Weapons Against Deception

During this time of political distrust, turmoil and the constant state of questioning, it is vital for Americans learn as much as possible about the inner workings of their nation. Many people have little or no understanding about the political system, or about the intrinsic reality within the political system.

In addition, many individuals who find politics interesting or exciting are brainwashed into simply taking one side of an argument.

It is important for us as human beings to remain open minded and willing to accept, disagree, and, more importantly, question what is placed in front of us.

On Friday, March 18, Danny Schechter will be showing his new documentary, "WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception." This newest documentary of his expresses viewpoints surrounding the use of media in the United States, and more specifically news coverage of the war in Iraq.

"In the last decade or so, documentary films have become what essays used to be. Many young people are not readers, and there is more of a chance for today's youth to become educated about our nation's present issues through these films," said Josh Kanin, a professor of cinema at SMC.

Schechter, the creator of this 98-minute documentary, is a professional journalist who received his master's degree from Harvard University after graduating from Cornell University. He was part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, which is an excellent teaching program for journalists.

"Schechter has been a strong critic of the media and has endorsed a lot of strong liberal views," Kanin said about the renowned journalist.

After producing one of the first five late-night entertainment shows in 1980, Schechter went on to work for CNN as a producer. During his eight-year run at CNN he had the honor of receiving two National News Emmys. Finally he landed a position on 20/20, the ABC classic.

The journalist's career continued to increase in momentum when be began voicing his opinion surrounding the world's ongoing problems. Schechter has written numerous books concerning these topics including, "Embedded: Weapons of Mass Deception," "Media Wars: New after 9/11," and "Falun Gong's Challenge to China."

The goal of his presentation is to try and make the minds of today's youth work. Schechter has made a point out of his impressive career to stray away from the accepted norm of journalism that is mainly based upon lengthy essays and long speeches.

"He wants the film to speak for itself," said Kanin. Immediately following the film there will be a question-and-answer portion of the program.

"We are trying to provoke discussion. The main goal is to try and allow people to learn and voice their opinions," said Kanin, "The program is supposed to end at 10 p.m. but you never know what's going to happen."

Furthermore, this event is not meant to try and convince you to sway one or another, it is merely a way for an individual to learn and develop what they believe.

The film itself is Schechter's comment on our nation's media and how it could be considered the mouthpiece of our government. The documentary argues that the war Americans are seeing in their living rooms is completely different then the one taking place.

Theoretically, the reason being that the government is trying to conceal the truth in order to inhibit questioning of their agenda overseas.

This film has been directly related to "Farenheit 9/11," Michael Moore's documentary released last year. The Boston Phoenix claims, however, "It is more cohesive and devastating than 'Farenheit 9/11.'"

Therefore, in a world filled with deceit and cowardice, where is one supposed to find the truth? If the media cannot be trusted, where as American citizens are you supposed to voice your opinion and receive accurate information? "An Evening With Danny Schechter" is designed to help students discover some of the answers to the questions they may be having.