Archive for February, 2006

A Question of Representation

William “The Gambler” Bennett and Alan Dershowitz have joined forces in The Washington Post to Attack the Press for choosing not to publish the offensive anti-Muslim cartoons that appeared in a Danish newspaper a few months ago. Ester at babblebook summarizes the basic argument far better than I could. Essentially they’re arguing that “the terrorists have won because the American press refused to publish the Danish caricatures.” While I’ve generally avoided the discussion of these caricatures in a free speech context, I think the logic of their editorial should not go unchallenged, especially when it comes to their characterization of “freedom of expression” and of what ought to be represented in the public sphere.

First, I think it’s worth challenging their characterization of the media as a monolithic entity. In his foreword to The Future of Media (a great collection of essays by the way), Bill Moyers expresses his discomfort with the term, “the media,” as a catch-all phrase. While Moyers is primarily addressing the distinctions between individual journalists, as a media studies scholar, i find that the phrase obscures more than it reveals, especially when it comes to distinctions between newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and other media.

In fact, their attack on the press relies upon the assumption that people who follow the news get their information only from the mass media, from the newspapers who have, correctly in my opinion, chosen not to publish the Danish cartoons. While most newspapers have made this choice, the cartoons are widely available in multiple outlets on the internet. To be sure, not everyone has access to the internet, but the cartoons would not have been disseminated so rapidly without it once they became useful as a tool for stirring up outrage.

Dershowitz and Bennett’s other arguments, however, are far more insidious. While they imply on the one hand that The Media has capitulated to the terrorists, they also fault the same Media for printing stories that inconveniently call attention to the illegal and unethical actions committed by memebrs of the Bush administration in the name of a war on terror, namely the prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and their practice of wiretapping without obtaining a warrant, suggesting with just a small degree of caution that such stories “could harm our allies.”

Of course, they are assuming that we will forget that several major newspapers, including The Washington Post and The New York Times felt compelled to apologize for their reporting before the war because their reports accepted at face value Bush administration claims about WMD and links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden (among other issues). To suggest that mjor news outlets have effectively challenged Bush administration claims about the war, much less actively undermined that effort, seems utterly unsupportable.

They also make a false comparison between the role of watchdog journalism and the “need” to disseminate the Danish caricatures. One of the main reasons free expression is guarded so religiously is that it is an important tool in protecting against public officials who might abuse the trust voters have placed in them. While the First Amendment protects the right to publish the cartoons (I’ll never argue otherwise), there’s a larger issue at stake in terms of responsibility. Again, the Danish images are already widely available. Smart reporters can describe them quite effectively in their articles, so I think tolerance should win out here.

Finally, they make massive generalizations about the “Islamist street” (is that anywhere near Evangelical Avenue?), throwing around phrases such as “cartoon intifada” that reduce and trivialize the real differences among the responses to the cartoons (Ramzy Baroud’s response is just one example of this). In fact, this notion of the “Islamist street” is used to portray all of the protests and protestors as violent, citing the obviously troubling signs that read, “Behead those who insult Islam.” While I condemn the violent protestors, I think it’s somewhat unreasonable to characterize any outraged response to these cartoons in this manner (did they have similar objections when Ann Coulter demanded after 9/11 that the US “kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity“).

In short, Bennett and Dershowitz are essentially complicit with the talking points that have been repeated ad nauseum for the last four or five years, as their conclusion implies in which they imply that “they [whoever they are] hate our freedoms” when it’s really our policies they hate.

Update: Just noticed that Glenn Greenwald has made a similar argument about Bennett and Dershowitz’s masqerading as free press advocates when in fact they are actually attacking teh foundations of journalists’ attempts to investigate and challenge the Bush administration. I still disagree with Greenwald’s claim that newspapers ought to publish the offensive cartoons, but he offers an important defsense of the rights of journalists to investigate the Bush White House.

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SCMS Bloggers

I’ve already mentioned that I’ll be participating in a workshop panel at this year’s SCMS. The topic of the panel, “Complicating the “M” in SCMS: Internet and Contemporary Digital Studies,” should open up some interesting questions, and I feel lucky to be on a panel with such cool people.

