View Full Version : Did anyone see "Control Room"?

07-31-2004, 01:14 AM
Seeing and




than my own is


something I


to avoid like sidewalk poop. It's

only another's shoes one ends up stepping in, after all! Believe me, I'd like

to be able


say that I look

at all the

perspectives I can,



least for a

minute or


Unfortunately, I know I

consistently fail at


project, by my own



gh staunch

conservatives -- for whom such

open perspective seeking would

be like seeking to

step on

the poop -- and people

with a misguided

faith in


integrity of Fox News are sure

to dislike Control

Room; perhaps


nt=SimSun]t is why I was really moved by


honesty of




about coverage of

the Iraq war, from


perspective of a

motley crew of Al Jazeera

journalists. To understand things

from their perspective for a moment was enlightening.

[/font]One correspondent died on

the rooftop of his

Baghdad offices after it was

struck by an American missle, while he was

reporting live.

Indeed, on

the same

day, U.S. precision bombs killed

three TV

journalists from


different Iraqi news

networks, including Al

Jazeera, while they were


their offices


the war. The

military said



hostile fire from the

Jazeera office and were merely defending


But obviously,

the timing of the

events could

not have been a coincidence. The

U.S. military was trying to send a message. The more compelling

story is


nt=SimSun]t [/font]the news

networks were being

chastised, and


prevented from




nasty face of war. The film showed

the correspondent just before he died, as well as

at his burial; his wife pleading for his colleagues to continue in their mission of journalistic

integrity. But Iraqis increasingly refused Al Jazeera

interviews afterwards; due

to fears


too would be


font=SimSun]t[/font]ed. The military information control strategy was brilliant.

To merely round up the journalists and shoot them, after all, would have caused more repercussions than solved

information control problems.

I was really


lor] by


honesty and


lor] of


journalists regarding

their jobs. As an American and a

psychologist, I

immediately recognized

their sincere passion for

democracy, freedom of information

and the power of


nt=SimSun]t[/font]h. In


nt=SimSun]t[/font] way most of them

struck me as more American in


than many American TV

journalists. They


the same

healthy cynicism, reasonableness,

humor, and

detachment all



reporters share. One of

them was a former BBC

correspondent, and the

others hailed from various other

countries, some

Western. Despite the fact that

most of them were of the Muslim faith, I really got

the sense


weren't overly



nt=SimSun]ached [/font]to any one

position or

another. Though



the views of average Iraqis,

they were



information junkies,


the same




ed their biases and

sympathy. They


to wake up

the Arab world and



to open

their minds



perspectives -- especially


benefits of democracy(!) -- as

much as anything else. They even

expressed admiration for


intelligence and

effectiveness of

the American "war propaganda

machine" -- which reportedly trucked in non-Iraqi "extras" to act as the famous "celebrating masses" the day they

pulled Saddham's statue down! They kept showing the same people from different angles in different locations in the

square waving their same white t-shirts! There were in fact no actual Baghdad residents in the Square, reported

Al Jazeera, as they were huddled in their homes, scared to death of the tanks. It was nonetheless a

great stage performance, worthy of Hollywood. Still, the

most cynical among

them admitted he'd "go work for

Fox in a

heartbeat," as his dream was to move to America and become well to

do. He said no one can win a war


t propaganda, and seemed to take a pragmatic view. Touchingly,

another senior journalist expessed


faith in

the American people and



lor=black]ion -- that America itself would surely



current ugliness being

exhibited in our foreign policy.

He sounded more


tic (in an American sense) and



this idea

than would

most Americans, perhaps due

to his naive idealism

about democracy as an

outsider. So Control Room

was also a film about the beauty of America and its ideals.

Ironically, even as Rumsfeld and Bush

were calling Al Jazeera a horrible


lor=black] propaganda machine


nt=SimSun]t[/font] needed

to be disciplined (and indeed

it was disciplined), officials

from the



Department and

Central Command


information office, who were

interviewed for the film, developed


respect for

the network through working with

them closely, even admiring their

willingness to

present all sides of an issue and

offer Americans equal airtime.

