Saturday, October 01, 2005

MOVIE PREVIEW: Orwell Rolls in his Grave -- to be shown later in the semester

Issues in Journalism students:

We'll be showing this film sometime in the next few weeks. it is 103 minutes long, so we'll either have to start class at 7:30 a.m. one morning, or have an evening session. In preparation for view the film, please read and link to some of the pages below. This will give you some context for the folks interviewed in the film.

"Orwell Rolls In His Grave" is an independent documentary, directed by Robert Kane Pappas, which explores the impact of media consolidation in the United States into the hands of larger and larger corporations. The movie's premise is that these large corporations have one goal: to get larger and control the system that reports the news. Pappas argues that "big media" has aligned itself with the conservative Republican political minority and has pushed a selfish agenda in order to gain political favor and build fortunes. He punctuates interviews with media figures with quotes and phrases from George Orwell's political novel, "1984."

Author: intnsred (intnsred) from Great North Woods, New England

"The film is done in a calm, non-ranting,informative manner primarily via interviews with journalists. Many points about the corporate domination of the corporate mass media are brought out well; the citing of GE Inc.'s top management interfering with NBC news is one case in point. The portrayal of the media industry itself as a political "special interest" similar to the tobacco lobby or other traditional special interest is both insightful and strong. The film also does an adequate job of painting the change in "ethics" of government officials over the years, and gives a few citations to support its point.

"If there is a knock, it's that the film covers a vast amount of points and therefore cannot go in depth unless you want to watch a ninety-hour documentary. This is not a big knock -- it seems that one goal of the film
is to try to tie many disparate issues and trends together to paint the big picture, which is something our regular mass media simply does not do.

"Despite it not being a focus of the film, the film brings out the class gap (aka the growing gap between the rich and poor) and issues of Americans working long hours. This is done in a way related to media self-censorship
but I'm always surprised when this issue rears its head -- simply because reporting about it is so very rare in the mainstream press. The film gives a few stats but its message that the poor are poorer now than a couple of
decades ago and the rich are much, much richer comes through well; it notes the current gov'ts solution to this problem is a tax cut for the rich stands out starkly in its plain-face absurdity. While there was a few of
those conventional-wisdom-turned-upside-down moments in the film, that one stood out."

Principal sources interviewed in the documentary film: "Orwell Rolls in His
Grave," by Robert Kane Pappas:

Mark Crispin Miller
Professor, Media Studies, New York University
director, Project on Media Ownership

Danny Schechter
former CNN and ABC News producer
Founder and executive editor,

Bernie Sanders
U.S. congressman, Vermont

Charles Lewis
Center for Public Integrity

Robert McChesney
Professor of Communications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Vincent Bugliosi
Legal Scholar, successfully prosected Charles Manson
Author: "The Betrayal of America" about the Supreme Court's 2004 decision in Bush v. Gore

Tony Benn
Former member of British Parliament

Gregg Palast
reporter, BBC News, author of the book: "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy."

Michael Moore

Aurora Wallace
Professor of Communications, New York University
Among her specialties: Crime and the media; she is working on a book about newspapers as the agent of change in communities, towns, regions and the nation.

Jeff Cohen,
Founder of FAIR -- former MSNBC Producer

Jeff Chester
Center for Digital Democracy

John Nichols
Washington editor, The Nation; associate editor, The Capital Times
(Madison, Wis.)

Mark Lloyd
Fellow, Center for American Progress, formerly visiting media professor at
MIT, and former NBC and CNN reporter

Michael Copps, Democrat
Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
(one of five commissioners; by law three are president's party; two the other party

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