But right now, I’m just checking to see if any of my regular readers are planning to attend SCMS. And if any of those readers would enjoy meeting up for drinks at the conference. I know very little about Vancouver (it’s my first time visiting what I’ve heard is a very cool city), so I don’t have anything specific in mind. But if you’re interested, leave a comment or email me. And if you have any restaurant recommendations for Vancouver, I’d love to hear those as well.

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DC Sounds and Images

Just a quick pointer to a couple of upcoming film and art events here in DC. First, the National Archives will be screening many of the films nominated for Oscars for best documentary, best short documentary, live action short film, and best animated short. I’ll be attending the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Vancouver, but if I weren’t, you can bet I’d be seeing many of these films (I’ve seen most of the documentary nominees and certainly recommend Murderball and the Enron documentary.

Second, it looks like the Wordherders and friends will be hitting the Ballet mécanique and Dada exhibit on Saturday, March 18. If any friends of the ‘Herd wish to join us, you’re more than welcome to do so.

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Documentary Note

Before I forget, I just wanted to mention a documentary someone recommended at last Wednesday’s DC Drinking Liberally, A Blinding Flash of the Obvious, made by People for the American Way. The documentary focuses on “the successful 2004 campaign to encourage Cincinnati voters to overturn an anti-gay city charter provision approved a decade earlier” and includes a panel discussion featuring Wisconsin Congressperson Tammy Baldwin, among several others.

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Talking ‘Bout My Generation (of Filmmakers)

I have several stacks of grading to do over the next few days, which means I’m in full procrastination mode this afternoon. For now, I’ll just quickly mention that I’m curious to read Joshua Horowitz’s new book, Mind of the Modern Moviemaker: Twenty Conversations with the New Generation of Filmmakers, which compiles Horowitz’s interviews with filmmakers ranging from DIY hero Kevin Smith to postmodern auteur Michel Gondry and studio faves Brett (Rush Hour) Ratner and Todd (Old School) Phillips.

As far as I can tell, it’s a fairly eclectic collection of filmmakers, but the collection also begs a few questions. As far as I can tell, the collection only includes two filmmakers who are women (Karyn Kusama, who directed Aeon Flux and Patty Jenkins, who directed Monster). Because this kind of book functions as a kind of “snapshot” of the film industry, I’d be curious to know what Horowitz’s selection process entailed. Karina identifies several implicit arguments in the book, specifically that the filmmakers are a “stamping a generation-specific brand of irony and self-referentiality and digital savvy.” Like her, I’m a little skeptical.

Meanwhile, The Reeler offers his take on Horowitz’s book and links to his blog, Better Than Fudge, and there’s an interview with Horowitz at the Gothamist, where Horowitz describes his book as “something of a time capsule — a snapshot of contemporary moviemaking today.”

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Reading “Sunday Morning”

I have been intrigued by the discussion of the Media Matters (MM) paper, “If It’s Sunday, It’s Conservative,” which detects a consistent conservative slant in the Sunday morning gabfests, and while I don’t have time to write about it in detail (still hoping to do that), there are one or two points I’d like to address. To a great extent, MM’s research and the responses to it depend on definitional claims regarding the distinctions between “conservative” and “liberal” guests.

One example: Eric Alterman points to Vaughn Ververs’ critique of Media Matters’ methodology for tracking “conservative” and “liberal” guests. MM explains that they “classified each guest based on her/his general partisan or ideological orientation.” Although such classifications are not always clear, this method seems relatively reasonable, and given that conservatives appear on these shows with far greater frequency than liberals, it’s not unreasonable to argue that political discourse, as much as these shows contribute to it, has been shifted to the right.

Ververs seeks to complicate MM’s definition by arguing that their approach fails to acknowledge one important definitional factor, what he calls “the intra-party dynamic.” He notes that MM classifies Zell Miller as “conservative” for his loudly and frequently professed support of George W. Bush but then compares Miller to Sens John “Maverick” McCain and Chuck Hagel, who have been outspoken critics of the President. Several things get lost in this comparison: first, McCain has never actively campaigned against a Bush presidency to the degree that Miller campaigned against a Kerry presidency. In fact, it might be argued that both McCain and Hagel are criticizing the Bush administration from what they regard as a more principled conservative position. So even if McCain criticizes Bush, he’s not doing so from a liberal or progressive position.

