What is it Good For?

Critics of the current presidential administration often concede that while Bush and his crew are bumbling, ineffectual leaders, they are masterful media manipulators. You’d have to be, to survive the constant media barrage and investigation that’s plagued Bush’s presidency, right? Well, not so much. We think of journalists as people who ask the tough questions and never settle for the obvious answer. But the media in this country isn’t as critical as we’d like to believe -- at least, according to the new doc War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

Narrated by Sean Penn, the film follows media critic Normon Solomon as he revisits media coverage of the Iraq War, but it also rides the way-back machine through coverage of American wars and conflicts since Vietnam. The purpose: To show causality between the machinations of presidential administrations and the complicity of major American news outlets. Seeing every president – from Nixon to LBJ to Reagan – feed unfiltered propaganda intravenously into the media, Bush suddenly doesn’t seem so radically different after all. That’s a pretty scary thought.

Appropriately enough, War Made Easy will screen tonight at 7 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale) – tonight being the fifth anniversary of the US occupation of Iraq. Stick around afterwards for a panel discussion… and a lot of head shaking. Tickets cost $5. Visit www.fliff.com.
Mon., March 24, 7 p.m.; Tue., March 25, 6 p.m., 2008