Though I, along


other Americans, have been spoon

fed the view of Donald Rumsfeld

and major Network news


nt=SimSun]t[/font] Al Jazeera is merely "Bin Laden's

mouthpiece"; I could

not help

but come away from the film


the view


nt=SimSun]t [/font]they are



the PBS we know and love on Sunday

afternoons; in a

different locale;

with a

different consumer base. Being

where they are, with various

offices throughout Iraq, no reasonable person could have



to be

just like Fox, NBC, CNN, or CBS.

In contrast, the film showed that all these major networks' main Iraq offices were located right in the middle of

the Coalition Central Command suite; next to, or across the hall from, those of various generals. You'd think all

those reporters buzzing in and out would have been in the way of military planning, but apparently not. ;) As

I said, it was an enlightening film.

07-31-2004, 07:59 AM
I've been meaning to see this

one. It's next on my list.

Thanks for the review!

07-31-2004, 08:35 AM
yep, one to go see for sure

- I'd read another review but DST's is the better one. Thanks DST!!!!

07-31-2004, 09:30 AM
This is a very subversive film for

out times. (Possibly more so than F9/11.) It makes Arabs look human.
It makes no effort to hide Al

Jazeera’s bias. (In one scene a translator gags after translating one of Rumsfelds speeches.) But it does so in a

way that exposes Western bias.
In truth “objective journalism” is just a myth but that’s no excuse for

unprofessionalism. I think that’s the strongest message coming out of “Control Room”.

07-31-2004, 02:03 PM
Its in my Netflix queue...I'm

going to move it up...nice review DST...I had also heard that the toppling of the Saddam Statue was total stage

managed propaganda from another source...Its unfortunate how many Americans dont realize how much government

disinformation they're exposed to on a daily basis. F-911 & Control Room are just scratching the surface. Free

speech & a free press have long since become anachronisms in our society...

07-31-2004, 02:21 PM
This is a very

subversive film for out times. (Possibly more so than F9/11.)
For all the right


It makes Arabs look human.
Arabs are human!!! Its attitudes like this that

creates so much animosity towards the US around the world...

It makes no effort to hide Al Jazeera’s

"How dare they counter the massive bias coming out of the maw of the US media machine"

(In one scene a translator gags after translating one of Rumsfelds speeches.)
I would

to...maybe they should show the photo op when Rumsfled was shaking Saddams hand & sucking up to him, back when

Saddam was considered more politically expedient to the interests of US foreign policy...

In truth

“objective journalism” is just a myth
Finally something I can agree with

07-31-2004, 03:49 PM
Apologies to a.k.a. if I

misunderstood your comments...I guess I should really see this flick before I go spouting off about it...

08-02-2004, 12:01 PM
This is a very

subversive film for out times. (Possibly more so than F9/11.) It makes Arabs look human.
It makes no effort to

hide Al Jazeera’s bias. (In one scene a translator gags after translating one of Rumsfelds speeches.) But it does so

in a way that exposes Western bias.
In truth “objective journalism” is just a myth but that’s no excuse for

unprofessionalism. I think that’s the strongest message coming out of “Control Room”.
I agree it's one of

the strong messages in there, though in academic journalism settings it's "old hat" to say that. You can be

balanced and fairly highlight multiple perspectives. I also agree it "fleshes out" the human side of "Arabia," and

that this is subversive for the masses whose perspective depends on seeing Arabs as half-human.

08-02-2004, 09:07 PM

heard of silencing dissent, but this is more like silencing reason:

"Rushing, a Central Command spokesman

assigned to escort the documentary makers during their time in Qatar, is among the film's most sympathetic

characters, portrayed as a thoughtful young man moved over time by the grim reality of war.

At no point is he

shown doubting the justness of the U.S. effort in Iraq, yet the film documents a budding friendship between Rushing

and Al Jazeera reporter Hassan Ibrahim, and moments on camera when Rushing is wrestling with the film's central

themes: war, bias and the Arab world's most powerful media outlet.

