The War You Don't See Review
"The War You Don't See" by John Pilger
A Film Review by Alain English
This latest film by John Pilger looks at the role of the media in war reporting and asks how far reporters in the United States and Britain are prepared to go in order to report the truth. He comes to some alarming conclusions.
Pilger reveals the basis for modern journalism in the army recruitment posters of World War I and how this has led to 'embedded' reporting in the recent Iraq war. In 'embedded' reporting, the military and political powers control much of what the journalists see, hear and report in their war coverage. This is contrasted with independent reporters who investigate for themselves, and often find themselves reporting events that the military powers try to keep secret - he highlights the 2004 US assaults on Falluja in Iraq and the bombing of Arab news network Al-Jazeera for revealing the truth. Pilger also discusses Israel/Palestine, Barack Obama and Wikileaks throughout his film.
Pilger makes prolonged attacks on the BBC and ITV for not doing their jobs properly by confronting them with things they should have reported more carefully. He is on fine form here, but there is little here that is anything new to anyone familiar with his work. He has been arguing these things for years in his writing. It is still highly compelling material.
Pilger makes effective use of cross-cutting interviews to make his point, although I thought a sequence where an American soldier detailed his Iraq experiences was too prolonged.
This is nevertheless an engaging film that rightly challenges the governments who use the media to perpetuate war.