SHADOWS OF LIBERTY, the 2012 documentary credited to DOCFACTORY and Jean-Philippe Tremblay (shown below), begins with a barrage of statements against our current U.S. media with no identification of any of the speakers. This is off-putting, but hang on: Post the opening-credits sequence, identification begins, and those speakers are an impressive lot. Ditto what they have to say -- all of which centers around the manner in which our mainstream media, whenever the corporate power that owns it is wielded, consistently works against transparency and truth.
Roberta Baskin looks back on how CBS News covered (and then didn't) the NIKE employee abuse story. As an example of one of the "black holes" of journalism, we peruse again, via Kristina Borjesson, the infamous TWA flight 800 plane explosion, along with the cover-up that followed. This remains one of the sleaziest chapters in a history chock full of them.
We get some other good history, too: How, during the 1930s, the idea of for-profit took over the airways, leading to the more than 236 billion dollars per year that the media currently (or at least back in 2012, when this doc was made) brings in via advertising. Which, in turn, is why between 40 and 70 percent of what is considered "news" today comes not from actual reporting but from the work of corporate public relations.
Gary Webb and his story of how the CIA and the Contras helped sponsor America's crack cocaine "epidemic." (See Kill the Messenger, if you haven't already.) We hear about the Telecom Act and then the mergers -- one after another after another -- that followed this further encroachment on media accountability and responsibility. And then, of course, there was 9/11 and the lies (hugely bolstered by most of our media) that took us into Iraq and the resulting forever-quagmire.
Sibel Edmonds and how she uncovered the Marc Grossman conversations with the Turks involving nuclear secrets, and was then fired for her trouble. And finally we have NBC's wondrous would-be "reality" series, To Catch a Predator -- surely some kind of nadir in the annals of television. (Oh please: There are now so many that we've quite understandably lost count.)
Spotlight to have a modicum of that faith restored.) One might wish for more current events from this movie, but then again, it was made back in 2012 and researched a good deal prior to then. And almost everything we see and hear in the documentary remains as true and still as "under-reported" today as it was at the time it was"news,"
Bullfrog Films and distributed by Icarus Films, Shadows of Liberty comes with two versions on one disc: the theatrical version running 93 minutes and a shorter "classroom" version running just 53 minutes.