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Diversity in the Liberal World

Newsbusters posted the excerpt below from an HBO press release on the new Spike Lee movie about Katrina. Bayou Buzz has the story of the August 16 premiere which will take place in New Orleans.

Lee and his team selected nearly 100 people from diverse backgrounds, representing a wide range of opinions, to be featured in the film, including Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Harry Belafonte, Wynton Marsalis, CNN´s Soledad O´Brien, Terence Blanchard, Rev. Al Sharpton, Wendell Pierce, Sean Penn, Kanye West, local media and other New Orleans residents.
Okay, admittedly I don't know who the local media and other New Orleans residents are, but they will face quite a task balancing out the diversity of those listed.

Comments (41)

Yeah, unless the "local med... (Below threshold)

Yeah, unless the "local media and other New Orleans residents" happen to include 8000 clones of Rush Limbaugh, 1900 clones of Sean Hannity, and 15000 clones of Bill O'Reilly for balance, I have a feeling this film might skew just a little to the left.

<a href="http://www.popular... (Below threshold)


I wonder if it will include any of this information?

The film reportedly gives l... (Below threshold)

The film reportedly gives lots of Katrina victims an opportunity to speak their mind.

While Lee resisted attempts by reporters to pry details about the four-hour documentary, he said it would rely heavily on the first-person recollections of the city's African-American population, who suffered the cruelest of the hurricane's aftermath when the Ninth Ward was flooded.

He said that the anger of these citizens, many of whom have yet to return to New Orleans, would be given its full measure in "When the Levees Broke." Lee will even give ample time to those who think that the levees did not collapse under the weight of the water but were detonated, perhaps by the government.

"I know this may be hard to understand," Lee said to the nearly all-white assembly of TV critics, "but if you're African-American, you don't put anything past the United States government. Anybody know about something called the Tuskegee experiment?"

The 40-year "study" by the U.S. Public Health Service allowed 399 black men to die of syphilis so their remains could be studied.

"We gave time to people to say what they feel, and (more than) one person said they heard an explosion" at the levee, Lee said.

"We gave time to people ... (Below threshold)

"We gave time to people to say what they feel, and (more than) one person said they heard an explosion" at the levee, Lee said.

I believe it's good to allow people to say what they feel, so the rest of the folks who actually know how to think know who to steer away from.

Lee, your quote amply provi... (Below threshold)

Lee, your quote amply provides evidence that this is an attack piece against the US Government and the Bush administration. come on, he named the movie "when the levees broke" when they were actually overtopped as the initial cause of failure.

and look at the list of people involved. a who's who of people who don't really know what they are talking about in regards to Katrina, but have gotten ample voice already to spread their demagogary (bad spelling i know(

he talks about angry these people felt and giving it voice. fine, do that, i'm sure i'd be angry too. i can only imagine what Paul feels. but at least be honest about what this is. a hit piece.

Hmmmm. C... (Below threshold)


Could Wizbang's "Lee" be the same Lee mentioned in this article?

ok I give up ... What could... (Below threshold)

ok I give up ... What could Sean Penn possibly have to do with anything in Louisiana, the gulf coast, hurricanes, the southern united states, the central time zone, swamps, the french quarter .... Feel free to use the 7 ways from Kevin Bacon to find me an answer.

>when they were actually ov... (Below threshold)

>when they were actually overtopped as the initial cause of failure.

Wrong wrogn wrong wrong. Geeze and at my own site.

Use the search tool


Will the documentary includ... (Below threshold)

Will the documentary include footage of Penn, his publicist and assistant out saving people in a 3 man boat?

"but at least be honest ... (Below threshold)

"but at least be honest about what this is. a hit piece."

It's a documentary, and documentaries are not neutral or balanced. When a filmaker makes a documentary they set out to "prove a point". I don't think Lee's primary goal was to make this a "hit piece", but he has said from the beginning (to Larry King and to others) that he planned to include those controversial views, so apparently he doesn't think they are crazy enough to exclude.

By all accounts (including GWB's and bi-partisan Senate panels) the federal response to Katrina was under-whelming, but I don't believe for a second that the government would dynamite levees.... but then, I wouldn't believe the government would do something like the Tuskegee experiment either.

My recollection is that experts said there was no explosion - that it was (I think) a barge that hit a levee that made the loud "boom". I have no reason to doubt that explanation, and I certainly won't take Spike Lee's word for it as to what happened, or the word of Katrina victims who heard a boom and want to believe the worst.

