Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Questions & Answers

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Questions & Answers

Article excerpt

Delinda Hanley: Thank you. So here is a question for you: how can we get that movie into all the TV networks, to theaters; how can we get that out there?

Catherine Jordan: We've been turned down by HBO, Showtime and PBS. We've been trying to get the film distributed by all the big networks. A one-hour version of the film was run on 30 or 40 PBS stations, but-it's a boring distinction but an important one-it wasn't an official PBS film. It was provided by a third party as content for PBS stations to run it if they chose. The results of that was that plenty of people ran it but it had zero marketing. When there's zero marketing you might as well not even run the film, because no one knows it's coming and no one makes the time to see it. So that had a tiny little ripple of an effect. So we're still seeking wide distribution in this country anyway.

Delinda Hanley: Thank you. And one more question for you before we go to the next questions. Was the Sundance Independent Film Festival contacted, and what was their reaction to the film?

Catherine Jordan: Yes. We sent the film to Sundance with their encouragement. One of our colleagues who was a consultant on the film has a big position at the Sundance Film Festival, and she said she'd talk to her friends. The reviewer who looked at it actually emailed us on the QT and said she thought it was a fantastic film and it was one of the better films that she had seen, and that it was too political for Sundance. Of course, we did not get in.

Delinda Hanley: This question is, I think, for Rula. A lot of these questions are for Rula here. I asked an L.A. Times reporter how can he participate in the distortion of the news. He said, "If I can get them to leave 10 percent of my copy uncensored, it is worthwhile to continue." Please comment. Maybe that goes for all of you. Do you want it, Philip? Do you want to start?

Philip Weiss: So the L.A. Times reporter made that statement that if he can get his editors to leave-

Delinda Hanley: Leave 10 percent of it uncensored, it's worthwhile to continue. Did you find censorship?

Philip Weiss: That's a good ratio. I mean, censorship, self-censorship, it's part of media life. If we could get away with 10 percent on this issue, we'd revolutionize America. I mean right now, it's a 90 percent censorship ratio. So give it to me, 10 percent, I love it. I just want to reflect, when I was at The New York Times Magazine, I did a cover story on the gun lobby. I wrote a very long article sending up the NRA and talking about their sexual fetishization of guns and everything else. You've never seen an article in The New York Times Magazine about the Israel lobby with one-tenth of that kind of free speech involved.

Rula Jebreal: There is a cozy relationship. I mean, one of the reasons that made me actually in 2014 do what I did on MSNBC was-these Israeli officials would be on like 99 percent of the time and they would never be challenged, as the documentary represented. They would never be asked about the occupation or the siege. I remember I almost choked on my coffee one morning when I was watching Schieffer interviewing Bibi Netanyahu. At the end of the interview, obviously it was softball questions. Like, oh, Mr. Prime Minister, how do you feel? Is it safe in Tel Aviv? He was bombarding and pounding Gaza. He said, well, like the former prime minister of Israel said, we will never forgive the Arabs for forcing us to kill their children. I looked at the television and I said-sorry for my language-is this a f-ing joke? I mean, I was horrified.

And then I went to my network, and that morning one of our journalists, one of the best ones we ever had, a reporter who covered the Gaza War in 2012, was Ayman Mohyeldin. He just filmed three kids killed on a beach. He just filmed it. I was in the TV station and I saw the panic. Because suddenly there is one story, and it's a major story that was filmed on camera, where you see the missiles striking. …

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