The “pundit” argument is a little more complicated, and I think Ververs may be right to demand some clarification of the terms used to classify one pundit as “conservative” and another as “moderate.” While I’d agree with the MM classifications of David Brooks as conservative (yes, I know he supports gay marriage, but he’s reliably conservative on most other issues) and Broder as moderate (see Alterman’s What Liberal Media? on Broder), those definitions should be as clear as possible.

Note: Media Matters’ Paul Waldman has a response to Ververs that pretty much reinforces my point, and they make a strong case for explaining the pundit gap.

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Narrating the War on Terror

In the comments to my entry on Frank Miller’s planned Batman-Al Qaeda narrative, G. Zombie mentioned a New York Times article on other graphic novels and comics series that plan to feature war on terror plots. The Marvel “Civil War” series seems particularly compelling:

Along the way, Marvel will unveil its version of Guantánamo Bay, enemy combatants, embedded reporters and more. The question at the heart of the series is a fundamental one: “Would you give up your civil liberties to feel safer in the world?”

Of course comics have a long history of dealing with real-world issues, as the many World War II comics that demonized Nazis illustrate, so I’ll be interested to see how this series plays out.

I’ve also found myself intrigued by the recent discussion of Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers for the Assassin, an alternate-reality thriller set in the year 2040 that has been promoted or reviewed relatively widely on some prominent political blogs. The basic premise:

THE YEAR IS 2040. New York and Washington are nuclear wastelands. The nation is divided between an Islamic Republic across the north and the Christian Bible Belt in the old South. The shift was precipitated by simultaneous, suitcase-nuke detonations in New York City, Washington, and Mecca, a sneak attack blamed on Israel, and known as the Zionist Betrayal. Now alcohol is outlawed, replaced by Jihad Cola, and mosques dot the skyline. Veiled women hurry through the streets. Freedom is controlled by the state, paranoia rules, and rebels plot to regain free will…

In this tense society beautiful young historian Sarah Dougan uncovers shocking evidence that the Zionist Betrayal was actually a plot carried out by a radical Muslim now poised to overtake the entire nation. Sarah’s research threatens to expose him, and soon she and her lover, Rakkin Epps, an elite Muslim warrior, find themselves hunted by Darwin, a brilliant psychopathic killer. Rakkin must become Darwin’s assassin—a most forbidding challenge. The bloody chase takes them from the outlaw territories of the Pacific Northwest to the anything-goes glitter of Las Vegas—and culminates dramatically as Rakkim and Sarah battle to reveal the truth to the entire world.

While Tom Tomorrow compares Prayers to Robert Harris’ Fatherland, the first association I have is Philip K. Dick, especially his underrated Man in the High Castle. I’m very curious to read Prayers, though it will probably have to wait for several weeks (I do have a long flight to and from Seattle for SCMS in a few days, so maybe then), but both Tbogg and Tomorrow’s comments about the novel’s politics are intriguing. While the book has sometimes been presented as “anti-Muslim warblogger porn,” in part because of Ferrigno’s blog, both Tbogg and Tomorrow see something more complicated going on politically.

I have to run to campus and meet with some students, but I’ve noticed that I’m writing about/thinking about this topic a lot lately. Maybe there’s a conference paper or article in this issue?

Update: Here’s a CNN article about Prayers. Interesting to note that Ferrigno came from a fundamentalist Christian background that he left as a teenager. The CNN article also points to this mock news website set in a world not unlike that described in Ferrigno’s novel.

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Legoland Security Administration

Via Mark Crispin Miller, a new Lego toy, a “surveillance truck,” which allows police to use satellite dishes to intercept signals “from all over the world.” At the risk of driving traffic that way, here’s one website that is selling the truck.

lego_surveillance.jpg

I’ll admit that I’m fascinated and troubled by these children’s toys that condition them to police state tactics, or in the case of this George Bush action figure, promote Bush’s triumphalist militarism.

