Documentary Alleging Widespread U.S. 'Torture' Wins Oscar

Poster of "Taxi to the Dark Side"Left-wing blowhard Michael Moore didn't win an Oscar last night but the Academy of Motion Pictures didn't dissappoint the PC crowd, giving its award for best documentary to "Taxi to the Dark Side," a film by Alex Gibney and Eva Orner which accuses the U.S. military of engaging in torture around the globe:

The harrowing film throws the spotlight on US interrogation techniques at military facilities and investigates the death in custody of a Afghan taxi driver - Dilawar - at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2002. [...] Gibney, who also produced hit documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," said in his acceptance speech that his wife had wanted him to make a romantic comedy.

"But honestly after Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and extraordinary rendition that simply wasn't possible," the film-maker said, before dedicating the film to Dilawar and his own father.

"This is dedicated to two people who are no longer with us - Dilawar, the young Afghan taxi driver, and my father, a Navy interrogator who urged me to make this film because of his fury at what was being done to the rule of law.

"Let's hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and go back to the light."

The other films that were up per Oscar.com:

"No End in Sight." Analyst and scholar Charles Ferguson examines the process behind the Bush Administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Evidence of errors in judgment, ignored intelligence information, and a lack of any follow-up plan on the part of those in the government who orchestrated the invasion are presented within the context of the history of U.S./Iraq relations.

"Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience." The experiences of Iraq War veterans are seen through their writings, accompanied by news footage and photographs. Eleven men and women who have served in the conflict chronicle the war and its effect on their lives in their letters and journals, and through works of fiction and poetry, while interviews with veterans of other wars express the common themes of all soldier's lives. [Note: This was a politically neutral film.]

"Sicko." Michael Moore's look at American health care explores the reasons behind the adoption of a for-profit system and profiles individuals whose lack of proper care and battles with insurance companies have drastically affected their lives. Moore compares the U.S. system unfavorably with the free, government-sponsored systems in other countries as he takes a group of Americans to Cuba to seek treatments they were unable to obtain at home.

"War/Dance." Chief among the victims of the ongoing warfare in northern Ugandan are the country's children. Three students in the Patongo refugee camp, all victims of terrible violence and losses, nevertheless prepare to enter a music competition that offers them a lifeline of hope. For Nancy, Rose, and Dominic, a former child soldier, the contest provides a welcome respite from the desperate circumstances of their daily lives.

Where were the conservative or libertarian documentaries in this list you say? It's not soley a problem of liberal bias, actually. It's also a problem that elite right has not taken an interest in funding and creating these types of films. This topic came up in my earlier discussion with "Indoctrinate U" filmmaker Evan Maloney who made some very relevant points:

There's no right-wing George Soros handing out millions upon millions of dollars to groups like a conservative MoveOn.org so I think that part of the thing is that people on the right-of-center side I don't think a lot of the guys who have the money don't really understand film. I don't think-I think they probably don't watch a lot of movies, they are probably generally repulsed by pop culture and even when they're not, I don't think they see pop culture or film or any visual medium like television as a realm in which they can compete. And I understand why they feel that way.

They feel that way because every time someone from Hollywood opens their mouth we know that they're not necessarily sympathetic to our views. And we see the kinds of films that Hollywood puts out about the war and about terrorism and things about that and it's always coming from one perspective. But I think because of all that, people who are on the right side of the aisle they don't even understand that they can compete in film.

I don't think they get the medium of film, I think they only understand books and magazines and that's why, if I wanted to start another think tank or another magazine or something or put out a book on the topic, I'd probably have people beating down the door to give me money to do it. But as a filmmaker, as someone who can actually reach a different audience and a new audience and convert minds, I really don't understand why it's so difficult to find people who understand the power of film. If there is such a thing as a vast, right-wing conspiracy, I don't think it's nearly as vast as people claim it is. [...]

I think maybe they view it as not an intellectually rigorous enough medium perhaps. But what you need to do in order to introduce someone to a new idea, you've got to get them while they're paying attention.

If they're not already reading your books and magazines, they're not going to start reading your books and magazines if they haven't been introduced to why the idea matters to them to begin with. And I've noticed this from my web site that I can reach a whole different group of people who would not spend five minutes reading an article that I've written but they will spend the exact same five minutes watching a video that I put together. Now, those people, if they're not in the mood to read stuff online or they're not inclined to read stuff about ideas or politics or business online, they're just not going to read it. So if you want to communicate with them, you're wasting your time if you're communicating with them in the wrong medium. You've gotta get them in the medium that they want to use. And you can talk to people in film in a much more emotionally direct way, it has a lot more impact on people, people remember it better because they're not just remembering words, they're remembering the expressions on the faces of the people who are talking. And that's very important if you want to relate to them directly.

So I hope people begin to get it because you really can change minds and change different minds that you wouldn't have reached in other ways if you hadn't embraced the medium of film.

Any wealthy conservatives out there reading this: here is where you should be spending money to build your legacy.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013