Control Room | Chicago Reader

Control Room

Jehane Noujaim, an Egyptian-American woman who graduated from Harvard, directed this documentary about the independent Arab news channel Al Jazeera, a network boasting 40 million viewers. Some Westerners seem to regard Al Jazeera as a mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden—in part because it reports Iraqi casualties with the same attention our media give U.S. ones—but Noujaim is fair-minded enough to include sympathetic interviews with a U.S. Army press officer and American journalists as well as many Al Jazeera staffers (one of whom hopes to send his kids to college in the U.S.). Shot during the March 2003 invasion and the early stages of the American occupation, it tells us more about how the channel decides what to report than we probably know about most American newscasts. In English and subtitled Arabic. 84 min.

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