Retro Film Review: Control Room

The American media was hijacked by the administration so as to be used as a leverage for inducing some fear among the American public.
- Samir Khader, Al Jazeera senior producer

The crisis in Gaza has highlighted the problematic media coverage of how Israel is handling the bombings.

From New York Times:

The Foreign Press Association has been fighting for weeks to get its members into Gaza, first appealing to senior government officials and ultimately taking its case to the country’s highest court. Last week the justices worked out an arrangement with the organization whereby small groups would be permitted into Gaza when it was deemed safe enough for the crossings to be opened for other reasons.

So far, every time the border has been opened, journalists have not been permitted to go in.

On Tuesday, the press association released a statement saying, “The unprecedented denial of access to Gaza for the world’s media amounts to a severe violation of press freedom and puts the state of Israel in the company of a handful of regimes around the world which regularly keep journalists from doing their jobs.”

I just so happen to get from Netflix the great 2004 film, Control Room, which documents the controversial Qatar-based television news service Al-Jazeera and it's coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Launched in 1996, Al-Jazeera broadcasts the war in Iraq to approximately 40 million Arabs. Since then, it has become a punching bag for both Arab governments and the Bush Administration, which has repeatedly called the network "the mouthpiece of Osama bin Laden."

The network gained its reputation for blatant reporting and uncensored images of dead Iraqi civilians. In the film you can see how the Bush administration tried to control what was getting out to the media, including the infamous "playing cards" incident.

I think Barack Obama should force US cable news networks to start broadcasting the "real war."

Could you image if CNN or Fox News started showing images of the dead on a regular basis? The war would end immediately.

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