Control Room

October 31, 2004 — Leave a comment

 

For the past several Halloween’s, my job has been focused on staying at home and handing out candy while the girls go out. I would go with the girls, but they are usually trick or treating with friends, and they seem to be just has happy coming home and showing me their loot.

Tonight was quiet on our street for some reason. The rest of the neighborhood was crawling with kids, but just a few rang the doorbell at our house. So, in between handing out booty, I watched the documentary on the Al Jazeera TV network titled “Control Room.”

If you aren’t familiar with this movie, it is a documentary filmed at Al Jazeera during the beginning of the war in Iraq. The movie focuses in two locations, the Al Jazeera studios and the Centcom Media Center, both in Qatar. It tells the story of the war from a journalist’s perspective, calling into question the reality of media objectivity.

The movie is not an anti-war movie, yet in telling this story primarily from the Arab perspective, there is an anti-war tilt. The important thing about this movie for me (especially given some of the recent conversation between Brits and Americans) is how it reveals the complete world view differences that exist between the Western and Arab world. The fact is that we don’t understand their perspective, and they probably don’t understand ours as well. We watch Al Jazeera and interpret it as anti-American propaganda. They watch any western news network and see pro-American propaganda.

I recommend that everyone watch this movie for many reasons. One is to gain some insight into the Middle Eastern world. The other is to obtain a perspective on the war that was missing in the American press. This movie offers a balanced and insightful window into the world of news gathering, and military control of the news.

 

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