This has to be a conspiracy... (Below threshold)

This has to be a conspiracy. Sean Penn was just sighted in my home town of Astoria after a mysterious white corporate jet (Bush may have Black Helicopters, but Hollywood has White Jets) was heard disrupting my dinner on the back porch last night (and NO Kevin, I don't have pictures). And now his name appears in a Wizbang post. If the rest of that retinue was also here I shiver to think of the consequences for our sleepy little Diverse town.

Well, I'm going downtown right now with my camera and see what I can dig up for Kevin. Can I send you my medical bills if I get too close to SP? If I do see him I'll ask about the movie and diversity.

ok I give up ... What... (Below threshold)

ok I give up ... What could Sean Penn possibly have to do with anything in Louisiana, the gulf coast, hurricanes, the southern united states, the central time zone, swamps, the French quarter

Could it be that Sean Penn cruised in a leaky boat, with enough hardware to kill a 1000 Iraqis, playing search and rescue made him an expert? I hardly think so. I don't for the life of me, cannot understand why he did this. I can understand Wynton Marsalis, Fats Domino and few of those people,--but Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson? I see that there are no interviews with General ("Are you stuck on stupid?") Honore, all of the brave National Guard and civilian helicopter pilots that did the actual rescuing.

All the media did was bitch and gripe about how bad it was, to boost their ratings and did not turn a hand to help out when asked. Now that things are getting back to some semblance of order, they are going to profit from it again. I also see some more Bush bashing is in order.

The picture that sticks in ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

The picture that sticks in my mind the most was the MSM news crew stopping to help the three white nurses after passing miles of black people in just as much need. What hypocrits!

Didnt Sean Penn shoot his o... (Below threshold)

Didnt Sean Penn shoot his own boat with that arnament? Some rescuer! And he's now an expert? Give me a break

I care as much about Sean P... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

I care as much about Sean Penn's thoughts on Katrina, as I do about Pat Boone's thoughts on whether or not the word "God" belongs in the Pledge of Allegiance. (In case you care, he thinks it does. He sang a song about it on Crossfire a few years ago. I barfed.)

As for the movie being a hit piece on Bush, though, I don't think that's the case. Bush is too unpopular to score points off of anymore. Kinda like trying to act tough by beating up on an autistic kid, really. This is a combination of righteous indignation; and crass celebrity/media sensationalism, a phenomenon that is so divorced from producing truth that it ought to make anyone who actually cares about preventing this sort of disaster sick to their stomachs.

When a filmaker makes a ... (Below threshold)

When a filmaker makes a documentary they set out to "prove a point".

Some filmmakers do.

A true, honest documentarian makes documentaries to show something to people.

It's also possible to slant such films to make one or another point, but that's not inherent to the form. A good, honest documentarian tries to be neutral, and will not intentionally misrepresent what's in front of the camera for an unrelated political aim. They will not, for example, show a city under the rule of a dictator as a happy place with people flying kites, when it's really a horrible, dangerous place to live for most residents.

People like Michael Moore or Leni Riefenstahl, while talented documentary filmmakers, are also propagandists. Propaganda is a sub-form of "documentary," not the whole of the genre.

Diversity for liberals mean... (Below threshold)

Diversity for liberals means Whites who hate Bush, Blacks who hate Bush, Hispanics who hate Bush, Gays who hate Bush, Celebrities who hate Bush...

cirby, you're right that th... (Below threshold)

cirby, you're right that there should be at least a pretense towards objectivity (and that post-Roger & Me Michael Moore sucks--he's an unhelpful punching bag for the right), but Lee is right that most good documentaries are like scientific experiments: present a hypothesis, and apply rigorous testing to demonstrate its veracity (or lack thereof). That there will always be "slant" is as true as the edict of there being no "view from nowhere". Can't separate a person from their beliefs or their context.

...and diversity for jpm100... (Below threshold)

...and diversity for jpm100 means the same thing as it does for Fox or CNN: present an issue and then let two overpaid morons yell at each other, leaving nothing settled and opinions only further entrenched.

I wouldn't be surprised if Spike Lee tried to find a black person in New Orleans to say something nice about Bush.

That's my fake e-mail addre... (Below threshold)

That's my fake e-mail address, not my fake name. Half a bottle of Wild Turkey and I go kookoo-bananas.

TM, appearantly letting two... (Below threshold)

TM, appearantly letting two sides of an issue to be discussed is one side too many for you.

Despite the category that you put the works of Fahrenheit 911 and its ilk, only science documentaries can get away with seriously presenting only one view and still be considered legitimate.

