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Film botched by Fox

Posted by Richard on June 26, 2007

I had high hopes for Muslims Against Jihad, Martyn Burke's second documentary about moderate Muslims standing up against the radical Islamists. I was rather disappointed, and I blame Fox News. The film's continuity and impact were undermined by the many breaks and awkward edits, E.D. Hill's annoyingly hyperbolic commentary, and her relentless focus on PBS instead of the film during the interview segments with Burke and Frank Gaffney. Overall, it seemed more like Fox Against PBS than Muslims Against Jihad.

The film had some good segments, and even the interview had a few interesting moments. Chief among the latter was Burke recounting the meeting with a PBS vice president who wanted him to fire Gaffney for being a conservative and who asked Burke incredulously, "Don't you check into the politics of the people you work with?" Burke said he replied, "No. No, I do not. I check into their journalistic integrity." 

I suppose I'm not really surprised, but it's an outrage that a high-ranking executive at the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting believes that of course producers should "check into the politics of people."

As for Burke's work, I'd like to see Muslims Against Jihad uncut and uninterrupted. And I still have high hopes for the first of the two documentaries, Islam vs. Islamists, which may finally be shown by individual PBS stations (probably at 3 AM). It got a glowing review from Oscar-nominated screenwriter Roger L. Simon, who knows a little something about good film-making. Simon especially liked that the film is not didactic or propagandistic, but "riveting and creatively made."

Time to start bugging the local PBS affiliates to show Islam vs. Islamists. I suppose I have to send them a check to get their attention, huh?

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One Response to “Film botched by Fox”

  1. Jack said

    I want to be sure you know, PBS does not decide if a station can or canot air a program. It’s up to the individual stations to make that decision. PBS distributes programs to the stations, and can decline to distribute a program. They screen thousands of programs each month, and most are rejected. While getting a program distributed via PBS can ensure a wider audience, those that do not get picked up can get distributed via American Public Television, NETA, ITVS, or by one of the stations. Ultimately, there is limited airtime, and though everyone who presents a program to Public Television believes their program should absolutely be shown, many do not make it through the screening process. On the other hand many that would never get wide broadcast on a comercial network do, which is one of the great things about Public TV. Also, you do not need to be a member of your local public television station to make a programming suggestion, but if do watch some programming that you feel you might not have gotten distributed other ways then you might consider making a pledge of dollars or volenteering some time to the station.

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