A journalist’s investigation into the media’s role

Awareness Film night

On Wednesday, March 9 Awareness Film Night will present British journalist and filmmaker John Pilger’s 2010 documentary  The War You Don’t See, a powerful and timely investigation into the media’s role in war.  The film begins with WW1, then introduces us to Edward Bernays, who coined the term “public relations” and wrote a book in 1928 called Propaganda that taught about “the intelligent manipulation of the masses.” It then proceeds through Hiroshima, Vietnam, where Pilger was a young reporter, to Iraq and Afghanistan with their “embedded” reporters and mythological weapons of mass destruction. Pilger, in his trade-mark hard-hitting, unrelenting style interviews a prominent BBC reporter and BBC head of newsgathering, newspaper journalist David Rose, a U.S. State Department official, TV news anchor Dan Rather and a witty Julian Assange.Lee Cassanell, a movie reviewer for Cine-Vue gave the film five stars and added, “I’m not going to review John Pilger’s The War You Don’t See. It’s beyond critique and, to be honest, it’s had such a profound effect on me that at the moment my role as a film reviewer seems shallow and ridiculous.”  And John Pilger passionately concludes, “We journalists…have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else’s country… That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear.”  He regards eye-witness as the essence of good journalism. He has been a foreign correspondent and a front-line war reporter, beginning with the Vietnam war in 1967. He is an impassioned critic of foreign military and economic adventures by Western governments.“It is too easy,” he says, “for Western journalists to see humanity in terms of its usefulness to ‘our’ interests and to follow government agendas that ordain good and bad tyrants, worthy and unworthy victims and present ‘our’ policies as always benign when the opposite is usually true. It’s the journalist’s job, first of all, to look in the mirror of his own society.”This thorough and candid documentary will be screened March 9 at the Edward Milne Community School theatre at 7 p.m.  Admission is by donation.

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