Monday, February 21, 2011
Orwell Rolls in His Grave (USA: Robert Kane Pappas, 2003: 84 mins)
Director Robert Kane Pappas’ ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE is the consummate critical examination of the Fourth Estate, once the bastion of American democracy. Asking whether America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth, Pappas explores what the media doesn’t like to talk about: itself. Meticulously tracing the process by which media has distorted and often dismissed actual news events, Pappas presents a riveting and eloquent mix of media professionals and leading intellectual voices on the media. Among the cast of characters in ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE are Charles Lewis, director of the Center for Public Integrity, Vincent Bugliosi, former L.A. prosecutor and legal scholar, film director and author Michael Moore, Rep. Bernie Sanders, Danny Schecter, author and former producer for ABC and CNN, and Tony Benn, former member of the British Parliament. ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE provides a vital forum for ideas that will never be heard in mainstream media. From Globalvision’s Danny Schecter: “We falsely think of our country as a democracy when it has evolved into a mediacracy – where a media that is supposed to check political abuse is part of the political abuse.” New York University media professor Mark Crispin Miller says, “These commercial entities now vie with the government for control over our lives. They are not a healthy counterweight to government. Goebbels said that what you want in a media system – he meant the Nazi media system - is to present the ostensible diversity that conceals an actual uniformity.” From the very size of the media monopolies and how they got that way to who decides what gets on the air and what doesn’t, ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE moves through a troubling list of questions and news stories that go unanswered and unreported in the mainstream media. Are Americans being given the information a democracy needs to survive or have they been electronically lobotomized? Has the frenzy for media consolidation led to a dangerous irony where in an era of more news sources the majority of the population has actually become less informed? ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE reminds us that 1984 is no longer a date in the future.