I bumped into a great documentary this evening as I browsed Google Video for free videos longer than 20 minutes. “The Revolution will not be Televised” is an up close look at a coup, specifically an attempted one against Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, in April 2002.
The documentary is amazingly behind the scenes, with video from inside the presidential palace as the coup takes place. I had never thought of the human side of a coup- ministers despairing as the president is taken away, chaos in the midst of a power vacuum, but here is amazing footage of what was going on.
Interspersed is news coverage, which at times contrasted with the reality presented. The film manages to lay out evidence of a very biased news media,
without preaching about how the news media caused the coup. By avoiding
the tempation to sensationalize, they really were able to hit home hard
Particularly bothersome for me was how the following morning, the TV stations revealed the original plans for the coup, and how deeply involved they were in it. As a journalism student, I see a journalist as a referee: an impartial judge using the facts available while acknowledging the incredible power held by those decisions. I’m not a fan of writing off all media as pawns of corporate interests (or the left wing, or the Christian right, or the president, or the Masons), but know the need to take these influences into account.
What really pains me is to hear one medium call all media biased. It reminds me of a former mayoral candidate of my city who ran on the slogan “Don’t Trust City Hall.” He won. The question I was really left with was “Who can I trust?” Maybe the documentary is out to prove one thing, and didn’t give the whole truth. It’s impossible to truly know.