Just one of the compelling figures in the film is Hassan Ibrahim, an Al-Jazeera correspondent and former BBC journalist. His wife is British and his world-view wide. He has a habit of nailing a quote--drily and effectively expressing his sentiments.
"America will have to find a solution that doesn't involve bombing people back to the Stone Age," he says and "Democratize, or I'll shoot you."
He's asked ""Who's going to stop the United States?" And he replies: "The United States is going to stop the United States. I have absolute confidence in the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. people."
In the film we see Donald Rumsfeld refer to Al-Jazeera as "Osama Bin-Laden's mouthpiece." Ironically, later in the film, someone refers to Al Jazeera as the Bush administration's mouthpiece. They must be doing something right if both sides are convinced of their partisanship. Rumsfeld would have us believe Al Jazeera is ""willing to lie to the world to make their case." Well, Fox News could be accused of the same--just watch Sean Hannity's unchecked exercises in deception and jingoism on any given night. But Control Room shows that the many of the journalists serving over in the Middle East are principled people, struggling to portray the truth as they find it--and, whatever the news outlet's faults--Al Jazeera is participating in that struggle, too.
The scene over there is much more complex than any polemicist would have you believe.
Some of those appearing in Control Room later emailed director Jehane Noujaim to further share their thoughts.
Capt. Josh Rushing, a calm and reasonable U.S. military press officer, admits in the film that his opinions are changing now that he's in Qatar. Later, he wrote this Noujaim:
Before the war started I was assigned at CENTCOM to engage in discussion online. My purpose was not to sell the war, but to clear up the glut of misinformation that can take on a life of its own on the Internet?Over a year has passed. I'm disappointed that I seemed so pro-invasion.An Al-Jazeera producer, Samir Khader also fatures prominently in the film. He had this to say:
Most of the Iraqis are today angry. Not against the Americans, the British or any other occupying soldier. They seem angry against the odds?angry against themselves. Yet, the seed has been planted. It will one day flourish and carry them to something else. Something that will certainly be better. As, what could be worse than what they have known and what they have lived.Boy, that really sounds like pro-Al Qaeda sentiment, doesn't it? No, it sounds like an articulate and sophisticated individual to me. And I think if you see the film you'll feel the same way. You'll watch him blow up at an employee, for example, for selecting an anti-Bush interviewee who spouts only left-wing cant. "That was not analysis; that was hallucination," he says. Fox News would've welcomed the same guest, so they could claim they were being "fair and balanced," whilst simultaneously suggesting that the liberal views on a subject were nonsensical.
Here are solid reviews from the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Post.
Now, go see it!