Vanessa Beeley — 21st Century Wire Feb 1, 2018
“As Fewer Companies Control Our Media, Why Documentaries Matter More Than Ever”. This was the title of a Huffington Post article, written in 2014, by Morgan Spurlock, documentary filmaker, producer and screenwriter. Spurlock informs us, “Films are incredible things. Magical things. Windows into worlds that we may never get to see and connecting with us on such deep emotional levels that we are forever affected by them and their messages. Films cannot only entertain but can shift public perception in ways we never thought possible.”
As if on cue, a vast number of documentaries have flooded the media market. The huge majority have conveyed a very one-sided perspective of the conflict in Syria and have, almost invariably, supported the US Coalition regime change narrative, which has prolonged the destabilization project in the region for the last seven years. Are these documentaries any more accurate than the corporate media they might replace?
For example, on April 5, 2017, National Geographic released a preview of its film, Hell on Earth: The Fall Of Syria And The Rise of ISIS, by filmmaker Sebastian Junger and producing partner Nick Quested. This film was prematurely released to coincide with the alleged and controversial Khan Sheikhoun chemical weapon attacks in Syria, on April 4th. However, as Paul Larudee revealed, the film preview was a fraudulent misrepresentation of the war in Syria:
“The [opening] scene shows a missile destroying a residential building with a thunderous explosion. Imposed over the footage are the words, ALEPPO, SYRIA…[…] The original source footage comes from 2014, and is from the Israeli operation that took more than 2,200 Palestinian lives that summer”
“Shifting public perception” is, indeed, one of the roles of modern documentary makers, who, in many instances, take their funding from the same Time Warner, AOL and Walt Disney media investment pools in order to produce heart-stopping, emotion-wringing perception-changers for a western public whose opinions on state foreign policy is undoubtedly, hugely influenced by these ostensibly ‘factual’ documentaries.