The Irony is based on your comment the WizBangers should be able to delete you comments and you should be fine with that. Somehow, I believe you'd find a way to whine about it.

mea culapa, paul. to be hon... (Below threshold)

mea culapa, paul. to be honest, i mis-remembered the way that all played out in my haste to post =) all i could remember for sure was that the media and liberals roasted bush for lying about warnings about the levees when he hadn't. and that the corp screwed up beyond measure.

as my excuse, all i can say is that up here in the northwest we only have to worry about river floods, earthquakes, and volcanos. extreme weather is just not anything we have to worry about much

No, jpm100, sometimes one s... (Below threshold)

No, jpm100, sometimes one side gets it wrong and it behooves *journalists* to disclose that information to the public.

You should check out what the media is like in other countries. "Objectivity" does not equate with two sides getting equal air play. If it's a talking heads show like Hannity & Colmes, I don't care who gets to say what; but when it's someone claiming to be a journalist, like Brit Hume or Lou Dobbs, then it should be their job to present the *facts* to people and to call the ideological wankers on their B.S. when they present it. (Both liberal and conservative pundits in the establishment media too often get carte blanche from one another, probably because they share an allegiance to Big Dollarsigns.)

Your analogy with this blog doesn't work. Blogs aren't the news media, so the hyperbole and rhetoric aren't problematic. They're fun, and more to the point, harmless.

Let me know some objective ... (Below threshold)

Let me know some objective 'journalists'. I'm game for a chuckle.

I will be shocked to the co... (Below threshold)

I will be shocked to the core if any serious consideration is given to Ray Nagin and Gov. Blanco as the "first line of defense" and the incredibly incompetent job they did for their citizens.

Just about any other metropolis, save Detroit, would have done a better job (why hasn't this sort of thing happened in Florida over the years, one might ask, but probably not asked in this docudrama).

You know, I can't think of ... (Below threshold)

You know, I can't think of any American journalists I much care for. I think Olbermann is funny, but he's not really a journalist. I learn the odd thing from the Daily Show, but again, explicitly not "news". I see BBC coverage sometimes, and think it's a good sign that the far-left and the far-right in the U.K. both hate them. I watched some CBC when I was in Toronto and Montreal and liked it. I generally read online sources, though, and conservative and liberal blogs, because I don't like the vendettas or agendas of these rich egomaniacs. I also dislike the strong corporate dependency that the TV networks have to take into account when pretending to do their jobs.

Wasn't it Ray Nagin who did... (Below threshold)
cate s.:

Wasn't it Ray Nagin who did not want the school bus being used to evacuate people but Greyhounds instead? Yes, the same man who wanted his people to travel in luxury (if the Greyhound is luxury) but out is out no matter how you get there and a school bus would have been just fine. Remember NOLA is a chocolate city so those of us who used to spend our white money there don't have any business telling him what to do. Blanco can't feign racism because she's white but those two were like the Keystone Cops. If these people aren't smart enough to put an evacuation plan together and follow through, then they can't be helped.
As for stupid Sean Penn, I haven't liked him since "Fast Times at Ridgemont High".

cate s.--you forgot to add ... (Below threshold)

cate s.--you forgot to add "...which was an awesome movie."

He ordered a pizza--to his high school classroom! Genius.

I see it is still carrying ... (Below threshold)

I see it is still carrying the meme that African Americans sufferred disportionately more despite several studies showed that proportionally, they sufferred less than other ethnic groups.

Mitchell I would not only a... (Below threshold)

Mitchell I would not only ask why it's never happened in Florida, but Miss, AL, SC, NC (note: God won't let hurricanes hit GA)

I wouldn't be surprised ... (Below threshold)

I wouldn't be surprised if Spike Lee tried to find a black person in New Orleans to say something nice about Bush.

You wouldn't? Well I certainly would.

This documentary looks like it's got all the wide-ranging diversity from A to B. I'm smelling propaganda of Michael Moore proportions here.

Face it, if it's not going to be a hit piece on Bush, it will be one of Spike's usual racial screeds. There are African-Americans who claim unequivically to have seen men dynamiting the New Orleans levees to cause the flooding. They actually believe this. No doubt they'll be featured prominently as credible witnesses in Spike's film.

TM said: "cirby, you're ... (Below threshold)

TM said: "cirby, you're right that there should be at least a pretense towards objectivity "

I disagree. Every decision made in shooting and editing a documentary is subjective. "Do I include this sentence or not", and "how much time should I spend on this explosion theory over that one". The process is totally subjective, and not objective in the least, and a pretense towards objectivity would be dishonest.

