On the front page of Monday's Arts section, media reporter Brian Stelter put in a plug for one of the paper's favorite leftist artists, "activist filmmaker Robert Greenwald." "Released On Web, A Film Stays Fresh" discussed Greenwald's new documentary in the making, "Rethink Afghanistan," which he's releasing piece by piece on the Internet (so much for organic unity).
The Times finds this a brilliant idea. Since it can't bear to call the leftist Greenwald a leftist, the Times makes do with mildly hinting that Greenwald might be known in "some progressive circles."
The activist filmmaker Robert Greenwald has tried for years to speed up the production process for his documentaries. Now, he says, he is creating one he can release almost immediately, in stages.
Mr. Greenwald is showing "Rethink Afghanistan," a skeptical view of America's war strategies, in five parts on the Internet, with the implied hope that it will contribute to the foreign policy debate. With the first two parts of the film already online, he arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday to conduct more interviews for what he calls his first "real-time documentary."
In the next paragraph, the loaded leftist phrase "war profiteers" appears in the Times with no quotation marks, as if it was accepted fact.
Mr. Greenwald is well known in some progressive circles for his films about war profiteers, Wal-Mart's corporate practices, and the Fox News Channel. His company, Brave New Films, uses documentary expertise to mount political campaigns, including a YouTube series last year about John McCain and what the company called "the politics of hate."
Greenwald is also well-known in that progressive circle known as satisfied readers of the New York Times, a paper that has given the visual screedmaker enviable publicity for his left-wing attacks on Wal-Mart and John McCain, yet has never subjected his paranoid claims to journalistic scrutiny. Stelter relayed Greenwald's activist tactics without rebuttal:
"Rethink Afghanistan" is being shaped both as a film and a campaign at the same time. Mr. Greenwald is already posting installments on the film's Web site, RethinkAfghanistan.com, and also on YouTube. It will eventually be stitched together into a full-length feature. As he has done in the past, Mr. Greenwald will take his finished film to the public using a mixture of DVD sales and house parties. He said he also expected to receive some theatrical distribution.
"We will keep adjusting it as events in the news change and as policy changes," Mr. Greenwald said in an telephone interview last week before he departed for Kabul, the Afghan capital. The film's Web site asks supporters to call for oversight hearings on the United States policy in the region.
By producing his film-and-activism campaign at an accelerated pace on the Internet, Mr. Greenwald is capitalizing on new technology that allows filmmakers to produce their work more swiftly.
Stelter let Greenwald make the case for his propaganda tactics, to the point of letting him cadge for spare change:
His current subject, Afghanistan, is especially time sensitive. President Obama has already ordered 17,000 more troops to the country and is on the verge of outlining a new strategy. Given that backdrop, "it didn't seem to make sense to make a film that would come out even six months from now," Mr. Greenwald said....Owing to the shoe-string nature of operation, the production company is also asking for donations for the trip, even as it takes place. "It's an interesting juggling act, Mr. Greenwald said, "between researching to find people, interviewing the people, editing the pieces, seeing what is happening in the news - and raising funds at the same time."