Nothing But the Truth

 You've probably noticed that I occasionally recommend renting a particular feature film when I feel that it can say things better (not to mention much more dramatically) than an Internet module discussion.

Some examples are at the end of the first chapter on newsgathering.

Nothing But the Truth, is a dramatic and highly engaging film loosely based on a recent event. It stars Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon, and David Schwinner, among others.

Because of distribution problems this highly rated film was not released to theaters and is only available on DVD.

Although the film version is not political, according to Wikipedia,

"Nothing but the Truth parallels the case of Valerie Plame, whose status as a CIA agent was exposed in the media after her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, wrote a New York Times op-ed piece charging the Bush administration with manipulating intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq." *

Unless they intend to limit themselves to innocuous things such as celebrity gossip, news Nothing But the Truthpeople need to understand the personal responsibility that can fall on them in protecting the identity of confidential sources.

The substance of Alan Alda's presentation before a U.S. Court is reason enough to rent this film.

The film has some few four-letter words at one point and a rather tame sex scene between a husband and wife.

The content of the film provides background information for informed classroom debate on shield laws.

 This engrossing film should be required viewing for people aspiring to serious news reporting.

-Ron Whittaker

  "The movie is a vivid reminder of one of the most egregious abuses of power in history..." (New York Times)

* The NYT article was later shown to be accurate.  However, because of subsequent attacks by some in the Bush Administration, Ms. Plame had to leave the CIA and her husband was almost professionally ruined -- plus heir marriage was virtually destroyed.

Since it can put the lives of operatives at risk, outing a CIA agent has always been a grave offense.  In this case the politics behind squelching opposition to the Iraq War was seen as more important and no officials were jailed. (See
Fair Game, Foul Game.)

Fair Game
, a film based largely on Ms. Plame's 2007 autobiography of the same name (starring Naomi Watts as Valerie and Sean Penn as her husband, Joe), opened in the Fall of 2010. The DVDs were available a few months later.

Her autobiography,
Fair Game, on which the film is based, was published with sections of the original manuscript deleted. This followed a long battle with the CIA, which would not allow details in her story to come to light.

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