Robert Kane Poppas’ documentary “Orwell Rolls in his Grave” questions the journalistic integrity of today’s media. Alaskans for Peace and Justice presented the film Sept. 24.
Poppas’ documentary examines how most of the news media Americans consume is controlled by a handful of multi-billion dollar organizations that have Orwellian control over politics and culture. The film compared today’s news conglomerates to George Orwell’s novel “1984.” In his book, Orwell shows how people can be made to believe anything if the government puts its mind to it.
“People can’t make good decisions without good information, and news media are run by corporations that have a vested interest in the news that is told,” said member Kate McCellan.
APJ is a grassroots organization that began in 2000. The group started after a University of Alaska Anchorage adjunct professor objected to a letter to the editor by Lee Gorsuch, then the chancellor of UAA, said APJ member Paul Prebys. The letter stated the university was 100 percent behind whatever President George W. Bush decided to do following 9/11.
“We weren’t willing to shed blood indiscriminately,” said Prebys. “We wanted a non-violent approach to the issues. So we began to get a group together, and said ‘let’s go to the streets’ and we’ve had meeting every week ever since.”
After the film ended, APJ members lead a public discussion for attendees to express their opinions on the controversial issues addressed by the film. Many felt “Orwell Rolls in his Grave” has important points, especially concerning the upcoming presidential election, but some questioned whether it contained a political bias.
“It was interesting, but it was biased towards liberal viewpoints,” Peter Bradley said, a UAA student. “I wished it would have talked about what people could do to change things in the media.”
Student Amanda Ulrich thought that although the movie was biased, it wasn’t overdone.
“It was justifiably one-sided,” Ulrich said. “You are bombarded with opinions from the media. This movie had opinions that were different but were still valid.”
Prebys agreed it was biased, but it was worth the watch.
“This show undoubtedly was not fair and balanced, and it was not intended to be fair and balanced, it was intended to show a viewpoint that differs from ninety percent of the news media,” Prebys said.
APJ member Jeff Kennedy had a positive outlook on ways the public can get involved in the issues discussed in the film.
“You might feel hopeless about what is happening in Washington, D.C., but in Anchorage, Alaska you are not hopeless unless you want to be,” Kennedy said.
To learn more about APJ, visit www.aks4peace.org.