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Manderlay

I went to see Lars von Trier’s provoactive new film, Manderlay (IMDB), last night because of this negative review in the Washington Post (found via Risky Business). You see, the Post’s reviewer, Philip Kennicott, implies that because von Trier has never stepped foot in the United States, he is not in a position to diagnose its social problems, specifically the history of slavery and racism in the United States. James Berardinelli is more explicit on this topic (although I didn’t read his review until after seeing the film), arguing that “in order to be able to criticize something, you have to have first-hand familiarity with it. Von Trier has never lived in the United States…. But that doesn’t stop him from attacking the fabric of the United States’ society.” Such ad hominem attacks say little about the content of the film and miss a larger point about the hegemonic power of the United States and its popular culture worldwide. Von Trier, as most reviewers will observe, seems to relish the role of provocateur, as his Dogme 95 Manifesto

While I’d agree that Manderlay stumbles in places, both of these reviews miss the degree to which von Trier is trading in representations in this film, intentionally pushing the limits of cultural caricatures through exaggeration and embellishment. My best approximation for describing this method would be to suggest that the film works as if German playwright Bertholt Brecht remade D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. If Griffith was “writing history with lightning” to use President Woodrow Wilson’s notorious phrase, von Trier is unwriting it, or rewriting it perhaps, with artificial lighting.

The first point to make about the film is its deliberate staginess (one reviewer compares it to a Thornton Wilder play, which isn’t unfair, but Brecht is clearly an influence). The film opens in 1933, as we see Grace Mulligan (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her gangster father (Willem Dafoe), trekking across the country in a convoy of cars. That the cars move across a map of the sketched on a barren stage, with a giant Statue of Liberty drawn onto New York City, sets us up for the film’s allegorical commentary.

Grace and her father arrive in Manderlay, a plantation in Alabama that continues to practice slavery seventy years after it was ostensibly abolished by the Civil War. When Grace witnesses a black man, Timothy (Isaach De Bankolé of Ghost Dog fame), her charitable instincts are tapped, and she insists on staying at Manderlay until she can ensure that the “slaves” have achieved liberation. While such a premise allows von Trier to attack southern institutionalized racism, Grace is not portrayed as entirely innocent either. When she tells the slaves that they should have been freed 70 years ago, Flora retorts, “Only seventy years ago?”

The plantation itself retains the staginess of the opening sequence, with its deliberately bare stage set including walls and spaces that are drawn on the stage floor, suggesting actor’s marks. At the same time, the film is narrated in voice-over by John Hurt in a cheerful tone that stands in counterpoint to the sometimes brutal events that take place over the course of the film. This staginess is reflected in the acting, which follows Brecht’s dictum that actors should not impersonate, but narrate (acting “in quotation marks”), with von Trier using such a method to call attention to representations as they pertain to race relations in the United States (and to a lesser extent as they comment on US forign policy in Iraq).

One of the major motifs of the film is a book, Mam’s Rules that are used to govern the plantation and meant never to be sen by the slaves who work there. When the plantation’s matriarch (Lauren Bacall) exhorts Grace to burn the book, she refuses, thereby unintentionally extending their influence over Manderlay. Among these rules we see a classification of all the slaves into seven categories, which would allow the plantation overseer to control his charges more effectively, and by calling attention to these representations, von Trier works to challenge them. Most notably, he works to deconstruct the sexual fantasies about white women and black men that animate a project like Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (in this sense, von Trier has a strange affinity with DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation).

I won’t explain the plot in further detail other than to say that von Trier’s film offers a complicated commentary on the history of race in the United States. The film famously closes with a montage of photographs documenting the legacy of slavery and the history of poverty and Civil Rights in the United States. The images, shown while David Bowie’s “Young Americans” plays, are designed to provoke, bringing a more explicit sense of history on the narrative we have just witnessed. While I do think von Trier’s film polemic is flawed (I’ll grant the point that it’s condescending in places and I don’t think he makes his commentary on the present explicit enough), I was quite compelled by the questions Manderlay seemed to be asking.

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Saturday Afternoon Film Links

I should really be working on something else but have a few film articles and blogs that just came across my path. First, Chris Hansen, writer and director of The Proper Care & Feeding of an American Messiah, a film I reviewed a few months ago, now has a blog. Chris also teaches filmmaking at Baylor University.

Chris is also participating in the Indie Features 06 blog, another product of Sujewa’s prolific blog line-up.

Also G. Zombie was kind enough to pass along this New York Times article discussing two new documentary TV series, The Sierra Club Chronicles and The ACLU Freedom Files. I don’t have much to add to the article right now, but I do thnk it bodes well that these critical documentaries are getting a wider audience (the ACLU show, for example, airs on both Link TV and Court TV).

