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Sunday, April 17, 2016

'Shadows of Liberty' DVD: With Great Power of the Press Comes Great Irresponsibility

Product Details
The April 19, 2016  Icarus Films DVD relaease of the 2012 Bullfrog Films documentary "Shadows of Liberty" provides such a great primer on the corrupt and monopolistic lamestream media that it is used in classrooms. Having stated that, your not-so-humble reviewer looks cute in mouse ears should one of those conglomerates be in the market for as (so far) independent-minded DVD review website.

The most prominent names among the numerous participants are Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, veteran reporter/anchor Dan Rather, and comedian Dick Gregory.

The titular phrase is from a quote of founding father Thomas Paine. This author of "Common Sense" reminds us that "when men (and women) yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon." In other word, informed opinions goeth with the death of journalistic integrity.

The following YouTube clip of the "Shadows" trailer nicely showcases the important themes of the film.

Filmmaker Jean-Phillipe Tremblay travels to the literal birth of broadcasting in the form of the federal government making a gift of the use of the airwaves to comprehensively document the trifecta that prevents the real news from reaching the general population. This consists of government-sanctioned consolidated ownership of television and radio stations, censoring stories that reflect badly on advertisers, and good ole fashioned disinformation.

Tremblay uses talking heads and news footage to document the marriages made on K Street between Fortune 100 companies and government regulators by showing how former Federal Communications Commissioner (and Colin Powell offspring) Michael Powell and others in the corner office at the agency have allowed a group of less than 10 that includes Disney, Fox parent News Corporation, and GE (in this pre Comcast acquistion era) to own virtually every television network in the United States). This further explains why folks who simply want to watch "Austin and Ally" on the Disney Channel must purchase cable packages that seemingly include 100 ESPN channels.

An illustration of the widespread practice of making good relations with advertisers comes straight from the mouth of a a former CBS chief correspondent. This reporter tells of CBS news executives killing a follow-up story on a Nike sweatshop in Vietnam at a time that the network figuratively gets into bed with that athletic apparel manufacturer regarding coverage of the Winter Olympics. The insults on top of that injury include having the CBS correspondents who cover those games wear parkas that prominently display the Nike logo and that network terminating the employment of the correspondent.

The documented tales of disinformation are well-known ones, and one has a textbook tragic ending. The common elements are that the sources that should safely be considered reliable knowingly and blatantly provide false information to cover up a horrible blunder or otherwise serve their own purpose.

The message regarding this mismanaged media is that the small cabal of powers-that-be provide the public the news that they decide is fit to print.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Shadows" is encouraged to either email me or connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.