The Marine's role in the film turned him

into a minor celebrity among the art-house-cinema crowd. But the candid comments he made in the documentary and in

interviews after its release ran afoul of his superiors in the Marine Corps, which he now plans to



"His situation has angered many in the military public affairs community who say Rushing

has been a passionate spokesman for the U.S. armed forces and is being punished for appearing in a film that

portrays Al Jazeera — a bete noire of the Bush administration since the Sept. 11 attacks — in a positive


"Here's a guy who represents the very best of public affairs in the Marines," says a senior military

official who worked with Rushing at Central Command, speaking on condition of anonymity. "For whatever reason, it

didn't play well with some of the senior brass in the Marine Corps at Pentagon. They're losing one of their


A 14-year veteran, Rushing enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1990. After serving nine years, he

entered the University of Texas on an ROTC scholarship and earned a dual degree in classics and ancient history.

This background, Rushing's friends said, gave him a more nuanced view of the Arab world and its attitudes about the




08-02-2004, 11:45 PM

Cpt. Rushing did an almost impossible job well there -- to represent the U.S. in that film! His humanity and

genuineness saved him in my eyes, and saved the U.S. from looking totally bad in the film. He did his best to

struggle with the issues under fire -- way better than all our lying, phony, foolish, arrogant, shallow politicians

do. Damn, that sucks royally that they crucified him! :frustrate He wasn't even sprouting any liberal dogma! The

Marines should be proud of him, and decorate him for that. He fought with courage, without firing a shot; to

maintain his integrity. Who else is giving America a human face over there?? Bush's, Cheney's and Rumsfeld's

speeches to the Iraqi's on Al Jazeera were just consistently and categorically abysmal, full of

dogmatic, meaningless, patronizing, insensitive, mechanical cliches; and this guy shows 'em how it's done

-- be yourself -- be real! Why can none of our politicians figure that one out, even for a moment?!? How can they be

so dense? Isn't it logically obvious that presenting a human face and story is the only thing that consistently

works to cross cultural barriers? God help us, the Jerry Springer Nation, the nation of black and white thinking!

I want to emphasize as strongly as I can that the Marines are absolutely fucking nuts for chastizing and silencing

Cpt. Josh Rushing! :sick: Doesn't anyone have any wisdom who is running that organization?

Here we have a

patriotic American soldier that Muslims in Iraq can like and trust, due to his genuineness, thoughtfullness,

humility and compassion; who yet stays true to himself, his job and his country! This guy accomplishes what no other

American diplomat, military spokesperson or politician has done -- does the impossible -- and they make an example

of him, disown him; and punish him -- drive this 14 year veteran out of the Marines! Freaking idiots!

They disowned the most important cultural example of the image we need to portray to Arabs for the long

term! :rant:

Whatever happened to "winning the hearts and minds of the people" in Iraq!?! I guess they think

that robotic, abstract, dogmatic, rhetorical cliches, if repeated enough, will work! (e.g., "We are here to liberate

the Iraqi people!"). Winning the hearts and minds of a nation and culture unfamiliar with Democracy over to

Democracy is hard! It doesn't get any easier when their streets have filled with blood; when you are driving

tanks up and down their streets, have bombed their cities, and reduced their young male population significantly. It

requires an extremely in depth, multifaceted and nuanced approach, like a university program in citizenship, but

deeper and based in real life examples. All this is necessary but insufficient. WTF does a Donald Rumsfeld speech

do? Bush is going about this in such an intelligent way, is he not -- a way befitting his IQ -- a double

digit IQ so high it is significantly above retarded??


]) That right there was a chance to make inroads and we just blew it. Providence has given us so many opportunities

post 9/11 to redeem ourselves or enjoy support from the world, and we have squandered most all of them, like

prodigal children!

At least this film and F911 have been examples of Democracy in action. They are, ironically,

some of America's best friends abroad at this moment (not that I expect too many staunch conservatives to be

able to recognize this, unfortunately)! That type of thing, criticising your government, makes America more

attractive, not less attractive. We've got nothing to hide. The process is what makes us seem truly great, not the

content. It is easier to see this is true when we stop assuming people everywhere else are stupider than we are.

