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WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception

Since September 11, 2001, right-wing filmmakers have blasted Bush's cinematic attackers, especially during in the 2004 Presidential campaign, as Daniel Schechter documents in WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception." He doesn't rehash administration ills so much as investigate corporate-driven American media. Does the American media employ critical thought, or simply act as our government's cheerleaders? Schechter, who has written at least six books since 1997 -- his latest is "Embedded: Weapons of Mass Deception: How the Media Failed to Cover the War on Iraq" -- calls the administration's clever media strategy "militainment."

As in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," the filmmaker is the on-screen guide. Speaking directly to the camera, self-anointed "news dissector" Schechter includes clips from military training that show how personnel are coached to handle media questions.

Schmoozing and getting to the right place at the right time, obvious requirements for journalists, as renowned war correspondent Peter Arnett suggests on camera, have made integrity the first casualty of war, as journalists eager to become the next Arnett overlook everything except sensationalistic snapshots, while the larger story begs to be seen and heard. Schechter's content-rich film blames the major media for cowing to administration tactics in the Iraq War just to put their reporters close to the action. Nowadays, reporters' careers can be made by a single sensationalistic picture. Verbal skills and investigative techniques are distant second and third considerations, if that.

"Muckrakers" Schechter and Moore spur us to call for media awareness. Schechter's a shrewd perspective on the news-gathering industry was forged in stints at ABC, CNN, and other networks.

Multinational owners have little commitment to good journalism in networks they own, as Schecter shows. Still, his movie could use more outrage. At only 10 minutes left, "WMD' taps a gold mine: broadcast and cable networks' unquestioning war coverage reflects their attempts to get the FCC to loosen regulations. Was kissing up to the government the real goal of vacuous war coverage?
Director(s): Daniel Schechter
Writer(s): Daniel Schechter
Cast: Daniel Schechter narrates, interviews and cuts in media personalites and watchers
Release Date: 2005   
Keyword: Media Watchers; Iraq war coverage; radioactive hardener on t
Target Age: 16+   Category: institutional issues
Documentary: yes
Language: English   Reviewer's Name: Micah
Review: http://MRQE
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