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception focuses on how the media mistakenly shaped people’s views of the Iraq War through their intense coverage from the war’s inception through February 2004. It is not about the War in Iraq itself but the mainstream media’s coverage of the war, with much of the blame for the misinformation falling at the feet of the major networks and their reporting. The pictures and facts about the war are excellent ones that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Independent investigative reporter and filmmaker Danny Schechter’s documentary examines provocative theories such as the Pentagon’s involvement in media messages, how new methods such as satellites and embedded journalists distorted media coverage, and the competition between media outlets. Finally a documentary that states the plain truth. It’s been well known that the American Media which is controlled by a small group of people from New York distorts the news for political and business interests. Schechter gives us a lot of information on how the media was manipulated and how they manipulated public opinion. This film shows some of the major problems with our news today, with countless examples of how our media is failing you and me. It follows coverage as the case for war was built. It shows how the mainstream media was deceived, misled, and how the media went along with the Bush administration into this war without even questioning why they were going in. And when reporters like Phil Donahue of MSNBC did question the war, they were fired. It shows how the media failed to do their job and report objectively and instead essentially became cheerleads for the war. Then the film follows the coverage of the war itself and how the media was manipulated and the American people misinformed. It also goes into what it deems the “Fox Effect”– which is to say the general shift to the right and alignment of power due to Fox News and media consolidation. In apprising us of the role media plays in molding public opinion, both stateside and worldwide, this film explores the machinations of this media industrial complex. There are no really big surprises in this documentary except one, the most egregious one of all — that the interviewed journalists, reporters and their respective news outlets admit to collusion with the authorities. Wittingly and unwittingly they’ve chosen to become the obedient servants to those powers — White House, Pentagon, State Department — that have set the agenda and encouraged embedding to ensure media coverage gets the maximum drama. Those unwilling to follow the jingoist script will have their credentials revoked, and thus their honorific title “War Correspondent”. They may also be branded “unpatriotic” — not a good accusation during wartime. Media masters write and dictate the scripts. Approved-by-the-state correspondents become pawns in the production “values” of a theatrical drama, a Hollywood blockbuster. What amazes me is that after the media went in full steam, years later after the fact they said they did the wrong thing. Even Bill O’ Reilly said he was wrong about the WMD’s in Iraq. It shows how the reporters covering the war were gung ho with the military and were embedded with them. The military knew that if they could get the press on board they would have control of them, and they did. I enjoyed this documentary, but why does its point come as a surprise to anyone? America has arrived at 1984 complete with a Ministry of Information and Thought Control. The press was hijacked with little effort by the administration, which has lead to the disastrous results we all know today. And it will happen again. As long as Americans are mostly comfortable and able to get a digestible version of world events without having to question their beliefs, this will be the result. I feel that most Americans become so accustomed to the style of current coverage that oftentimes there is a disconnect regarding the entertainment aspects and uncritical or biased nature of the commentary. In my opinion this is all connected to the end result: dumbed-down Americans thinking what they’re told to think over their can of Budweiser. Have doubts? Don’t worry, tune in to Fox News and let them tell you what to think. Great documentary on what we knew all along — well, some of us who did not fall for the Bushonian propaganda. In college I learned that in order to see what is going on in the USA, one has to read and watch foreign media, and this drove it home yet again. This documentary sums up the reasons why I read international newspapers to find out what’s really going on in America the “Great.” This movie still holds up after a few years have gone by, because you can ask yourself: Is this still going on and will it happen again? I think this film is amazing. It will appeal most to everyone interested in major network news broadcasting. I hope this is shown in journalism classes in colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and abroad. This is a no-holds-barred look at the media, and everyone should see it. Well put-together and executed. A must see. Documentary 2004 NR 90 minutes.
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