Control Room, by Jehane Noujaim, an award-winning Arab-American filmmaker who has lived within and embraced both worlds, provides an opportunity to re-examine what is perhaps the most pressing question of international relations today: “is America radicalizing or stabilizing the Arab world?”
Without miring itself in shadowy conspiracy theories, Control Room provides a balanced view of Al-Jazeera’s presentation of the second Iraq war to their worldwide Arab audience. The documentary calls into question many of the prevailing images and positions offered up by the U.S. news media.
Control Room’s view inside Al-Jazeera-a network branded “Osama Bin-Laden’s mouthpiece” and subject of intense criticism from U.S. administration officials for showing images of Iraqi casualties and American POWs that American viewers never saw-suggests that its views on news reportage might actually be more in tune with democratic ideals than those of its Western counterparts.
Control Room neatly bridges the gap between timeless and timely; timeless because it locates itself in the midst of the ongoing cultural clash between Western and Arab worlds, timely because it does so through the prism of satellite television’s impact on how viewers receive information worldwide – from news providers, driven by the patriotism of their audiences, to Army information officers, driven by military objectives.
Control Room is a seminal documentary that explores how Truth is gathered, presented, and ultimately created by those who deliver it.