The Independent Film Channel is premiering the IFC Media Project tonight at 8 PM ET. Its official tag line is a “thought-provoking series examines the current state of investigative journalism and how it affects our perceptions of the world around us.” What I gathered from the first two episodes I’ve watched: Taboos in the News (which airs tonight) and The Frontlines of Journalism (which airs Nov. 25, 2008), is that the series examines parts of the current news media, what is chosen to be shown during a news cast, how the news is manipulated, who is pulling the strings and who is ultimately responsible, cough *the government* end cough, for some of the one-sided distortions we see on the airways.
The IFC Media Project is a six half-hour episodes series and was created and produced by Meghan O’Hara, a long time collaborator of Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko). One of the coolest aspects of the series is that it is hosted by someone I am familiar with from MTV, Gideon Yago. What stuck out and remained in my mind from viewing Episode 1 of the IFC Media Project were the segments: The News Loves Missing White Girls, the word Allegedly (the Media Encyclopedia) and the Middle East conflict (The Third Rail of American Journalism). From Episode 2, the most striking segments were Capturing Conflict (the Combat Photographer, Benjamin Lowy, has a copy of American Psycho on his desk), The Tease (the Media Encyclopedia), Propaganda (How to Sell a War) and The News Junkie. The last segment actually made me laugh. “Building 7 was a controlled demolition that was obviously arranged by Dick Chaney” and then a censor screen shows up: Censored by US Government Case #484584. The New Junkie keeps trying to introduce this topic and keeps getting censored with that screen and elevator music.
This episode also had a segment about Valerie Plame, an operations officer with the CIA that had her covert career destroyed when her identity was divulged in a newspaper column by Robert Novack in 2003. Why would Novack or the government do such a thing? Not only did this action endanger Plame but also all of the people she had been seen with during her covert days and all of the assignments she’d been on or been apart of. All to get back at her and her husband, Joe Wilson, for an editorial column he wrote in the New York Times. I couldn’t believe it, extremely petty and short-sighted. Well educated and seasoned CIA Operatives must grow on trees.
If you have a chance, check out IFC’s Media Project. Not only is this not a stuffy, uptight news report that you might see on CNN, its cut well, informative and it’s more entertaining than you might expect.