Update: And now a Saturday evening read before I dash off to see Manderlay (yeah, I know it has been getting bad reviews, but I’m a von Trier fan): I just learned about Washington City Paper writer Tricia Olszewski’s Movie Babe blog.

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Cartoon Violence

Originally I had intended this post merely as a pointer to the Nation interview with Joe Sacco (linked below), but as I began to write I wanted to connect a few more dots on this issue, in part because it is so deeply linked to the issues of representation that concern me as a scholar of media studies.

Like many people, I’ve been thinking about the Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad over the last several days (I’m not going to link to the images–you can find them easily enough). Like Manorama, I’m less interested in debates about free speech when it comes to these images, which were clearly intended as a provocation, and more interested in the degree to which these images participate in what she aptly calls “an entire visual economy which dehumanizes Muslims, and specifically, Muslim bodies, as a means of expressing and visually reinforcing western dominance.”

In the interview with Joe Sacco and Art Speigelman (Maus) in The Nation, Sacco echoes this point:

To me the bigger context is that there are segments of the Muslim population around the world that have been pummeled with other images, like Abu Ghraib, that are also offensive. And you also have to see this in the context of how some Muslims around the world are viewing the actions of the US or allies of the US, for example Israel. You add all these things into the mix, and it’s just another thing, another part of this ridiculous war that is being forced on people, that is supposed to be about a “clash of civilizations.”

These cartoon depictions of Muhammad, who is not supposed to be depicted visually in the first place, merely extends this network of visual images that dehumanize Muslim people, most vividly represented by the Abu Ghraib photographs, which continue to leak to the public. Thus, what appears to be an overreaction is in fact part of a larger context, and while it seems plausible that the violence is far from spontaneous (Amardeep makes the point in Manorama’s that the governments of several countries have encouraged this response), I think there are some reasonable questions about how visual images can be used to dehumanize other people (and I’ll add here that I also find the call for anti-Semitic images deplorable). I don’t condone the violence by any means, but I think it is worth expressing my objection to the process of dehumanization in which these cartoons and the Abu Ghraib photographs participate.

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Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

Michael Winterbottom’s Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (IMDB) is one of the best literary adaptations I’ve seen in some time [Edited to add: It’s also one of the funniest]. But before I review Winterbottom’s film adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s wildly inventive metafictional novel, I should probably explain that because I majored in literature in college and have an MA in English, I’m usually ambivalent about literary adaptations. Then again, I should probably mention that before I was born, both of my parents were strongly discouraged if not explicitly prohibited from watching movies, which may explain my own enthusiasm for film. I could perhaps go back further in time or obsessively return to the moment of my birth, but then this review would never get written, and I would be unable to explain that, like Dana Stevens, I regard Winterbottom’s Shandy as one of the most “faithful” adaptations I’ve seen in some time, to the spirit if not the letter of its literary source, especially when the film, like Sterne’s novel, pursues its uneccesary digressions and its own narration.

In general expectations for literary adaptations set viewers up for disappointment, especially if you’re a fan of the novel. Key scenes are deleted. Characters disappear completely. And costumes or settings are inauthentic. Winterbottom’s Shandy nicely satirizes this culture of adaptation, in part by turning Steve Coogan, the lead actor in a film adaptation of Shandy, into the main character of the film. Coogan, the character, is narcissistic and competes with fellow actor Rob Brydon, who plays Tristram’s Unce Toby. Coogan obsesses over his costumes, specifically worrying about how his fake nose will alter his appearance, and more importantly, that his heels don’t provide him with an appropriate height advantage over his co-star, Rob, while Coogan’s character also worries about who will receive top billing for the film (of course, this is familiar territory for Coogan who also plays himself in a sketch in Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes).

Winterbottom weaves between these “backstage scenes” and the attempts to make a film version of Shandy quite nicely, and what Winterbottom achieves with his film is nothing less than a meditation not simply on the possibilities of adapting the impossible but on the filmmaking process itself. Unlike Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation, which never really goes beyond the production of the screenplay itself, Shandy traces the entire moviemaking process, perhaps making it more comparable to French Lieutenant’s Woman, Truffaut’s Day for Night, or maybe The Player. We see the enthusiastic assistant, Jennie (Naomie Harris), gushing about Fassbinder and other German directors the “talent” pretend to know (of course,as Klawans implies, the Fassbinder allusions might run a little deeper). Later the director learns that he can film a key battle scene when Gillian Anderson agrees to appear in the film, therefore assuring more financing for the film, setting up a subtle economic commentary on how films get made (these scenes reminded me of Fellini’s comment, “And the film will be finished when there is no more money left”).

