Review DVD: Control Room

5 Star, Information Operations, Media, Misinformation & Propaganda, Reviews (DVD Only)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Al Jazeera 5, CENTCOM 1, Western Journalists 0,

June 1, 2005
Samir Khader
This is a very worthy and serious documentary. As one who spends a lot of time thinking about “strategic communication” and public diplomacy and public perception, I cannot think of a more important reference point for any US official interested in understanding where we are going wrong in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Bottom line up front: Al Jazerra gets 5 points from me, in comparison with CENTCOM 1 (for naive earnestness), and Western journalists 0 (just generally stupid).

There are some spectacular flashes of insight in this documentary. My favorite is when one of the Al Jazeera editors says that the US cannot have it both ways–it cannot be the most powerful nation in the world, exercising that power (implicitly, capriciously and dangerously and harmfully) and at the same time expect the world to love it for doing so.

Over-all–and I am perhaps not the norm, having lived overseas most of my life as the son of an oilman, as a Marine Corps infantry officer, and as a clandestine case officer–I have to say that in the real world, Al Jazerra is wiping the deck with our ass. You may not like my opinion, but there are a couple of billion people that probably agree with that opinion, and most of them, right now, are not very respectful of the old USA.

It is not possible to be effective as a strategic communicator, or to practice public diplomacy, without first understanding what your target audience is seeing, hearing, and thinking. This DVD is a superb starting point and I have total respect for what has been presented here.

See also, with reviews:
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage)
Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, Fourth Edition
Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency

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