Control Room is an awesome documentary about Al Jazeera, and its coverage of the Iraq War. You should go see it, because it will make you think.

Also of interest (and highly recommended) is Anne Garrels' Naked in Baghdad, her personal account of her time there as NPR's correspondent before and during the war. Better yet, listen to it. The only side she takes is the only one that matters — the human one.


  1. yikes! no anonymous comments? i feel exposed!

    anyway, i saw Control Room and agree it was extremely insightful. it was exclusive footage that you couldn't get without warming up to and earning the trust of the locals. it was a sobering portrait of the news media in general, but particularly of the US media that we are so often exposed to. it gave very little insight into the minds behind Al Jazeera, but it was interesting to see that most of the reporters and journalists there were professionals aspiring to career greatness, not Al Qaeda puppets that we are often pressed to believe. in fact, many of the Al Jazeera journalists have worked for other world agencies, are friends with their employees, or aspire to work for CNN and the like.

    what would be really interesting is to see how the film impacted the average arab whose news media is domiated by Al Jazeera and others.... or to spin the same footage to reveal the "behind the scenes story" for a Middle Eastern audience.

  2. I have found myself disregarding the establishment media outlets for years (if you have time to look, I have a couple of short pieces on my site about 'the media'). For real insight I use the internet exclusively and am getting better at it all the time. I have the English Language Al Jazeera site bookmarked (amongst others) and find their coverage at least as balanced as many US and UK sources. I thought that American comments made recently (Rumsfeld et al) were disgraceful. I don't understand why the US administration have not taken advantage of opportunities offered to use Al Jazeera to help their cause. I would have liked to see that documentary but doubt that I will get the opportunity in UK.

  3. I just saw the movie this afternoon, and I agree it was amazing. I did a little poking around, though, and I was disappointed to hear that the reasonable, thoughtful press officer in the movie, Lieutenant Josh Rushing, has been silenced by the Pentagon.

  4. Skylar - yep, no anonymous comments here. Trying to cut down on "the bastard factor." Good points - I wonder if the film is playing anywhere in the Arab world?

    Tim - I hope Control Room makes it to the UK - it's an awesome, awesome film.

    Kelly - thanks for the link about Lt. Rushing. Seems I missed it on goldtoe.net a few weeks ago...