Whew! Found some optimism there! :drunk:

08-07-2004, 10:22 AM
News update:


/07/iraq.al.jazeera/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/08/07/iraq.al.jazeera/index.html)

08-07-2004, 10:26 AM
Well, not really,

but what the




08-07-2004, 10:57 AM
It's a little sick and

twisted, but one crazy way to sort of defeat something is for pop culture to absorb it. Soon, maybe there will be

punk bands wearing orange jump suits and pretending to behead each other on stage, college kids staging fake

beheadings, video games, art exhibits, and headless halloween costumes. If people become sort of numb, cynical or

maxed out on it, it's value as an automatic terror button declines somewhat. Of course, this isn't any sort of

preferred solution.

11-25-2005, 03:25 PM
Warning on Jazeera bombing report

Britain has warned media

organizations they are breaking the law if they publish details of a leaked document said to show U.S. President

George W. Bush wanted to bomb Arabic television station Al Jazeera.

The government's top lawyer warned

editors in a note after the Daily Mirror newspaper reported on Tuesday that a secret British government memo said

British Prime Minister Tony Blair had talked Bush out of bombing the broadcaster in April last year.

Several British newspapers reported the attorney general's note on Wednesday and repeated the Mirror's

allegations, which the White House said were "so outlandish" they did not merit a response. Blair's office declined

to comment.

Al Jazeera, which has repeatedly denied U.S. accusations it sides with insurgents in

Iraq, called on Britain and the United States to state quickly whether the report was accurate.

"If the report is correct then this would be both shocking and worrisome not only to Al Jazeera but to media

organizations across the world," the Qatar-based station said in a statement.

The story would

also be a shock for Qatar, a small Gulf state which cultivates good relations with Washington.

Reporters' rights groups called on the United States and Britain to promptly give clarification of the


"This is a very serious charge with grave implications for the safety of media

professionals," said Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Refusing to address

these reports in a substantive way only fuels suspicions."

Reporters Without Borders said: "We

find it hard to believe that President Bush really discussed this possibility. This would be extremely serious and

would constitute a major and unprecedented violation of the right to information.

"If this report

turns out to be true, it offers a new insight into the motives of the U.S. forces, which have already bombed Al

Jazeera offices twice, in Afghanistan and Iraq."

The Mirror said the memo came from Blair's

Downing Street office and turned up in May last year at the local office of Tony Clarke, then a member of parliament

for the town of Northampton. Clarke handed the document back to the government.

Leo O'Connor,

who used to work for Clarke, and civil servant David Keogh were charged last Thursday under Britain's Official

Secrets Act with making a "damaging disclosure of a document relating to international relations."


The Mirror said Bush told Blair at a White House summit on April 16

last year that he wanted to target Al Jazeera. The summit took place as U.S. forces in Iraq were launching a major

assault on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

The paper quoted an unnamed government official

suggesting Bush's threat was a joke but added another unidentified source saying the U.S. president was


White House spokesman Scott McClellan said: "We are not interested in dignifying

something so outlandish and inconceivable with a response."

The attorney general told media that

publishing the contents of a document which is known to have been unlawfully disclosed by a civil servant was a

breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Kevin Maguire, the Mirror's associate editor, said

government officials had given no indication of any legal problems with the story when contacted before publication.

"We were astonished, 24 hours later, to be threatened with the Official Secrets Act and to be

requested to give various undertakings to avoid being injuncted," he told BBC radio.

Al Jazeera

said that, if true, the story would raise serious doubts about the U.S. administration's version of previous

incidents involving the station's journalists and offices.

In 2001, the station's Kabul office

was hit by U.S. bombs and in 2003 Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub was killed in a U.S. strike on its Baghdad

office. The United States has denied deliberately targeting the station.


13_V2O7QX_7.LccOs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3b2NibDltBHNlYwM 3MTY- (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051123/ts_nm/britain_usa_jazeera_dc;_ylt=AtLXAzf13_V2O7QX_7.Lcc Os0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMT