A New Front in War on Wikileaks
June 1, 2013
With Private Bradley Manning’s leak trial about to start and with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange still holed up in the Ecuador Embassy in London, “We Steal Secrets,” a new big-budget documentary purports to explain the controversy but has more the look of a hit job, says Danny Schechter.
By Danny Schechter
Every documentary filmmaker begins with deciding on the story to be told, and, then, how to sustain audience interest. If your goal is to inform the public or take a stand on an important issue by explaining its origins and exposing wrongdoers then you go one way. If your goal is to entertain and shroud your motives by exploring murky personality contradictions, you go another.
“We Steal Secrets,” Alex Gibney’s latest documentary (or is it a docudrama?), skillfully made with the backing of a major media company tries to do both. Ironically, that company, Comcast-Universal, owners of NBC, is at the same time having a major success with another movie, “Fast and Furious6,” glamorizing a criminal gang that relies on speedy cars.
You could say that Wikileaks, the subject of “We Steal Secrets” also began with a fury – a fury against war and secrecy, and was moving as fast as it could to challenge media complacency in the digital realm. Now, it is being ganged up on by a media that invariably builds you up before tearing you down.