Early in this thread I mentioned that documentaries are not objective because this is a common misconception, and critical viewing of any documentary requires an understanding on the part of the viewer -- the understanding that the filmmaker is trying to "sell you" on his/her ideas.

The documentary form goes way back, but today's documentary has its roots in the 1950's, when Edward Murrow and CBS honed the form to a knife's edge, and used television documentaries to pillory Joseph McCarthy. Murrow as far from objective, and the same holds true for documentarians today.

As a illustration, here is a quote from one of Murrow's "See it Now" documentary report on Senator McCarthy.

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men ... who feared ... to defend causes which were unpopular .... The actions of the junior senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay ... and whose fault is that? Not really his; he didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

(Excerpted from the March 9, 1954 See It Now broadcast, as quoted in In Search of Light: The Broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow 1938-1961, pp 247-8.)

As always Lee, your definit... (Below threshold)

As always Lee, your definitions tell us more about you than they do about the subject at hand.
American Heritage dictionary defines the word as:
(bolding is mine)

doc·u·men·ta·ry adj.

1. Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents.
2. Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.

n. pl. doc·u·men·ta·ries

A work, such as a film or television program, presenting political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by narration.

What you are describing Lee, is called:

prop·a·gan·da n
1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.
2. Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause

SCSI - wrong, but nice try.... (Below threshold)

SCSI - wrong, but nice try.

The adjective "documentary" doesn't apply. Yes, it is a definition that you would like to apply to a "television documentary" (which is a noun), but it's is misplaced here. For example, "documentary evidence" (note the use of documentary as an adjective) is indeed "objective without editorilizing", etc.

Note that the definition you thoughtfully provided us of the noun "documentaries... such as a film or television program," says nothing about "balance", "objectivity", etc.

Lee,You choose to ig... (Below threshold)

You choose to ignore the factual and informative part too, I notice.
A film, radio broadcast or other media is giving the adjective documentary, BTW, to set them apart from works of fiction.
And the fact that the 2nd defintion I provide fit what you describe to a T is also ignored.

Rather than just let your deinition stand by your credibility alone, why don't you provide a citation to back it up? Give us a reason to believe you aside from your reputation here as poo-flinger and asshat supreme.

SCSI - Spike Lee's document... (Below threshold)

SCSI - Spike Lee's documentary will be factual (non-fiction, based on facts) and it will attempt to be informative, although a lot is already known about the Katrina disaster, so I would be suprised if it actually "informs" and reveals anything new.

Your use of the term "propoganda" is probably correct in this instance, but that is your opinion, and is not part of the definition of "documentaries", so I ignored it.

"Rather than just let your definition stand by your credibility alone, why don't you provide a citation to back it up? Give us a reason to believe you aside from your reputation here as poo-flinger and asshat supreme."

Well, I'd be happy to - but what I wrote is the result of reading several articles and encyclopedic entries, as well as my own personal knowledge on the subject, and for me to now go back and cite passages and quote details -- just to satisfy a childish troll like you -- is not worth my time.

Next time try keeping it polite, and I will usually - time permitting - be happy to spend more time elaborating or defending my views. For now you're acting like a floo-flinging troll and an asshat supreme yourself - so for now I won't bother. I put trolls on ignore.

Lee,The day you stay... (Below threshold)

The day you stay polite for 24 hours is the day you can ask for politeness from others. And if you back up elaborate upon and defend your views today, it may well be a first in Wizbang history.

So far, your definition of what a documentary is just your opinion, with nothing but hot air to back it up.

SCSIwuzzyI posted ... (Below threshold)


I posted this in another thread, but it fits here as well . . .

Many of us have tried at different times to get the troll to respond in a coherent manner. It never happened, and probably never will. You see, he has shown over and over that he does not feel the necessity to be held to the same standard he demands from others.

So asking the troll to respond to statements you have made is a waste of time, that is why many of us do not respond to the troll any longer.

Please don't feed the troll.

I know David.But I h... (Below threshold)

I know David.
But I honestly am interested in where these ignorant ideas of his come from.
I do QA/QC work, so I always look for root cause. ;)

On behalf of all trolls... (Below threshold)

On behalf of all trolls

The root cause is not hard to find...


Stick to your guns :)

On behalf of the trolls and... (Below threshold)

On behalf of the trolls and website programming

I try again!

The root cause:


Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose!






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