Control Room

This documentary about coverage of the Iraq war is almost too terrifying to watch. While the U.S. media displayed a series of special-effects shots of buildings exploding at night, Al Jazeera focused on the actual dead bodies produced by these beautiful, distant explosions. Control Room looks at those images and Al Jazeera’s coverage of the war and debates the biases of the various news medias. Emerging as the central figure, and a strange voice of reason, is Lt. Josh Rushing, a communications officer who begins as a gung-ho pro-American propagandist, and then slides into a hatred of war as he sees both sides slanting the news for their own advantage. Most disturbing are the images of the dead, the talk of the justification for the war (anybody remember those weapons of mass destruction that Colin Powell assured as were there, in well-specified locations and specific quantities? Do we no longer drag liars into the street and beat them down for their sins?) and the intractability of opinion that persists in many parts of the world.

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