Conscientious Projections: “Broadcast News”
308 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
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Conscientious Projections spotlights films that address topics of social and political significance. In addition to a screening of the film, academics, journalists and activists will join us to discuss relevant issues and provoke a discussion of what each of us can do to affect change.
Fifty percent of proceeds will go to Khalsa Aid, an international NGO that aims to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world. The organisation is based upon the Sikh principle of “Recognize the whole human race as one.”
According to the most recent annual surveys by Gallup and Pew, Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low. By some polls, Trump’s White House is perceived as a more trustworthy source of news than media. On one hand, why shouldn’t this be the case? Media overwhelmingly assured as that Hillary Clinton would win a blow-out election, that Brexit would never happen, and that the economy has recovered and things are basically fine — despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, with the White House limiting access and questions during press briefings, President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatening to crack down on whistleblowers, and secret legislative bills, the importance of the press cannot be denied.
Currently, the range of acceptable ideas in society is wider than what is represented in corporate media. What is limiting the range of ideas newspapers, websites and TV networks advocate, and what effect does this have on public opinion about issues as well as the media?
Though it takes the guise of a romantic comedy, Broadcast News, about a producer (Holly Hunter) and two journalists, one a skilled but irksome investigative reporter (Albert Brooks) and one a charismatic TV star without the same journalistic acumen (William Hurt). Broadcast News has a great deal to say about what counts as “success” in journalism and what factors are behind the scenes determining which stories should be told and which viewpoints should be held.
Joining us to discuss these questions, the state of the media today, and the threats posed to it by the current administration will be Zaid Jilani, a reporter for The Intercept whose work addresses what issues are seen within politics and media as “acceptable” to compromise on and which are not, and of the relative roles of the public and the donor class in setting the agenda.
Dir. James L. Brooks. 1987. 133 min.