While I’m thinking about it, I should probably go back and mention Uncle Toby’s mysterious battle injury and young Tristram’s unintentional circumcision. But that might interrupt my review, so I should return to that topic later. Of course Winterbottom milks the “cock and bull” jokes as much as possible and to nice effect. Although James Berardinelli worries that Winterbottom seems “obsessed with cock,” the film’s obsessive returns to Uncle Toby’s unspeakable war injury work quite well.

Some of the film’s best scenes trade on Coogan’s willingness to parody his image as a narcisstic actor, with Coogan constantly getting into petty squabbles with his co-stars and dealing with members of the tabloid press that want to report an unsavory story about this one night with a stripper. Coogan’s character also bickers with his agent, dismissing a preposterous script that might tarnish his image. It’s a nice commentary on the ways in which celebrity is constructed (J. Hoberman has a similar read, as does the Washington Post’s Desson Thomas).

Of course, unlike Fellini’s film, the movie isn’t finished when the director runs out of money. Instead, like Altman’s The Player, the movie is done when the cast and crew watch their first test screening. And even after the credits roll, Coogan has to demonstrate that he can do a better Pacino than his co-star, Brydon.

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Express Yourself

Commuters in Metro trains all over Washington, DC, are reading a snippet of chutry experiment wisdom today. The Washington Post Express blog log quoted (huge PDF, I’m on page 37) my entry on Frank Miller’s planned Batman graphic novel. In a weird sort of way, this news totally made my day.

Update 2/18, 12:22 AM: Now those same issues of the Express are stuffed into garbage cans (and hopefully recycling bins) all over Washington, DC.

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Broadcast Noise

I’m doing the final touches on my article on war documentaries this weekend and wanted to gesure towards another project I’d like to tackle. A few months ago, I mentioned interest in David Mindich’s Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don’t Follow the News, even while expressing some suspicion towards one of Mindich’s argument. Mindich was kind enough to arrange for the publisher to send me a copy, and I’ve been thinking about his arguments about American news-watching practices ever since (my suspicions that Mindich imagined a “golden age” of informed citizens, it turns out, weren’t warranted).

I’m not yet sure what this new project will look like. I’ll certainly continue thinking about these documentaries about the Iraq War by both embedded reporters and Iraqi artists and filmmakers, but more recntly, debates about the network and cable news coverage of the war and American politics in general have been attracting my attention. Eric Alterman points to an October 2003 study by the Program on International Policy Issues (PIPA), “Misperceptions, the Media, and the Iraq War” (PDF) that raised some important questions about how the American public saw the war in Iraq much differently than the rest of the world (and as Alterman illustrates, the problems identified in that report persist to this day).

I’m also intrigued by the Media Matters report, “If It’s Sunday, It’s Coservative” (PDF) that offers some fairly compelling data to illustrate a conservative bias on the Sunday morning talk shows (and the reasons that such a bias is important). But I think that all of these texts, from different angles, help illuminate some of my own frustrations about politics and the news media (yes, I know that term is way too broad). I’m still sorting through these ideas. Hopefully I’ll have time to write a longer post on this topic over the weekend, but if anyone has read either report (or Mindich’s book), feel free to comment.

Update: Eric Alterman’s Nation column offers an insightful analysis of the Media Matters report and raises one of the key points I wanted address: even without analyzing Fox’s Sunday morning shows, the Media Matters folks were able to detect a strong conservative bias in Sunday morning guests.

Update 2: This WSJ.com article by Farnaz Fassihi about her experiences as a reporter covering the war in Iraq is fascinating and chilling.

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Journalism and Graphic Novels

Speaking of graphic novels, while I was at the DC Drinking Liberally event last night (featuring Washington Note blogger, Steve Clemons), someone mentioned the work of Joe Sacco, whose graphic novels look quite comeplling, in part due to their mixture of art and journalism. I’m especially curious to check out Palestine, which features an introduction by Edward Said.

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